WTA Linz: Cori Gauff uses second chance. Belinda Bencic hits exit door
Alison Van Uytvanck is through to the second round in Linz, defeating the fellow Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure 6-3, 6-2 in 64 minutes. The better-ranked player never faced troubles on serve, fending off the only break point she faced and stealing half of the return points to earn four breaks from ten chances.
Bonaventure suffered two breaks in each set and couldn't challenge the compatriot despite getting the opportunity to compete in the main draw as a lucky loser. Unlike her, the second lucky loser Cori Gauff grabbed the opportunity with both hands, toppling a qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 7-6 in just over two hours.
The 15-year-old had some 40 minutes to prepare for the clash and did a fine job once it started, fending off eight out of 13 break points and earning seven breaks from 12 chances to seal the deal in straight sets. A teenager scored four breaks in the first set, converting the fourth set point for a 6-3 and opening a 5-2 advantage in set number two to move closer to the finish line.
Voegele saved a match point in the eighth game and broke back in the next, leveling the score at 5-5 before they traded breaks again to set up the tie break that Gauff won 7-3 to advance into the second round. The 5th seed Julia Goerges took down Margarita Gasparyan 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 28 minutes, repelling 11 out of 13 break points to limit the damage in her games and delivering five breaks from eight opportunities to move over the top in straight sets.
Julia controlled the pace in the opener with three breaks, earning two more in set number two for a winning start and the place in the last 16. Kristina Mladenovic ousted Katerina Siniakova 6-1, 7-5 in an hour and 21 minutes for the fourth victory over the Czech in eight encounters.
Kristina dominated with her first serve but struggled on the second, getting broken three times and erasing that deficit with seven breaks of her own, taking eight of the first nine games and coming back from a break down twice and sealing the deal with a break in game 12 to move into the next round.
The 4th seed Donna Vekic took down Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-1 in swift 50 minutes, dropping five points in her games and scoring more than half points on the return to grab five breaks from six chances and race over the finish line.
A qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam stunned the 2nd seed Belinda Bencic 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 and ruined the Swiss' chances of reaching the WTA Finals in Shenzhen. Belinda made a great comeback in the second set (lost six straight games in the opener) before losing ground again in the decider, barely winning a point on the return and suffering two breaks that keep her away from the elite WTA event.