RABAT, Morocco – No.2 seed Timea Bacsinszky breezed into the second round on a windy day in Rabat, cruising past Johanna Larsson in an hour and twenty minutes at the Grand Prix De SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem.
Playing in her first match of the clay season at the tournament she won last year, Bacsinszky wasted no time in making the transition to the surface and wrapped up a 6-3, 6-1 victory with little problems.
“It’s pretty fun to tell yourself that you’re the defending champion,” Bacsinszky said in her on-court interview. “I haven’t played many tournaments as the defending champion, because I’ve only won four tournaments, so this is special.
“Even though there was quite a lot of wind, I felt comfortable on court. I love clay court season as well.
“I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time here, it brings me back good memories. I’m also going to try to visit the city more than I did last year.”
The Swiss player got off to a fast start against Larsson, breaking twice and building up a 4-1 lead. Things got a bit tricky as Larsson finally found her footing to get back both of the breaks, but couldn’t find a way to hold serve as Bacsinszky took the opening set 6-3.
She was back in the driver’s seat in the second, reeling off five straight games to see off Larsson and secure her spot into round 2.
“Every first match of every tournament is difficult because you have to get the rhythm on the court as well as your own rhythm, adjust to the conditions, everything,” Bacsinszky explained.
“For example, today it was quite windy so the conditions weren’t that easy. But I’m really happy that I managed to win this match.
“I wasn’t brilliant today, it wasn’t brilliant tennis but I think I’m on a good track and I’m definitely looking forward for the next match.”
Waiting in the second round is American teenager CiCi Bellis, who defeated Nao Hibino to notch her first ever senior-level win on red clay.
After breaking Hibino four times to comfortably wrap up the first set 6-1 and go up 4-1 in the second, Bellis found herself in trouble as the Japanese started mounting a comeback.
Playing with her back to the wall, Hibino went for her shots and mixed up the pace to grab two breaks and reel off five games in a row, sending the match into a deciding set. The pair stayed on serve for a tense 11 games, with Bellis holding comfortably and Hibino facing more pressure on her service games.
Hibino finally blinked at the end, double faulting in the final game and dumping a forehand into the net to give Bellis a hard fought 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 victory after just over two hours.
Also through to the second round is top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who edged past Conny Perrin 6-2, 7-6(6). No.3 seed Daria Gavrilova scored a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Maryna Zanevska and No.7 seed Lauren Davis defeated Nadia Podoroska 6-2, 6-1, while No.6 seed Irina-Camelia Begu was upset by Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-1.