Begu eliminates former champion

7 January 2019, by Leigh Rogers

Irina-Camelia Begu has made an impressive start to her Hobart International campaign, defeating 2015 champion Heather Watson in the opening round.

The No.76-ranked Romanian posted a 6-1 6-4 win over the British qualifier in the feature match of tonight’s evening session.

“I was playing really well, especially the first set,” said Begu.

Begu, who won the Hobart International doubles title in 2012, admitted to some nerves as she closed out the match.

“A little bit,” she laughed. “It was my first win of the season, which is never easy, but I’m happy to get through.”

Tunisian world No.58 Ons Jabeur proved too strong for Romanian Ana Bogdan in the final match of the night, winning 7-6(8) 6-2.

Earlier in the afternoon, Belarusian Vera Lapko caused the biggest upset of the tournament so far to eliminate fifth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 3-6 6-3.

It was the 20-year-old’s first win against the former world No.13, having lost their only previously meeting in three sets late last year.

Lapko said improved concentration and better control of her emotions helped her avenge that loss.

“On the key points I was focused 100 per cent on the court and was in the game,” she said.

It sets up a second-round meeting with Ukrainian teen Dayana Yastremska, who defeated German Laura Siegemund in the first round earlier today.

“We’ve played a lot of matches,” Lapko said of her next opponent.

“It is going to be a difficult match because she is hitting big and she is very brave. She fears no-one, but I’ll prepare for this match and I’ll be ready for her.”