LINZ, Austria - No.4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova was back to her winning ways at the 30th edition of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz as the former finalist charged past Katerina Siniakova in straight sets to reach the second round. 

Linx has been one of Alexandrova’s happiest hunting grounds, since reaching the final here in 2018 after fighting through the qualifying rounds. She looked right at home against Siniakova, breaking the Czech four times en route to a 6-3, 6-4 victory. 

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“I think maybe the serve [was working for me] out there at some points, but sometimes it was my return,” Alexandrova told wtatennis.com after the match. “Because she broke me at the start of the second set, so I thought it was important to do my best on the return and just keep my serve. 

“I’m just glad that I’m back and I’m playing here in Linz, I just feel great.”

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The Russian broke early in the first set to establish her lead against Siniakova, and saved all three break points she faced as she wrapped up the first comfortably. She had to fight back from a break down as Siniakova grabbed the early lead in the second, reeling off the last four games to advance. 

Alexandrova will face fellow Russian Varvara Gracheva in the second round, after the 20-year-old edged past lucky loser Katarina Zavatska 6-4, 7-5 earlier in the day. Gracheva impressed at the 2020 US Open, reaching the third round in her Grand Slam debut.

“We never played before, but I think we’ve once practiced,” Alexandrova recalled. “So we’ll see how [my preparation] goes.” 

Also in action, Aliaksandra Sasnovich knocked out No.8 seed Bernarda Pera in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, to book her place in the second round. In doubles, the No.2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Vera Zvonareva kicked off their first tournament with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Austrian wildcards Mira Antonitsch and Julia Grabher.