WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova got going after a slow start to beat Mona Barthel as the first round of the NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies kicked off on Monday.
WTA Staff

BAD GASTEIN, Austria - The NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies kicked off on Monday, with WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova among the first round winners at the International-level clay court tournament.

Things didn't look so great for the No.8-seeded Pliskova early on, as she dropped serve in the sixth game of the match to fall behind 4-2, but she quickly snapped back into gear from that point on, holding all seven of her other service games and breaking three times to beat Mona Barthel, 6-4, 6-4.

Pliskova has been one of the fastest-rising stars on the WTA the last year or two, winning her first WTA title at Kuala Lumpur last year and going to higher heights this year, reaching another two finals at Pattaya City and Nürnberg, losing to Ekaterina Makarova and Eugenie Bouchard, respectively, and cracking the Top 50 after the French Open (she's currently sitting at a career-high of No.48).

She also made history with her twin sister Kristyna Pliskova last year, winning the doubles title in Linz - they were the first pair of twins to win a WTA doubles title together in the history of the WTA.

The only other main draw matches saw Stefanie Voegele outdo former Top 20 player Julia Goerges, 7-6(0), 6-2, and Lisa-Maria Moser beat Yvonne Neuwirth in a battle of Austrian wildcards, 6-2, 6-4.

The qualies wrapped up, with Katerina Siniakova, Shelby Rogers, Irina Falconi, Tereza Smitkova, Laura Siegemund and Ana Bogdan all securing spots in the main draw. Smitkova had an absolute breakthrough fortnight at Wimbledon, qualifying and then making it all the way to the fourth round in her first Grand Slam main draw. With her qualies wins here, she has won eight of her last nine matches.

There was some bad news earlier in the day, as Flavia Pennetta, the No.1 seed, had to withdraw from the tournament with a right foot injury. She is replaced by lucky loser Beatriz García Vidagany.