SAN ANTONIO, TX, USA – Ana Konjuh marked the opening day of the inaugural San Antonio Open by upsetting No.3 seed Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets.
Having fallen at the first hurdle in qualifying for Indian Wells, Konjuh made the five-hour journey to Texas with plenty to ponder. However, against Ostapenko she was full of positive intent, coming from behind in both sets to run out a 7-5, 6-4 winner.
Konjuh, like Ostapenko, was an outstanding junior, lifting the Australian and US Open trophies at 15. And the Croatian’s rise up the senior ranks has been swift, breaking the Top 100 by the end of 2014, before lifting her maiden WTA title the following summer, in Nottingham.
While progress has stalled somewhat in the opening months of 2016, she showed no shortage of fighting spirit against Ostapenko; in the first set she fended off a set point at 5-3 down and then overcame a 3-0 deficit in the second.
Ostapenko was not the only first-round casualty either. In the bottom half of the draw, Samantha Crawford recovered from match point down to defeat No.2 seed Irina-Camelia Begu, 2-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Elsewhere, there were rather more straightforward wins for Kirsten Flipkens and Tsvetana Pironkova. No.7 seed Flipkens survived a late scare to defeat Mariana Duque-Mariño, 6-3, 7-6(4), while Pironkova raced past Dellacqua, 6-1, 6-0, in just 43 minutes.
This week’s tournament is the first WTA event in San Antonio since the US Women’s Hardcourt Championships in the early 1990s. Also appearing at the recently renovated McFarlin Tennis Center are Daria Gavrilova and Yanina Wickmayer, both of whom begin their challenges on Tuesday.