Ostapenko, Bencic lose WTA openers

Published by Reuters / Tennismash

Jelena Ostapenko (Getty Images)
Top seeds Jelena Ostapenko and Belinda Bencic suffer shock first-round losses in Bogota and Lugano respectively.

American Kristie Ahn, a lucky loser from qualifying, pulled off a stunning comeback Tuesday to upset top-seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the first round of the Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogota, Colombia.

Ostapenko led 6-2 3-0 and also built a 4-2 lead in the second set; Ahn then saved two match points late in the third set – both on Ostapenko double faults – to emerge with a 2-6 7-6(5) 7-5 win.

In another shocking result, German qualifier Antonia Lottner upset top seed Belinda Bencic 7-5 6-2 in Lugano, Switzerland.

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Ahn, a 26-year-old New Jersey native who is ranked 205th in the world, needed four match points in the last game to seal the win.

Ostapenko, the 2017 Roland Garros champion and a former world No.5 now ranked No.29, finished the match with 16 double faults.

“It was a really tense match,” Ahn told wtatennis.com. “Obviously playing in altitude is really difficult for both of us, but I was just really happy to come out with the win and fight for every point.”

Seventh-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain topped Christina McHale 6-4 6-4, and eighth-seeded Magda Linette of Poland advanced to the second round with a 2-6 7-6 6-0 victory over Aliona Bolsova of Spain.

Meanwhile, Bencic couldn’t close out her service games and was broken five times by Lottner, ranked No.182.

Bencic, who returned to the world’s top 20 this week, has enjoyed a fabulous 2019 season so far, including victory at the Premier 5 event in Dubai and a run to the semifinals at Indian Wells.

She was 21-6 this season before arriving in Lugano, and at one stage owned a 12-match winning streak. She was also a quarterfinalist in Charleston last week.

The Swiss wasn’t the only high seed to fall. Polona Hercog of Slovenia came from one set back to defeat second-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Third-seeded Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia is the top seed remaining in the tournament after beating Italian qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone 6-2 6-2.

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