In Abu Dhabi more top players began their 2021 season on a winning note. All top four seeds ended the action-packed day with opening victories at the WTA 500 event.
These are the Top 5 Photos from Thursday:
The 16-year-old sensation is off to a great start in Abu Dhabi. She gave up only one game against world No. 135 Ulrikke Eikeri. Gauff's last event was back in October in Ostrava, where she won three consecutive matches before falling to eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka.
Dealing with more pressure than ever before, top-seeded Sofia Kenin put it aside and focused on the task at hand. The 2020 Australian Open winner posted a routine 7-6 (4), 6-2 win against Yang Zhaoxuan to advance in Abu Dhabi.
The No. 3 seed captured her first win of the season with a 6-2, 7-6 (4) win against Greek Despina Papamichail. This marks her first win since her new partnership with Sascha Bajin. She will next face world No. 292 Anastasia Gasanova for the first time.
The world No. 5 had a solid day at the office against Jessica Pegula. The No. 2 seed posted a 6-4, 6-3 victory over the American, and is feeling happy to just be out on the court competing again.
"Definitely enjoyed my time at home but really missed tennis, really missed the competitive spirit and the preparations," Svitolina told Abu Dhabi press.
Sara Sorribes Tormo
In breezy conditions, the Spaniard took full advantage against Nada Podoroska, who was struggling with her serve. Sorribes Tormo posted a seamless 6-3, 6-3 score against last year's Roland Garros semifinalist to set up a second-round clash with Bernarda Pera.