Sabalenka through in WTA's Linz Open

·1-min read

Aryna Sabalenka has overcome a slow start to defeat Jasmine Paolini in the opening round of the season-ending Linz Open.

The top-seeded Sabalenka fell 4-1 down in the first set before winning the next five games, eventually triumphing 6-4 6-4 on Tuesday.

Both players swapped breaks halfway through the second set before Sabalenka broke the 94th-ranked Italian for a fourth time at 4-4 and served out the match in the following game.

The 11th-ranked Sabalenka has won 10 of her last 12 matches, which included a semi-final in Strasbourg in September and her seventh career title in Ostrava in October.

Sabalenka next plays Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele, who defeated Viktoria Kuzmova 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

In other first-round play, 2018 champion Camila Giorgi outlasted Sara Sorribes Tormo for a 6-3 5-7 6-4 win in two hours and 38 minutes.

Giorgi, who conceded a 4-1 lead in the second set, double-faulted nine times in the match.

Also, former world No. 2 Vera Zvonareva eased past Marta Kostyuk 6-4 6-2 while Sorana Cirstea, Arantxa Rus, Jana Fett and Barbora Krejcikova also advanced.

Spectators were not allowed in the arena since Austria tightened its anti-coronavirus measures last week.