Two-time WTA Stuttgart champion Angelique Kerber hit all the right notes as she began her indoor clay week with a 6-2, 6-3 thrashing of over-matched Georgian Ekaterine Gorgodze.

The challenger ranked 215 was playing a main draw for only the third time in her career.

Former No. 1 Kerber advanced to the second round thanks to 23 winners in the victory lasting 72 minutes; her opponent managed an identical number of winners but was let down by 24 unforced errors..

Kerber will next face fourth seed Elina Svitolina as the pair meet for the 14th time with their last meeting occurring in 2018.

The Ukrainian leads the series 8-5 and has swept their last six matches dating to Beijing, 2016.

“For the first match on clay it was not too bad,” Kerber said. “I was trying to play like I had planned.

“She was not an easy opponent, she played not bad on clay. I had a really solid match.”

Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova defeated Germany’s lucky loser Tamara Korpatsch 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in a surprising good showing for the No. 137 local opponent.

Pliskova won the Stuttgart title in 2018 and needed two and a quarter- hours to reach a third-round contest with former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who defeated Swiss Stefanie Voegele 6-4, 7-5.

“I’m  super happy that I’m through,” Pliskova said. “But other than that, I didn’t see many really good things.

“Maybe there were a couple of good points, but it was not the best performance. She was also playing a bit tricky, lots of high balls.

“I had too many errors from easy balls, but my serve was quite OK. I have a  a lot of things have to improve for tomorrow.”


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