Baku Cup: British No 1 Heather Watson beaten in three sets by Kristina Mladenovic
Last Updated: 23/07/14 8:48pm
Heather Watson was broken seven times as she was dumped out of the first round of the Baku Cup by Kristina Mladenovic.
Watson, who was seeded seventh in Azerbaijan, was in action for the first time since falling at the second round at Wimbledon but it was to prove an unsuccessful return for the 22-year-old as she slumped to a 6-2 3-6 6-0 loss.
Things started badly for the British No 1 as Mladenovic raced into a 3-0 lead and the unseeded Frenchwoman, who reached the semi-finals in Istanbul last week, broke for a second time to clinch the first set.
The second set was a topsy-turvy affair which included six service breaks - four of them to Watson as the world number 57 levelled up the match at 1-1.
Watson, who had won two of her previous four matches with Mladenovic but was beaten in their last meeting in France two years ago, would have hoped to kick on for victory from there but she was broken three more times in the final set to suffer a convincing loss.
Top seed Sorana Cirstea was unconvincing against wildcard Ons Jabeur in her opening match of the Baku Cup, eventually prevailing 6-3 6-3 on Tueday.
Romania’s Cirstea and Tunisian opponent Jabeur shared 15 double faults and 11 service breaks before the world No 29 came through in straight sets.
Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, who won her maiden WTA title her last year and was back as the No. 2 seed, defeated qualifier Nigina Abduraimova of Uzbekistan 6-2 6-4.
However, three seeds lost; No. 3 Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia to qualifier Misa Eguchi of Japan, No. 4 Kurumi Nara of Japan to Francesa Schiavone, who landed less than half of her first serves, and British hope Watson.