Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko put down another dominant performance to open the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, dispatching Paula Badosa, 6-2, 6-2, in under an hour on Monday.

“Today was a good match, and I feel I played aggressively, and served well,” the No. 6 seed said in her post-match press conference. “In general, I’m happy with the way I played; I was very consistent and felt very confident.”

Ostapenko blitzed former world No. 4 Kiki Bertens in similar fashion at the Qatar Total Open—and went on to reach the doubles final that week with Monica Niculescu—but where Bertens was coming off an Achilles surgery that forced her to miss the Australian Open, Badosa was on an upswing after reaching the Open 6ème Sens Métropole de Lyon semifinals.

“I’ve been having better matches—though the second one in Dubai wasn’t that great, and the opponent was playing pretty well. I’m just trying to get as many matches as possible so I can get back my confidence and consistency.”

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Back in St. Petersburg, Ostapenko overpowers Badosa in opener

Back in St. Petersburg, Ostapenko overpowers Badosa in opener

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Still, the Spaniard could do little to interrupt Ostapenko’s imperious rhythm, unable to even engineer a break point in the 52-minute clash.

Ostapenko’s first career WTA title came in St. Petersburg when, as a teenager, she partnered Alicja Rosolska to win the doubles event in 2017, and since has regularly attended the 500-event famous for its emphasis on spectacle.

“This tournament is always great. Of course, it’s a bit different this year, and we obviously can’t have the cool player parties, or things like that. But in general, it’s always great to come here because I have relatives here and it’s also a Russian-speaking country. It’s not exactly a home tournament, but close to one. I love to play here: the hotel is amazing, the courts are nice, and the food is so good here. The opportunities are great here, too—even if things are a bit different.”

The Latvian claimed her maiden major title in Paris days after her 20th birthday, but has been out of sorts in the two years since reaching the 2018 Wimbledon semifinals. A wrist injury derailed her 2019 pre-season and accelerated a dip in the rankings that bottomed out at No. 83 from her career-high of No. 5.

She showed promise at the end 2019, linking up with 2013 Wimbledon winner Marion Bartoli and reaching back-to-back finals to conclude an uneven season, where she won a third WTA title in Luxembourg. Bartoli was on hand to help Ostapenko in Dubai—though the arrangement is largely through correspondence, since having a baby last year.

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“It was tough for her to travel in those first couple of months, but I’ve always been in touch with her, texting and talking,” Ostapenko said of Bartoli. “She was helping me in Dubai, and I think she’ll help me in a couple more tournaments—maybe not Miami, but after, on the clay courts. We’re always in touch with her, and I’ll definitely work with her again.”

Ostapenko needed no advice against Badosa, striking a scintillating 26 winners to just eight unforced errors while maintaining a solid serving day, making 66 percent of her first serves and hitting four aces.

“I think in general, I’ve been having good matches. Sometimes they didn’t go my way, but the key is for me to fight for every match and even if I’m not playing my best game, to do all I can to find it.

“Everything comes with confidence and winning matches, and once I start winning more, I’ll feel even greater confidence and have better results.”

The 23-year-old will next face either Romanian qualifier Jacqueline Cristian or Belarusian Vera Lapko, with former world No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova looming as a potential quarterfinal opponent.

“I think the tour is very open for the Top 50 players, especially Top 20 and Top 30,” Ostapenko said. “There is no leader like there was before, someone who was always No. 1. Now, everything can change very quickly, and I think the girls in the Top 50 are all at a very similar level.

“Of course, there are still big champions like Serena, and it’s tough to compare them to her, but in general, it’s very open. It’s also a very good opportunity for me to rediscover my confidence and get back into the Top 10.”

Earlier in the day, Aliaksandra Sasnovich rallied from a set down to defeat Ana Bogdan, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, and will next take on either former No. 10 Daria Kasatkina or Danish teenager Clara Tauson.

The 18-year-old Tauson is coming off her first WTA title in Lyon, and gamely battled through qualifying to book her spot in the main draw.

Back in St. Petersburg, Ostapenko overpowers Badosa in opener

Back in St. Petersburg, Ostapenko overpowers Badosa in opener