Safarova, Petkovic crash out in Linz

‘I will do my best to win a nice coloured medal at Tokyo 2020’ – Nishikori

World number seven Lucie Safarova was dumped out of the first round of the Generali Ladies Linz on Monday when she suffered a straight-sets defeat to Andreea Mitu.

The match was Safarova’s first since the US Open, after she was hospitalised with a bacterial infection, and she showed signs of lacking match-fitness in the 78-minute clash.

The number one seed fell behind early in the first set; dropping her serve once as she lost the first three games.

Safarova managed to hold and then break back to close the gap to 3-2, but didn’t offer much more and Mitu went on to win the set 6-3.

The Czech was slightly more effective in the second set; holding her serve until the seventh game when Mitu finally got the breakthrough.

Mitu, the world number 95, served out the set to claim a 6-4 win and book her place in round two.

The Romanian will next face Anna-Lena Friedsam, who won 6-2, 6-2 against Magdelena Rybarikova.

Andrea Petkovic, the fourth seed, was also eliminated from the first round after a 6-3, 3-6 4-6 loss to Johanna Larson.

Petkovic dominated the first set and won in 31 minutes, but things quickly went south for her thereafter.

The world number 20 dropped her serve twice in the second and dropped all but one of her service games in the third to hand Larson a place in the next round.

Sixth seed Camilla Giorgi had simple passage to the second round; cruising past Julia Goerges in straight sets.

Goerges successfully defended two break points before eventually dropping her serve in the eighth game to hand Giorgi a 6-3 win in the first set.

The Italian subjected Goerges to heavy pressure early in the second set and raced to a 3-1 lead after three consecutive victories.

Goerges responded immediately and forced Giorgi to defend two break points in the next game but could not convert.

Although she managed to hold onto her serve in the rest of the set, Giorgi was able to secure a comfortable 6-4 win.

Meanwhile, seventh seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova advanced after a match of two contrasting sets against Katerina Siniakova.

She won the first 7-6(7-4) after a 57-minute long back-and-forth battle with Siniakova, but then eased to a 6-0 win in the second set in almost half the time.

Barbora Strycova, the eighth seed, had to fight to secure her spot in the next round at the expense of Barbara Haas.

Strycova won the first set 6-0 and in just 24 minutes, before the Austrian won the second 7-6(7-5) to force a decider.

The Czech looked set to hand Haas her second donut of the match, but the wildcard fought back to come within a game of levelling the scores before Strycova served out a 6-4 win.