HUA HIN, Thailand - Top seed Elina Svitolina sealed a spot in the second round of the GSB Thailand Open presented by E@ with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands.
The opening round victory, Svitolina's singles debut in Hua Hin, was a measure of revenge for the Ukrainian against Schoofs, as the pair faced off for the second time in a 24-hour span.
Svitolina and Ng Kwan Yau of Hong Kong were defeated by Schoofs and China's Han Xinyun in doubles on Tuesday, but the World No.5 needed just 79 minutes to beat the Dutch No.4 in their first-ever singles meeting.
"Yesterday, we were unlucky in the doubles, but I think it helped me to get a feel for the court and the conditions," Svitolina said. "That helped me to understand where I was with my game today.
“It was a bit windy but we are both in the same conditions, so I just tried to focus on what I have to do on the court. I tried to really fight for every single point and I think in the end, I found my game and I played a very solid match.”
The World No.4 cruised in the opener, needing a half hour to take a one-set set, as she broke Schoofs twice and saved all three break points that she faced.
The World No.195 was nonetheless competitive in the second set, as she battled back from a 3-1 deficit and a break down twice to push Svitolina in the set's late stages.
Nonetheless, a pair of marathon games helped Svitolina seal the match in the end, as Schoofs was unable to convert any of three game points at 4-4 before she lost serve for the fifth time in the match, and saw two break points slip away before the top seed served out the win.
"For me, it's important to just play my best and enjoy. I enjoyed today's match. There are going to be some tough moments, but I'm just trying to win the matches here," Svitolina said.
"I like to play in new places and new tournaments, so it's very nice to come here. I heard many nice things, so I'm happy to be here and I hope that I can go far in the tournament."
Up next for the top seed is Australian qualifier Storm Sanders, who came through a match against Norway's Ulrikke Eikeri on Monday, 6-3, 6-4.
"I haven't played against her before, but I think my coach will look up how she plays," Svitolina said.
"I saw her a few times a little bit - she's left-handed, so she has a different spin - so I just have to be focused on what I have to do on the court."
Svitolina and No.5 seed Magda Linette rounded out the first-round winners by advancing on Wednesday, as the Polish World No.42 celebrated her 28th birthday in style and beat Svitolina's compatriot, Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-2, 6-2.
“I never had a good experience of playing on my birthday," Linette said. "Almost every time, I've lost the match, so I’m really happy this time that I managed to go out there and play a good match because I really had a bad experience before.
"I was actually glad for a little bit of breeze - it was quite tough serving and playing, but I’m happy that I managed and that I played a solid match.”