STRASBOURG, France - No.6 seed Dayana Yastremska shook off a late surge from French veteran Pauline Parmentier to win, 6-2, 6-4, advancing into the second round of the Internationaux de Strasbourg.
The newly 19-year-old Ukrainian won the second title of her career earlier this year at the Toyota Thailand Open presented by E@ in Hua Hin, but injuries and illness had kept her from winning a match on red clay thus far 2019. She finally ended the streak after one hour and 19 minutes on Court Patrice Dominguez.
"It was a pretty tough period for me after Fed Cup," she explained after the match. "I had a couple of injuries and after my match in Madrid, I got a temperature and I was sick, so I couldn't prepare well for Rome. I still have a cough, but I'm much better and I'm recovering well."
Yastremska came within one point of defeating former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova at the Mutua Madrid Open, while Parmentier - a former semifinalist in Strasbourg - kicked off the clay court swing with Fed Cup heroics, helping lead France into the final over Romania.
"She's played some good matches on clay this season, like the one that she won against Svitolina in Madrid. I played her last year on hardcourts, which was easier. She's very solid, with a good serve. I played better today, but she tried, and that's tennis."
Taking the court on Monday after having won an opening round doubles match alongside Galina Voskoboeva less than 24 hours earlier, the Ukrainian teenager put on a fiercesome display of power, overcoming an early exchange of breaks to take the opening set on the back of two marathon games.
"I'm happy that I won because it hasn't been an easy period for me, and I haven't been able to practice well, but I've had a couple days to prepare correctly, and I've been giving it my best."
The second set appeared on course for a similar scoreline as Yastremska edged to within two points of a 5-1 lead. But it was Parmentier, who won two titles of her own in 2018, who turned the tables, putting things back on serve with an impressive break in the seventh game.
Shaking off some wild shotmaking, the No.6 seed soon steadied and treated the Strasbourg crowd to a tense final game that featured four deuces and three match points, the last of which Yastremska converted to secure victory.
"I lost to Pliskova after having match points, so this match gives me a lot of confidence, and like a new beginning, so soon after my birthday!"
In all, she struck 23 winners and 27 unforced errors while converting five of 11 break point opportunities; though Parmentier hit fewer errors, she made just nine winners of her own and broke serve just once in each set.
Up next for Yastremska is 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur, who dismissed American Jessica Pegula, 6-3, 6-1 earlier in the day. A former World No.4, the Aussie veteran won her most recent WTA singles title in Strasbourg two years ago over compatriot Daria Gavrilova.