Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova played the last match at the Tokyo Olympics and the first round of the Western & Southern Open two weeks later delivered the same result: victory for the Swiss.
In her first match since beating Vondrousova in a three-set final to win the gold medal, a quirk of a loaded draw at the WTA 1000-level event that Bencic said she and her good friend would find the humor in, the No.10 seed eased through to the second round with a 6-3, 7-5 victory.
An early break sealed Vondrousova's fate in the opener after she fell behind 3-0, but the Czech did not let the Swiss pull away in the second: the pair traded breaks in the first two games and the left-hander kept the lead from then on, until Bencic won the last three games to secure the win in just short of 90 minutes.
From Tokyo 👉 Cincinnati 🤩— wta (@WTA) August 18, 2021
The Olympic medalists battle it out once again, this time for a spot in the @CincyTennis second round!
Key to Victory: Despite eight aces and dominance behind her first serve - Vondrousova won all but six of the points when she landed it - the Czech did not save a break point. Bencic went 3-for-3 on chances in the match.
What's next for Bencic: Bencic advances to face American Shelby Rogers, who advanced on Tuesday when Danielle Collins retired with a left hip injury. Bencic leads the head-to-head, 2-1, but the pair have not played on hardcourts in nearly seven years.
What was a semifinal last week at the Omnium Banque Nationale was an opening round this week, and Jessica Pegula exacted a measure of revenge on Camila Giorgi. Falling in three sets in the penultimate round north of the border in Canada, the American needed just 72 minutes to oust Giorgi on her home soil, 6-2, 6-2.
Behind the Serve: Five breaks of serve helped Pegula's cause in victory as she herself was broken just once. The American was particularly effective on return, no matter if she was facing Giorgi's first or second serve: she won more than 50 percent of the points played behind each, totaling 52% of points in Giorgi's eight service games.
GIF of the Match: After winning her first round match for the 12th tournament this year, Pegula says hello to Round 2 - and a match-up with No.12 seed Simona Halep.
Ons Jabeur, beaten by Pegula in the quarterfinals in Montreal, also joined her in the second round. The Tunisian came through perhaps the most thrilling match of the evening against Estonia's Anett Kontaveit in three, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, in 2 hours and 13 minutes.
However, in other news for Americans, Dayana Yastremska also passed the two-hour mark in victory, beating wildcard Caty McNally in a pair of tiebreaks, 7-6(3), 7-6(1). McNally, a Cincinnati native, led 4-2 in the first set and 5-2 in the second set.