Kvitova wins tough opener in Stuttgart

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Petra Kvitova has begun the defence of her Tennis Grand Prix title in Stuttgart with a straight-sets victory over Australian Open runner-up Jennifer Brady.

Kvitova defeated Anett Kontaveit to win the title the last time the WTA 500 level event was held in 2019 and she overcame a tough first-round draw against American Brady 6-4 6-3.

The Czech seventh seed needed to be at her best to defeat world No.14 Brady, and she certainly was hitting 27 winners in the 92 minute-match.

"It was great match and a tough opponent for the first round, for sure," Kvitova said.

"At the beginning, it was pretty tight and I think the games which I was serving were really tough, and I think a few times I (was) lucky as well, to be honest.

Kvitova earned a third win against a Top 20 player this year and improved her head-to-head record against Brady to 3-0.

Her opponent in the round of 16 will be world No.19 Maria Sakkari of Greece - the pair splitting their four career meetings.

Fifth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka eased to a 6-2 6-2 victory over Zhang Shuai while Kontaveit defeated German qualifier Julia Middendorf 6-2 6-3.