No.6 seed Jelena Ostapenko treated the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy to a display of pure brilliance in her 6-2, 6-2 first-round win over Paula Badosa.
The Latvian needed only 52 minutes to dismiss Badosa, during which she fired 26 winners to only eight unforced errors. The victory avenged a surprise loss at Roland Garros last year where, having upset No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova with a stellar performance in the second round, Ostapenko crashed out to Badosa 6-4, 6-3 in the third.
"Very consistent and very confident," assessed a satisfied Ostapenko afterwards. The 23-year-old also opened up on the return of Marion Bartoli to her team. The former Wimbledon champion had been by her side during a surge in form in late 2019 which saw Ostapenko reach the Linz final and capture the Luxembourg title in successive weeks. Bartoli gave birth to daughter Kamilya in December.
"Everybody knows that she has a baby now," explained Ostapenko. "It was tough for her to travel the first couple of months but I was always in touch with her, texting and talking. So she was helping me in Dubai and she's going to help me in a couple more tournaments. Maybe not Miami, but after on clay courts."
Thriving in the indoor conditions, Ostapenko's serve was the bedrock of her game. Maintaining a 66% first serve percentage, 17 of her deliveries went unreturned (including four aces). She conceded just nine points on serve and did not face a break point.
Additionally, just about every facet of Ostapenko's game turned to gold. The dropshot was particularly useful in the first set, including an exquisite dropshot-lob-dropshot combination as she served it out. However, the 2017 Roland Garros champion's trademark power was very much in evidence, too, as she blitzed return winners into the corners and swatted away every drive volley she took on.
Badosa, who was fresh off the Lyon semifinals a fortnight ago, was a spectator for much of the match. Next up for Ostapenko will be either Vera Lapko or qualifier Jaqueline Cristian.
Earlier, Aliaksandra Sasnovich also delivered a performance of top-quality baseline hitting in recovering from a set down to defeat Ana Bogdan 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. The Belarusian took some time to find her radar but raced away with the match once she did, striking 29 winners to 28 unforced errors.
In the final match of the day, former World No.2 Vera Zvonareva, a wildcard in the draw, eased past qualifier Arina Rodionova 6-1, 6-3. The Russian needed to come from 0-3 down in the second set, but roared through six straight games to set up a second-round clash with No.3 seed Fiona Ferro.