ADELAIDE: Czech Republic’s Linda Noskova claimed the first top-10 victory of her career today as the 18-year-old stunned world No 8 Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 in the first round of the Adelaide International 1 WTA 500 tournament.
World No 102 Noskova, who beat higher-ranked opponents Anna Kalinskaya and Anastasia Potapova in qualifying to make the main draw of the Australian Open warm-up event, came close to sealing a straight-sets win over third seed Kasatkina.
After failing to close out the match on serve while up 6-5 in the second set and handing her Russian opponent a lifeline, Noskova raised her game in the decider and sealed the victory with a blistering crosscourt forehand.
“I’m so surprised (with the win) as I didn’t play really great today and I’m looking forward to the next match because the atmosphere was great,” Noskova said.
“It’s a really great start for me here … I just want to play my best so I can prepare for the Australian Open.”
Veronika Kudermetova then made short work of American Amanda Anisimova as the fourth seed prevailed 6-3, 6-0 to set up a clash with former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.
Fernandez off to a winning start
Third seed Leylah Fernandez beat Brenda Fruhvirtova 6-1, 6-1 in her opener at the WTA 250 Auckland Classic, which returned to the tour after the previous two editions were cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.
In the next round, the 20-year-old former US Open runner-up meets Julia Grabher who beat Tereza Martincova 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
Venus Williams, who has received a wild card for the Jan 16-29 Australian Open, began her preparation for the Grand Slam with a 7-6(4), 6-2 victory over fellow American Katie Volynets after a brief rain delay.
It was the 42-year-old’s first victory since Wimbledon 2021 and she faces China’s Zhu Lin next.
Former US Open champions Emma Raducanu and Sloane Stephens as well as French Open runner-up Coco Gauff and ex-Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin are in action on Tuesday.