LINZ, Austria - Kiki Bertens christened her first match as a Top 10 player in style, making a winning start to her Upper Austria Ladies Linz campaign against local wildcard Barbara Haas.
On Monday, Bertens became the first Dutch woman to make a Top 10 WTA debut since Brenda Schultz-McCarthy in 1996 - capping off a stellar season that saw her lift trophies at Charleston, Cincinnati and Seoul.
Read more: WTA Rankings update: Bertens breaks Top 10
No.2 seed Bertens carried that momentum into Linz, needing two sets and just over an hour and 10 minutes to score a confident 6-2, 6-1 victory over Haas to move into the second round.
The victory also keeps Bertens on the hunt for a spot at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global - she needs to reach at least the quarterfinals in Linz to stay in contention.
The first set was a close, hard-fought affair belied by a one-sided scoreline. Six of the eight games contested went to deuce as Haas kept Bertens under pressure and created three break chances across two games. But the Dutch player stayed solid in the big moments, breaking once at 3-1 and again at 6-2 and fighting off all of Haas’ chances to take the opening set.
Losing the opening set after so many chances seemed to deflate Haas, and Bertens took the reins as the Austrian wildcard’s level dropped. She reeled off three games in a row to start off with a break lead for 3-0, and broke again at 5-1 to seal the match.
Up next, Bertens gets a match against Margarita Gasparyan - the Russian player made a strong start against Monica Puig and advanced after the Puerto Rican was forced to retire due to injury, 6-2.
More to follow...