ADELAIDE: Czech Republic's Linda Noskova claimed the first top-10 victory of her career on Monday as the 18-year-old stunned world number eight Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-7(2) 6-3 in the first round of the Adelaide International 1 WTA 500 tournament.
World number 102 Noskova, who beat higher-ranked opponents Anna Kalinskaya and Anastasia Potapova in qualifying to make the main draw of the Australian Open warm-up event, came close to sealing a straight-sets win over third seed Kasatkina.
After failing to close out the match on serve while up 6-5 in the second set and handing her Russian opponent a lifeline, Noskova raised her game in the decider and sealed the victory with a blistering crosscourt forehand.
"I'm so surprised (with the win) as I didn't play really great today and I'm looking forward to the next match because the atmosphere was great," Noskova said.
"It's a really great start for me here... I just want to play my best so I can prepare for the Australian Open." Veronika Kudermetova then made short work of American Amanda Anisimova as the fourth seed prevailed 6-3 6-0 to set up a clash with former U.S.
Open champion Bianca Andreescu. Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina later beat fifth-seeded American Danielle Collins, coming from a set down to hand the 2022 Australian Open runner-up a 5-7 6-2 6-3 defeat.
FERNANDEZ OFF TO WINNING START
Third seed Leylah Fernandez beat Brenda Fruhvirtova 6-1 6-1 in her opener at the WTA 250 Auckland Classic, which returned to the tour after the previous two editions were cancelled due to thecovid pandemic.
In the next round, the 20-year-old former U.S. Open runner-up meets Julia Grabher who beat Tereza Martincova 5-7 6-1 6-2. Venus Williams, who has received a wild card for the Jan.
16-29 Australian Open, began her preparation for the Grand Slam with a 7-6(4) 6-2 victory over fellow American Katie Volynets after a brief rain delay.
It was the 42-year-old's first victory since Wimbledon 2021 and she faces China's Zhu Lin next. Former U.S.
Open champions Emma Raducanu and Sloane Stephens as well as French Open runner-up Coco Gauff and ex-Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin are all in action on Tuesday.