May 21, 2018 / 6:23 PM / 3 months ago

Tennis: Barty eases to quickfire victory in Strasbourg opener

(Reuters) - Top seed Ashleigh Barty stepped up her French Open preparations with a ruthless display to cruise past Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum 6-4 6-4 in the opening round of the Strasbourg International on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - WTA Premier 5 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 15, 2018 Australia's Ashleigh Barty in action during her first round match against Russia's Maria Sharapova REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

The Australian number one struck 24 winners and saved both break points she faced to seal victory in an hour and 15 minutes.

The 22-year-old’s win sets up a second-round encounter with in-form Istanbul Cup winner Pauline Parmentier, after the home favorite overcame China’s Wang Yafan 6-4 7-6(8).

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 19, 2018. Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand hits a shot against Petra Martic of Croatia. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

“I’ve never played her before but I know it’s probably the complete opposite game style to who I played today,” Barty, ranked 17th in the world, said.

“For me, it’s another challenge. It’s always very tough playing French players in their country.

“I’ll take that on and hopefully have a good match, knowing all in all that I would love to do well here this week but that it’s also preparation for Roland Garros.”

Two-time champion and title holder Samantha Stosur fired 12 aces in a dominant 6-3 6-2 victory over American Sofia Kenin.

The 2010 French Open runner-up will next face Fed Cup team mate Daria Gavrilova in a rematch of their all-Australian final last year.

Second-seeded Gavrilova edged out American Jennifer Brady 7-6(8) 7-6(6) in a tense battle which lasted over two hours.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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