LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg – No.8 Anna Blinkova produced a clinical performance to ease past up-and-coming star Coco Gauff, 6-4, 6-0 to move into the second round of the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open in just 59 minutes.
Coming into the match off the back of her milestone victory in Linz, in which she became the youngest WTA Tour winner since 2004, the 15-year-old American failed to reach her top level and was punished by the World No.66
The Russian was clinical in her play, making only five unforced errors and hitting 18 winners against an opponent who looked mentally fatigued.
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“I’m very happy with my performance,” Blinkova said. “I didn’t make a lot of mistakes and I had the right tactics. I was calm and I did my job well today.
“I was very focused. I know she’s a great player and I knew she was coming off a WTA tournament win, so I was well prepared.”
From the outset, it was a difficult assignment for the player who exploded into the Top 100 at World No.71 following her sensational week in Austria.
Although she ground out the opening game after being forced to deuce, Blinkova took command thereafter, serving out to love to draw level then breaking to 15.
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Gauff, who had already won a doubles match this week with Catherine McNally, hit back immediately but was unable to get back on terms after dropping serve in the following game, which was a lengthy affair decided by Blinkova’s controlled aggression.
The set was rounded out by the 21-year-old with comfortable service holds to love and 15.
With the opener safely in the bag, Blinkova hit the accelerator in the second, blowing away her opponent for the loss of just eight points.
Gauff especially struggled on serve, failing to win a single point when her first delivery failed to make its mark and taking just four of 12 points when it did.
The opening two games were competitive, but after Blinkova established a 2-0 lead, she pulled away and won the final four games by losing just three points.
A forehand winner into the open court sealed the match, teeing up a second-round encounter against World No.86 Tatjana Maria.