Andreescu advances, Pliskova topples Kanepi in Berlin openers

Bianca Andreescu of Canada won a match at the bett1open in Berlin for the first time in her career, edging past Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the second round of the WTA 500 grass-court event.

Andreescu had won only one tour-level grass-court match in her career coming into Monday’s first-rounder, but the 2019 US Open champion was able to double her grass-court match-win total with a 2-hour and 16-minute triumph over Siniakova.

The pair combined for 13 breaks on the day, with two topsy-turvy sets leading into the decider. Siniakova captured the first break of the third set after a five-deuce game to lead 2-0, but Andreescu struck right back as the pair settled into a closely-contested clash.

After a short rain delay during the fourth game, the pair exchanged breaks once more before Andreescu took the lead for good, breaking for 5-4 behind a blistering forehand service return. Andreescu knocked off two straight volley winners to successfully serve out the match in the next game.

Another Czech awaits Andreescu in the second round, when she takes on former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova. Andreescu and Pliskova have split their two previous meetings, both of which came on hard court in 2019.

Czech comeback: Pliskova kicked off her grass-court season with a win, as the No.4 seed from the Czech Republic defeated dangerous floater Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-0.

Pliskova, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up, improved to 4-0 against Kanepi with the 1-hour and 43-minute victory, as she tries to turn around a tough season. Pliskova missed the first two months of this year with a hand injury, and is only 7-8 since returning in March.

Meanwhile, Kanepi, the oldest player in the field at 37, is known for being an upset specialist. The former World No.15 has racked up 15 Top 10 wins in her career, including at both of this year’s Grand Slam events.

Indeed, the match was on upset alert early. Kanepi went 0-for-7 on break points in the opening frame, but she still took the one-set lead in the tiebreak by forcing a Pliskova error with a big return on her first set point.

Highlights: Pliskova def. Kanepi

After that, though, Pliskova’s game fell into place while Kanepi’s winner total dipped. With strong passes and excellent serves at her disposal, Pliskova slammed 11 winners to just five unforced errors while sweeping through the second set without the loss of a game.

It was more of the same for Pliskova in the final set, and she reeled off the last 12 games in succession to notch two bagels in a row. Pliskova finished the match with 44 winners, including 17 aces, as she clinched her first victory in Berlin.

More from Day 1: Recent Roland Garros semifinalist Daria Kasatkina also started the week with a win, as the No.6 seed ousted Anhelina Kalinina 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in 2 hours and 17 minutes. Kasatkina has won 10 of her last 12 matches.

Highlights: Saville def. Teichmann

Qualifier Daria Saville also advanced on Monday, beating Jil Teichmann 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-2. Former World No.20 Saville has been hindered by injuries over the past few years, but she has reached two quarterfinals this year and is on the brink of returning to the Top 100.

More to come…

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