Vandeweghe routs Stephens


STUTTGART — CoCo Vandeweghe put aside her career-long dislike of clay to crush US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-0 with a 56-minute rout in the first round of the Stuttgart Grand Prix Wednesday.

There was a similar fate for last year's New York runner-up, with Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova eliminating American Madison Keys 7-6 (9/7), 5-7, 6-4.

Vandeweghe and Stephens, who won the Miami title last month after a lackluster six months following her Grand Slam triumph, had teamed up at the weekend to help the United States defeat France and reach the Fed Cup final.

"I really don't like clay, it's my least favourite surface," the Californian said after defeating the seventh seed.

"I'll never like it. This is my second time in Germany — I'm not here for the clay, it's more the shopping.

"I didn't come out here to play and lose."

Vandeweghe broke six times in her victory and next faces defending champion Laura Siegemund of Germany in the second round.

Vandeweghe increased her career record over Stephens to 4-1.

The unseeded Keys lasted for two and three-quarter hours before going down to Pavlyuchenkova in their second meeting.

In other first-round results, Russian qualifier Veronika Kudermetova surprised Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 and Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas downed Germany's Carina Witthoeft 6-3, 6-2.

Wozniacki in 2nd round

World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki powered past Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-2 to reach the second round of the Istanbul Cup Tuesday.

Denmark's Wozniacki was barely troubled by world number 101 Alexandrova as she converted five out of six break points to win her first claycourt match of the season in 68 minutes.

The reigning Australian Open champion, back in Istanbul after four years, next meets the winner of Wednesday's match between Kirsten Flipkens and Sara Errani.

"It was tricky, for sure," Wozniacki said. "The first match on clay is never easy, but I'm happy with the win. It's great just to get a match in and feel better with the movement. It's all about fine-tuning in matches like these.

"I'm using this as a preparation for the next few weeks, because the French Open is obviously around the corner. There's lots to look forward to, and I want to keep feeling like I'm getting into the groove on clay."

Earlier, world No. 54 Donna Vekic advanced after Agnieszka Radwanska retired due to a back injury. Croatia's Vekic was leading 6-1 2-0 when third seed Radwanska said she could not continue.

Zhang Shuai was stunned by Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus 6-2, 6-3 while Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva fought back to get past sixth seed Sorana Cirstea 0-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Seventh seed Irina-Camelia Begu saved four set points in the opening set before moving past Slovenian qualifier Dalila Jakupovic 7-5, 6-0. She meets America's Christina McHale next. — Agencies