ISTANBUL, Turkey - All three first round matches at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup on Monday went the distance, with No.3 seed Klara Koukalova, No.4 seed Elina Svitolina and No.7 seed Bojana Jovanovski surviving big challenges.
After splitting the first two sets against 18-year-old Donna Vekic, 32-year-old Koukalova went up 4-0 in the third, lost four straight games and then won two straight for a 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 triumph - her third in three meetings with the Croat.
"I was expecting a very tough match because I played her twice already this year," Koukalova said. "She played a very good first set, and after that I tried to change some things and play more aggressively. I played well until 4-0 in the third, as I thought it was over and lost my concentration. She played much better from there, but I'm very happy to have been able to close out the match from 4-4 in the third. It was very tough."
WTA Rising Star Svitolina was a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 winner over Danka Kovinic in the Ukrainian's first match on hardcourts since Miami in March.
"It was a very tough match," Svitolina said. "It was difficult to adjust after having played on grass and clay recently. I am really happy that I managed to win because she is a difficult player. She did not start so well, but then she got better as the match went on and served well. It was tough to manage, but I got through."
As for Jovanovski, she overcame a 4-2 deficit in the third set en route to a 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Alison Van Uytvanck.