LUXEMBOURG - Top seed Julia Goerges started off the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open in style, defeating Viktoria Kuzmova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.
A finalist here in 2010, Goerges chose to forgo a trip to Moscow - where she would have been the defending champion at the Kremlin Cup - in favor of a return to Luxembourg for the first time since 2014.
Playing against Kuzmova for the third time in 2018, Goerges made it a perfect six sets in a row against the young Slovak to move into the second round.
Goerges and Kuzmova looked evenly matched from the ground: both players are big servers with aggressive games, with Kuzmova firing five aces to Goerges’ six throughout the match, and 18 winners to Goerges’ 23 - offset by 10 errors to nine from her opponent.
But the key for Goerges was how solid she played in the big moments, leaning on her experience to keep Kuzmova under pressure. A Kuzmova double fault - one of five in the match - gave Goerges the first break at 3-1 in the first set. The Slovak did well to recover it and get them back even at 4-4, but a string of unforced errors undid her effort and put Goerges back in control - a late break sealing the set for the German at 6-4.
Goerges got off to another quick start in the second set, breaking early and putting together a 3-0 lead. Once again Kuzmova broke back to try and put together a comeback challenge, but Goerges slammed the door in the next game to lead 4-2. A handful of powerful serves from Goerges closed it out, with the German winning in one hour and 13 minutes.
The win sets her up to face Anna Blinkova in the second round - the Russian player edged past Tatjana Maria 6-2, 7-5 yesterday in her ninth WTA main draw career victory.
More to follow...