Andrea Petkovic pleased her home fans in Germany as she was one of the first winners at the inaugural Bad Homburg Open presented by Engel & Völkers on Sunday.
Former World No.9 Petkovic defeated one of this season's resurgent players, No.6 seed Sorana Cirstea of Romania, 6-3, 6-4, in the first round of the grass-court event. Cirstea won her first singles title in nearly 13 years at Istanbul earlier this season, then reached the fourth round of Roland Garros.
"I was happy with my performance, I have to say," Petkovic said, after her win. "I served really well, I got broken only once -- which is a surprise for me sometimes! I think I returned well when I needed to.
"It’s the same game, the same story on grass: who can play the first aggressive shot is always in the advantage, and I think I was able to do that a tad more often today."
In an hour and 22 minutes of play, Petkovic converted four of her six break points as she leveled her head-to-head with World No.45 Cirstea at one win apiece. The victory is Petkovic's first at main-draw level since her first-round win over Zhang Shuai at Miami in March.
Petkovic broke Cirstea early for a 2-1 lead and eased through the rest of the first set from there. The German reached triple set point with a forehand winner and converted the second of those chances after a wide forehand by Cirstea.
Cirstea was hit in the face with a ball after an errant bounce off the grass early in the second set, but after a medical time-out, the Romanian soldiered on, using some pristine groundstrokes to earn her first break of the match at 4-2 and pull the second set back on serve.
Petkovic had to then save a break point at 4-4, but once she did, the German at last moved ahead for good, forcing an error with a forehand to set up match point at 5-4. Cirstea ceded the match with a double fault, and Petkovic moved into the second round on home soil.
Petkovic will now face American teenager Amanda Anisimova, who cruised past Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, 6-2, 6-1. 19-year-old Anisimova needed just 50 minutes to attain six breaks of service and sweep into the second round.
Tamara Korpatsch joined Petkovic as a German winner on Day 1. Korpatsch outlasted Rebecca Peterson of Sweden, 7-5, 2-6, 7-6(5) in over two-and-a-half hours.
No.5 seed Nadia Podoroska of Argentina booked a spot in the second round as well, after she defeated 17-year-old wildcard Mara Guth of Germany, 6-0, 6-3.
Podoroska will next face Patricia Maria Tig of Romania, who beat another German wildcard, former Top 25 player Mona Barthel, 7-6(4), 6-3.
Roland Garros doubles champion Katerina Siniakova was also a first-round victor on Sunday. The Czech defeated Russia's Varvara Gracheva, 6-3, 6-2.
Misaki Doi of Japan also reached the second round following her 6-2, 6-2 win over Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan.