TASHKENT, Uzbekistan – No.1 seed Viktoria Kuzmova negotiated her first-round Tashkent Open match against Francesca Di Lorenzo successfully, though she was made to work for her 7-6(3), 6-3 win.
Although Kuzmova struggled to get much about 50% of her first serves in throughout the match, she negotiated the first set without so much as facing a break point.
Indeed, both players were secure on their delivery, the Di Lorenzo saving the only break opportunity of the opening set as it trundled into a tiebreak.
It was the American who drew first blood in the deciding game, but after moving 2-1 up she would lose five of the next six points as the set slipped away.
The World No.141 got into an advantageous position in the second, too, immediately breaking to take command.
From 1-3 down, though, Kuzmova showed her class, stringing together five straight games in order to move through to the second round.
She faced major opposition as she made a final push to get over the line. As she served for her place in the second round, she faced down five break points in a marathon game that she eventually won on her third match point.
Greet Minnen awaits in round two after the Belgian dispatched Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-2, 6-2 in little over an hour.
Bondarenko, a former champion in Tashkent in 2017, was playing her first match since the 2018 US Open, following the birth of her second child.
There was more Belgian success as Alison Van Uytvanck, the No.3 seed, enjoyed an express victory over qualifier Liudmila Samsonova, taking a 6-0, 6-1 win in just 53 minutes.
Romania’s No.8 seed Sorana Cirstea also made serene progress, easing by Denisa Allertova, 6-1, 6-4.
No.4 seed Jelena Ostapenko was not so lucky as she was forced to retire with gastrointestional illness when trailing Katrina Zavatska, 6-3, 5-4.
"I have worked hard to play at this level, and the win will give me more confidence," Zavatska, a 19-year-old Ukrainian, said. "The plan was to run and retrieve, step in on returns and get as many balls back into play, and that helped me to win today.
"The turning point in the match was at 4-4 in the second set when I held my game after being down, I really played well then."
Elsewhere, there were straight sets wins for Anna Kalinskaya and Katarzyna Kawa, who overcame Harriet Dart and Vitalia Diatchenko respectively.