ISTANBUL, Turkey - Hometown hero and defending champion Cagla Buyukakcay put down an emphatic start to her TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup title defense with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Maryna Zanevska, snapping a nine-match losing streak in WTA main draw matches.
“I’m so happy to be here in my home tournament, it’s very exciting every year,” Buyukakcay said after the match. “I’m very happy that I had a good start, this was very important for me.
“I did my best, and the crowd was great today even though it’s only the first day. I’m so happy to get through to the second round.”
The Turkish defending champion dropped serve just once and managed to break Zanevska five times during the hour and sixteen minute encounter. Zanevska was crippled by her serve, firing off six double faults and winning 53% of points behind her first serve and just 28% behind her second.
“In this level anything can happen, so that’s why I was playing every single point,” Buyukakcay explained. “A few games were very long, so I was focused on every point. I think the score looks not as good as the quality of the match.
“Maryna was a great opponent, she’s a great player and I’ve known her for a long time.”
Up next for Buyukakcay is her good friend and doubles partner, No.2 seed Timea Babos.
“I’m a bit sad about this!” the Turkish player said. “We have a good partnership and now we have to play a second round together. She’s a great player and a great person.
“I’m looking forward to playing against her even though I would prefer a different draw.”
The No.2 seed Babos battled past Conny Perrin in straight sets earlier in the day, advancing 6-3, 6-2.
After edging through in a rollercoaster first set – which saw Babos come away with the edge after five breaks of serve – the big-serving Hungarian cruised in the second, sealing the victory in just under an hour and 20 minutes.
Joining them in the second round are Turkey’s Ayla Aksu, who upset the higher-ranked Elizaveta Kulichkova 7-5, 6-1. A trio of Romanians also advanced, with Irina-Camelia Begu, Alexandra Cadantu and Sorana Cirstea all moving on to the second round, along with Elise Mertens and Dayana Yastremska.