WTA Tour wrap: Li and Ostapenko the big winners on opening days at Monterrey and St. Petersburg
PROCEEDINGS have begun at the WTA 250 tournament in Monterrey, Mexico and WTA 500 tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, with some quality talents making their mark already.
At Monterrey, one seed fell and one seed prevailed in tight encounters to open the competition, as eighth seed Ann Li ran out victorious in a 6-3 7-5 matchup with Dutch opposition Arantxa Rus, while Jasmine Paolini overcame a zippy start from ninth seed Nao Hibino to overcome the Japanese talent, 3-6 6-2 6-3. Li’s 75 minute victory was credit to her excellent service games, winning 82.1 per cent off her first serve points off a 56.5 per cent clip and making the most of her opportunities. While Rus only trailed in efficiency and effectiveness marginally, it was enough to put her on the back foot as Li saved eight of nine break points to remain in the hunt. For Paolini, it was a marathon rather than a sprint as Hibino flew out of the blocks, and while the Italian was cleaner overall with a 60 per cent serve efficiency, she wasted a couple of points late in the match with four of her six double faults coming in the third set.
Meanwhile, a couple of Slovakian talents remain in the game as they defeated their respective opposition, with Viktoria Kuzmova downing Caroline Dolehide 6-3 6-1, and Anna Karolina Shmiedlova following suit with a 6-4 6-0 victory over Katie Boulter. Both players dominated the statistics in their respective outings, with Kuzmova (five aces, five double faults and serving 76.7 per cent off a 54.5 per cent clip) and Shmiedlova (three aces, three double faults and 69.2 per cent off a 73.6 per cent clip) quickly and efficiently disposing of their opposition in 66 minutes and one hour and 24 minutes, respectively.
The remaining four matches of the day are yet to be complete, with the first two currently midway through the second set – with both first set winners trailing – and the last two matches beginning no earlier than 6pm local (11am AEDT).
MONTERREY ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:
 Ann Li (USA) defeated Arantxa Rus (NED) 6-3 7-5
Jasmine Paolini (ITA) defeated  Nao Hibino (JPN) 3-6 6-2 6-3
Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) defeated Caroline Dolehide (USA) 6-3 6-1
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) defeated Katie Boulter (GBR) 6-4 6-0
Mayar Sherif (EGY) v. Lauren Davis (USA)
Martina Trevisan (ITA) v. Nina Stojanovic (SRB)
Renata Zarazua (MEX) v. Tamara Zidansek (SLO)
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v. Leylah Fernandez (CAN)
Three Round of 32 matches were complete on Day 1 in St. Petersburg, with Jelena Ostapenko the only seed to compete on the day and defeating Spaniard Paula Badosa in just 55 minutes to head through to the Round of 16. With an excellent 88.9 per cent win rate off a 65.9 per cent clip, Badosa impressed on serve and was far more powerful as she ran out with the 6-2 6-2 victory.
Home grown hopeful Vera Zvonareva also lives another day after a classy finish over Arina Rodionova, downing the Australian 6-1 6-3 and using her cleanliness and elevated efficiency on serve to run out victor on home soil. The remaining match saw Aliaksandra Sasnovich taken to three sets before disposing of Romanian Ana Bogdan, with the one hour and 50 minutes win drawn out 2-6 6-2 6-1. Despite a slow start, the Belarusian was far cleaner and took advantage of her second serve, serving consistently at a 53.8 per cent efficiency on her second chances.
ST. PETERSBURG ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:
 Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated Paula Badosa (ESP) 6-2 6-2
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) defeated Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-1 6-3
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) defeated Ana Bogdan (ROM) 2-6 6-2 6-1