ISTANBUL — Defending champion Sorana Cirstea won her opening match at the Istanbul Championship, beating Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia 6-4, 6-1.
The 32-year-old Romanian ended a 13-year wait for her second career singles title last year when she upset Elise Mertens in the final. The second-seeded Cirstea next faces Dutch player Arantxa Rus at the the clay-court competition.
Third-seeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia also advanced to the second round with a 6-2, 6-0 win over compatriot Marina Melnikova.
Mertens is again the top seed in Istanbul and plays a first-round match against Rebecca Peterson of Sweden on Wednesday, when fourth-seeded Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine faces Petra Martic in the first round.