Second seeded Petra Kvitova advanced to the second round of the Madrid Open with a convincing win in her title-defending opener on Saturday.
Kvitova defeated Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-4 to set up a potential meeting against either Kristina Mladenovic or fellow Czech Barbora Strycova in the second round.
And the world number two was joined by few of the other seeded players in the second round of the competition including the seventh seeded Kiki Bertens and ninth seeded Ash Barty.
Barty came away with a crushing 6-1, 6-2 win over her fellow countrywoman Daria Gavrilova, while Bertens defeated Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-2 in her opener.
Among others to come through were Caroline Garcia, who was stretched in the first set by Hsieh Su-wei, and Victoria Azarenka who edged past Daria Kasatkina. Jelena Ostapenko, a former French Open champion also moved ahead and will now take on Bertens in the second round, as did the 12th seeded Anastasija Sevastova. Sevastova overcame the loss of the first set to love before clinching a three-setter.
However, there was no such luck for either Aryna Sabalenka, the 10th seed or the 14th seeded Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, both of whom bit the dust in their openers. Sabalenka, still in her early days as a top 20 player, has struggled on clay, including having never made it past the first round at Roland-Garros and things haven’t begun too well for her again.
She had earlier lost in the second round at the Charleston Open as well, the only other clay-court tournament she had played in and holds a negative overall record on clay across all levels of competition.
The bigger surprise was Kontaveit’s opening defeat at the hands of Aliaksandra Sasnovich after the Estonian came into the tournament with some brilliant form under her belt on clay. She was the finalist at the Stuttgart Open before this and bagelled her opponent in the first set here.
However, Sasnovich took advantage of a faltering opponent, and went on to win the next two to make it through to the second round.