Garcia beats Ivanovic in Stuttgart

Caroline Garcia has beaten Ana Ivanovic for the third straight time in two months, triumphing 7-6 (8-6) 6-4, in the first round of the WTA event in Stuttgart.

Serbia’s Ivanovic, the 2014 Stuttgart runner-up who is seeded fifth this time around, saved two set points at 6-5 in the first set, only to waste three set points herself in the tiebreak which Garcia won from 6-3 down with five unanswered points.

The 29th-ranked French Garcia constantly attacked Ivanovic’s serve, got the deciding break for 2-1 and missed a match point at 5-3, but won on an ace after 1 hour 37 minutes in the next game.

The former No.1 Ivanovic is yet to lift a trophy in 2015 and three of her past four exits have come against the rising Garcia, the others being in Monterrey and Indian Wells in March.

“Sometimes you have a series like this. I just kept my tactics. Against her you have to play aggressive and it worked out,” the 21-year-old winner, who next plays German wildcard entry Carina Witthoeft, said.

In other first-round action, Russian sixth seed Ekatarina Makarova beat American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4 7-6 (7-3); and the Spanish duo of eight seed Carla Suarez Navarro and Garbine Muguruza also advanced.

Suarez Navarro defeated 92nd-ranked Russian qualifier Evgeniya Rodina 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 after failing to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set and squandering a 5-4 lead on her serve in the ensuing tiebreak.

Muguruza won 6-1 6-4 against Czech Barbora Strycova.

Muguruza dropped two games from 5-2 in the second before clinching victory for a date with Romanian second seed Simona Halep whom she has beaten in both previous meetings.

Czech Lucie Safarova ousted Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6 (10-8), 6-4; American Madison Brengle won 6-4 6-4 over Italian lucky loser Alberta Brianti.

The four top seeds – three-time reigning champion Maria Sharapova of Russia, Halep, Czech Petra Kvitova and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki – have byes into the second round.

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