Top seed Aryan Sabalenka began her campaign at the final event of the WTA season on Tuesday, defeating 94th-ranked Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round at the Upper Austria Ladies. 

The Belarus player went through in 87 minutes with 11 aces and four breaks of serve.

Russian Vera Zvonareva rolled back the clock to her glory days as second in the world, defeating a teenager half her age to advance.

Zvonareva, a mother who returned to tennis after giving birth three years ago, schooled 18-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk 6-4, 6-2.

The veteran now ranked 173 after an injury-filled 2019 turned professional two years before her opponent’s birth in 2002:

“I knew she’s a great, up and coming player, and a fighter on the court,” the winner said. “I was an up and coming player like, twenty years ago.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match, and that I’d need to play my best to beat her.”

Kostyuk, a former Australian Open junior champion,  is already in her third WTA season

Zvonareva is playing Linz on a wild card; she looked back fondly on the early  days of her career. 

“When I was her age, it was different. I had no idea what it was like to be on tour and I had no experience. Things seemed easy at first, transitioning from juniors.

“I came up the rankings very fast, and you start taking things for granted.

“I’m much calmer now, more aware of the ups and downs, because everyone has them, and you have to be able to manage them.”

Italy’s Camila Giorgi, the 2018 winner here, held on to defeat Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele ended a 13-match WTA level loss streak stretching back to April of last year, defeating Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova 7-6(3), 6-3.

Main photo:- Aryan Sabalenka © WTA


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