MONTERREY, Mexico -- No.1 seed Elina Svitolina made a winning debut at the Abierto GNP Seguros on Tuesday, as the Ukrainian moved past Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round.
"For me, the goal is to win the tournament," Svitolina told the media, after her win. "I’ll try to do my best, try to recover and be ready for every single match."
"You have to be ready," the top seed continued. "There’s no easy matches."
Kovinic, currently ranked World No.88, had defeated Svitolina on her home soil in their first meeting back in 2012, but Svitolina had won their two encounters since that point. The World No.7 continued her winning streak against Kovinic in Acapulco, claiming victory after one hour of play.
Top-seeded Svitolina was stellar on serve on the day, winning a whopping 83 percent of points on her first delivery, and never facing a break point throughout the clash. Svitolina converted three of her six break points to collect the victory.
Svitolina got off to a flying start, following a love hold with a break for 2-0, punctuated with a forehand winner. Another excellent hold followed, as the top seed reached 3-0 with a service winner.
Kovinic had leads in both of Svitolina’s next two service games, but the Ukrainian was undaunted, powering aces to pull level in each of those instances before pulling off service holds without facing break points.
At 5-2, Svitolina fired a forehand miscue on her first set point, and Kovinic held on for 5-3, forcing the Ukrainian to serve for the set. Svitolina was totally unbothered by missing the earlier opportunity, and converted her second set point with her sixth ace of the opener.
More strong play by Svitolina was to come in the second set, as the top seed earned triple break point at 1-1. Kovinic, to her credit, saved the first two break points with booming serves, but on the third, the Montenegrin fired a backhand into the net, giving Svitolina the early advantage.
Svitolina ran with her lead, collecting two swift holds to reach 4-2, then garnering another break to lead 5-2, after Kovinic was up 40-15 in that game. Serving for the match in the subsequent game, Svitolina reached match point by ending a rally with a forehand winner, then converted that chance after a deep second serve forced a long return from Kovinic.
Svitolina will now face qualifier Olga Govortsova of Belarus in the second round. Govortsova defeated American lucky loser Caroline Dolehide in three sets in their opening-round tilt.