Sabine Lisicki blasted an incredible 27 aces - a new WTA record for the most in a single match - to beat WTA Rising Star Belinda Bencic at the Aegon Classic Birmingham.
WTA Staff

BIRMINGHAM, England - Sabine Lisicki put on a dazzling serving display at the Aegon Classic Birmingham, blasting 27 aces - a new WTA record for most in a single match - to win her opener.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Birmingham right here on wtatennis.com!

Facing the always-dangerous Belinda Bencic, Lisicki knew she needed to bring out her biggest weapon, and she most certainly did with those 27 aces - 16 in the first set, 11 in the second set. The No.8-seeded German hung tough through a much tigher second set to close out the Swiss, 6-1, 7-6(4).

"It's nice to have another record!" Lisicki said in her on-court interview. "It's obviously a good weapon to have on grass. And I love playing on grass, so it's nice to be back at the Aegon Classic Birmingham."

Lisicki is a former champion in Birmingham too, winning it in 2011 - does that make it more special?

"It's always special to come back to a tournament you've won before, but it's not only that. All the memories I have playing in England, winning here and doing so well at Wimbledon - it's all so nice."

Not all of the Top 8 seeds escaped their first opponents of the week, though, with No.2 seed and defending champion Ana Ivanovic losing a nail-biter to Portuguese qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6), and No.5 seed Eugenie Bouchard falling to Kristina Mladenovic, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.

Elsewhere, No.3 seed Carla Suárez Navarro rallied from 2-4 in the third to beat Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, No.4 seed Angelique Kerber edged Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

No.6 seed Karolina Pliskova had come back from a set down and was leading British wildcard Johanna Konta by a break in the third set, 3-6, 6-3, 4-3, and serving 15-30, when play was suspended for rain.

There were mixed results for the other seeds in action on Wednesday as well, with No.10 seed Barbora Strycova, No.13 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and No.15 seed Jelena Jankovic all moving safely through, but No.16 seed Caroline Garcia falling to Czech qualifier Klara Koukalova, 6-3, 6-0, and No.12 seed Victoria Azarenka withdrawing before her match against Zarina Diyas due to a left foot injury.

"It's very disappointing for me to make this decision but I tried to practice and it just doesn't feel 100%," Azarenka said in a statement. "I don't think it's the best time for me to take a risk right now, especially right before Wimbledon, and I need to make sure I have the best preparation possible. I have definitely enjoyed my time here in Birmingham and hopefully I can come back next year and play fully fit."

Daniela Hantuchova, Magdalena Rybarikova and WTA Rising Star Christina McHale also won.