DOHA, Qatar — In her first match since September, former U.S. Open finalist Madison Keys beat Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-1 at the Qatar Open.
Keys hit 24 winners against 13 for the sixth-seeded Bencic, who was coming off a loss to Iga Swiatek in the final of the Adelaide International on Saturday.
Keys was playing for the first time since her first-round exit at the French Open. She missed the Australian Open after testing positive for the coronavirus shortly before she was due to fly to Melbourne on a charter flight.
“It’s amazing to be back. I’m smiling under my mask,” Keys said. “Disappointed that I couldn’t go to Australia, but very happy to have the first match of my season like this.”
The 2017 U.S. Open finalist said that when she contracted the virus she “just had super, super mild symptoms, so I was really lucky.”
Keys’ second-round opponent is Maria Sakkari, who won their only previous match last year. Aryna Sabalenka and Garbine Muguruza are potential quarterfinal opponents.
Australian Open quarterfinalist Jessica Pegula won against Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-1 in their first-round match. Pegula came through three rounds of qualifying.
The 56th-ranked Laura Siegemund overcame a 33-place rankings gap to Elena Rybakina as she won 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5). Siegemund meets Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Also, Ons Jabeur beat Anna Blinkova 6-2, 6-2.