BUCHAREST, Romania - No.2 seed Viktoria Kuzmova got her BRD Bucharest Open campaign off to a flying start with a 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and four minutes.
It marks the Slovak's third win out of four meetings with Jakupovic - and first on clay, having previously won in Wimbledon qualifying in 2017 and the Shenzhen ITF W60 event last year and snaps a four-match losing streak going back to Roland Garros, where Kuzmova reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time. For Jakupovic, though, the loss adds to the Slovenian's woes, extending her own losing streak to eight and dropping her WTA main draw record in 2019 to 2-13.
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After storming through the first eight points, Kuzmova encountered a hitch in her progress: a flurry of wild errors and a brace of double faults combined with Jakupovic nailing some excellent forehands down the line found the 21-year-old fall behind a break first. But from 1-2 down, Kuzmova's game ignited as she fired winners at will to reel off the next eight straight games, breaking Jakupovic four times in a row - converting three of those break points with a backhand crosscourt winner, a superb forehand down the line at full stretch and an exquisite dropshot.
Jakupovic's lack of form, by contrast, was all too evident in the 28-year-old's game: leaking errors, the World No.145 was too often overpowered, and her own attempts at breaking up the rhythm of the game with dropshots often ended in poor errors.
Kuzmova is the only player in 2019 to have saved match point to win back-to-back matches - one of which was her maiden Top 10 win over Kiki Bertens en route to her first Premier quarterfinal in Dubai - and the youngster went from strength to strength. Her serve, in particular, was at its best: back-to-back aces out of four in toal sealed the first game and Kuzmova, winning 76% of her first serve points, would concede only three points behind her delivery in the second set. Jakupovic was able to muster up a couple of holds, but Kuzmova stepped up her aggression in the final game to break once more as Jakupovic sent a backhand into the net down a third match point.