Mertens, Ostapenko bow out of Stuttgart Open in first round
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[April 24, 2019]
(Reuters) - Belgium's Elise
Mertens and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko were among Tuesday's first
round exits at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart on a day
where other high-profile players withdrew without playing a single
The tournament draw had to be restructured after world number two
Simona Halep pulled out with a hip injury, while two-times Grand
Slam champion Garbine Muguruza also withdrew due to illness.
Mertens, who stunned Halep to win the Qatar Open title in February,
went out in straight sets to Russia's Daria Kasatkina. The
21-year-old beat her higher-ranked opponent 7-6(8) 7-5 in a little
under two hours.
Although Kasatkina had nine double faults to Mertens' four, she won
more points on her first and second serve. She also defended set
points in both sets to clinch her first top 10 victory since beating
Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon last year.
Meanwhile, 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko went down 6-2 4-6 6-0
to compatriot Anastasija Sevastova. Ostapenko was broken seven times
in a match where neither player served particularly well.
Former Stuttgart champion Laura Siegemund saw off the challenge of
Lesia Tsurenko with a straightforward 6-2 6-2 victory, while Andrea
Petkovic beat qualifier Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3 6-4 to move into the
World number one Naomi Osaka starts her clay court season with a bye
in the first round in Stuttgart, and the reigning U.S. and
Australian Open champion said her main objective was to avoid injury
in the run up to the French Open next month.
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Belgium's Elise Mertens in action during the Final against Romania's
Simona Halep REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari/File Photo
"Every other court or (surface), I have more experience than I have
on clay because honestly, every time I come here I get injured,"
Osaka told reporters. "I'm hoping that won't happen this year.
"Every clay season I missed out on at least one tournament. So
honestly, my main goal is to not get injured and just ride it up
until French Open."
With Halep out of the picture, Osaka only needs to win her opening
match to retain her number one ranking. However, if she were to lose
her first game and Petra Kvitova were to win the title, the Czech
player would be crowned the new world number one.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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