LINZ, Austria - Top seed Kiki Bertens claimed the last remaining second-round spot at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz, needing two sets to take down Misaki Doi, 6-4, 7-5.
Ranked No.8 in the world and sitting on the outside bubble in the Porsche Race to Shenzhen, Bertens grabbed a wildcard into Linz to fight for one of the last two spots for the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen.
Last week in Beijing, Bertens fought her way to the China Open semifinals, her best result of the post-US Open Asian Swing so far. But her heroics there left her feeling ‘dead’ after arriving in Linz and negotiating the tough change in time zones.
“To be honest, I feel dead,” Bertens joked in her on-court interview with Barbara Schett. “But that doesn’t matter. I won today and I gave so much energy from inside me, and so I’m just glad that I could finish in two sets.”
Doi took advantage of a sluggish start by Bertens, but the Madrid Open champion rallied back emphatically, finding a late break in each set to win, 6-4, 7-5 after an hour and 36 minutes.
Bertens served up four aces and won 29 points from 38 behind her first serve. As a result, her strong serving kept her ahead in the rallies and she saved three of five break points faced. She in turn broke Doi four times en route to victory.
“It’s really time for a singles title,” Bertens grinned. She owns two Linz doubles titles after triumphing here with partner Johanna Larsson in 2016 and 2017. “I’ve been coming here for so many years, playing singles, doubles.
“In the years when I wasn’t playing so well in the singles, the doubles helped me. So I have great memories here. I hope I can do well in singles here too.”
Up next, Bertens will take on Alison Van Uytvanck in the second round of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz. Awaiting the winner in the quarterfinals will be on-the-rise American youngster Coco Gauff, a lucky loser.