Timea Bacsinszky's return to form continued with a dominant straight-sets win over Alizé Cornet in the first round of the Engie Open de Limoges, while defending champion Monica Niculescu got off to a good start against Viktoriya Tomova.
Alex Macpherson
November 6, 2018

LIMOGES, France - Wildcard Timea Bacsinszky's late-season surge continued with a magnificent 6-2, 6-2 upset of No.2 seed Alizé Cornet in one hour and 17 minutes to move into the second round of the Engie Open de Limoges.

The Swiss player had lost the first nine matches of her comeback from a leg injury this year - but since getting off the mark in September to reach the final of the ITF $80,000 event in Biarritz, Bacsinszky's game has clicked superbly. The 29-year-old has gone 15-4 since, including a semifinal run in Tianjin and a title last week in the Nantes ITF $25,000 event - meaning that she is now on a winning streak of six matches.

Bacsinszky's performance was a cool and collected one from the outset as she racked up her third win in five meetings against Cornet. Maintaining a first serve percentage of 73%, she mixed up the play beautifully on her forehand side with high loopers and biting slices, while using her backhand to slam flat winners both down the line and crosscourt. The former World No.9's only wobble would be a careless service game in the second set that ended with a loose high volley into the tramlines - aside from which she faced only one break point over the course of the match.

Not that it mattered for long: Bacsinszky, who broke her opponent twice in the first set and three times in the second, resumed her level immediately, capturing the Cornet serve again with an emphatic smash to take a 4-1 lead. The Frenchwoman, who was unable to find more than intermittent openings for winning shots throughout, grew increasingly frustrated with her lack of answers to Bacsinszky's game, ultimately losing with a netted backhand slice on the second match point.

Elsewhere, there was smoother progress for other favorites. No.7 seed Evgeniya Rodina needed just 51 minutes to defeat Ekaterine Gorgodze 6-1, 6-2, No.6 seed Tatjana Maria dismissed wildcard Chloe Paquet 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and five minutes and last year's winner, No.5 seed Monica Niculescu, opened her title defence with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Viktoriya Tomova.

Meanwhile, Anna Blinkova emerged on top of a battle between 20-year-olds, coming from a set down and hitting her spots with increasing ferocity to beat Paula Badosa Gibert 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 - but there was a shock upset for former World No.26 Alexandra Dulgheru. The Romanian fell 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1 to qualifier Renata Voracova, the Czech doubles specialist competing in just her third singles event of the year.