STUTTGART, Germany - The hot form of 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk continued as she defeated Antonia Lottner, 6-4, 6-1 in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
Less than 24 hours after eliminating Alizé Cornet in qualifying, the WTA World No.158 eased past German Lottner, ranked three places better off, in a little under an hour and a half.
“I can’t say I’m super surprised, because that’s what I work for, and I know I can play at this level,” she said after the victory.
“It’s both talent and hard work. If I wasn’t talented, I wouldn’t be here, but if I wasn’t a hard worker, I wouldn’t be here.”
The teenager looked in confident mood from the outset and grabbed two breaks of serve to her opponents’ one in the first set.
Lottner had actually created more opportunities in the opener but rather collapsed in the second as a raft of unforced errors crept into her game as the Ukrainian put her under pressure.
Kostyuk remain stoic on the big points, saving five break points to open up a 5-0 lead in the set. Despite Lottner serving three double faults in that sixth game – having not previously delivered one in the match – she managed to avoid the bagel.
The youngster, however, served the match out comfortably, taking her first opportunity as Lottner netted a forehand return.
Maria Sharapova, who she could face in the second round, was one of the stars of the circuit as Kostyuk was growing up, but it was to the men’s game she primarily looked for inspiration.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t have idols,” she admitted. “I loved to watch Novak Djokovic. Until I was nine I thought: 'He’s going to be my husband!' But we don’t have the same style.”
No.6 seed Caroline Garcia of France is her other potential rival next.