OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - Wildcard Coco Gauff made an emphatic return to action at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open, dropping just one game in her opening match to move on in qualifying.
Playing in her first match since the French Open, the American teenager is the No.3 seed in the new Premier-level tournament’s qualifying draw with a wildcard.
Gauff needed just 53 minutes to see off fellow wildcard Jana Cepalova, serving up three aces and breaking her opponent five times en route to a dominant 6-1, 6-0 victory.
Also in action, top seed Veronika Kudermetova also took a step closer to the main draw after a hard-fought straight sets victory over Stefanie Voegele.
The Russian edged through a tight opening set decided on the narrowest of margins: with no breaks of serve across the first 12 games, Kudermetova claimed the only mini-break of the tiebreaker to take the set before closing out the match, 7-6(5), 6-3.
No.2 seed Marie Bouzkova wrapped up first round action with a solid straight sets victory over Kataryna Zavatska, 6-3, 6-2. The Czech player stayed aggressive on the return of serve, breaking Zavatska five times en route to victory after an hour and 44 minutes.
Other qualifying seeds moved into the second and final round in search of a spot in the Ostrava main draw, including straight sets wins from No.4 Jil Teichmann, No.5 Anna Blinkova and No.7 Paula Badosa.
Teichmann, who reached the final in Lexington earlier in the year, moved past Anna-Lena Friedsam 7-5, 6-3, while Blinkova fought past Tamara Zidansek 7-6(5), 6-4 and Badosa took down Sorana Cirsta 6-3, 6-3 to advance.
The J&T Banka Ostrava Open, which is new to the WTA calendar, has received an official exemption which allows the tournament go ahead as planned despite new COVID-19 restrictions in the Czech Republic.