GSTAAD, Switzerland -- 19-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova swiftly moved into the second round of the Ladies Championships Gstaad by Ixion Services on Monday, with a straight-set victory over No.6 seed Lara Arruabarrena of Spain, 6-3, 6-3.
"I think I played good," Vondrousova told the media, after her win. "It was my second tournament on clay [in a row], and I’m very happy with my win. I think I served well, and I kept the ball in play, so that was important today."
The teenager, who won the the inaugural Ladies Open Biel Bienne last year en route to cracking the WTA Top 50 earlier this year, had five aces in the match and won nearly 60 percent of points on her opponent's first serve. Vondrousova, currently ranked World No.104, broke Arruabarrena five times in the 62-minute match.
"Obviously, I won my first WTA title in Switzerland, so I’m happy to be back in Switzerland," said Vondrousova, when her previous success at Biel was mentioned. "So we will see how it goes."
When asked about the transition from the grass season back to clay courts, Vondrousova said it was not difficult. "I played not so much matches on grass, so I got back to the clay pretty easy," she replied. "I like clay better, so it’s better for me."
The left-handed Czech got off to a hot start, breaking Arruabarrena in the first game of the match after the Spaniard sent a backhand unforced error wide. Vondrousova then raced through her first two service games without dropping a point, as her delivery and volleys were on song early in the tilt.
Vondrousova grabbed a 4-1, double-break advantage, but then finally struggled on serve, having to save two break points before taking a 5-1 lead. The Czech youngster then faltered when serving for the set at 5-2, hitting two double faults in a four-point span to give Arruabarrena double break point. The Spaniard claimed one break back after a wide forehand by Vondrousova.
But Arruabarrena could not maintain the momentum, and was broken for the third time in the match in the next game. After a stunning crosscourt forehand by the Czech on set point forced an error from Arruabarrena into the net, Vondrousova found herself with a one-set lead.
Vondrousova amped up her return game even further in the second set, clocking winners off of that shot, while also mixing in successful and surprising dropshots. She took a 4-0 lead, putting her within touching distance of an upset of a seeded player.
World No.79 Arruabarrena was not willing to give in that easily, though, moving further back on return to give herself a greater chance to effectively reply to Vondrousova’s tricky left-handed serves. The tactic pulled Arruabarrena closer on the scoreboard, as Vondrousova’s errors increased, and the Czech eventually double faulted while down break point at 4-0, handing one break of serve back to the Spaniard.
But that would be Vondrousova’s sole misstep in the set, and the teenager worked her way to her first match point at 5-3, after a dropshot attempt by Arruabarrena found the net. On match point, Arruabarrena stepped way back on return once more, but she could not get the Czech’s serve back over the net, and a gleeful Vondrousova picked up the opening-round victory.