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A Sunny Start to the Inaugural ATX Open

A Sunny Start to the Inaugural ATX Open


Mother Nature cooperated to provide an idyllic setting for the first day of
play at the inaugural ATX Open, and under blue skies and bright sunshine
the WTA players delivered an exciting day of play at Westwood Country Club.

The headline from Monday’s afternoon session was the upset of the only
seed on the schedule as Mirjam Bjorklund made the most of her wild card by
taking out No. 7 seed Alycia Parks 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

After splitting the first two sets, Bjorklund fought off three break points in a
five deuce second game of the deciding set. In the seventh game, the Swede
took advantage of her only break point of the set to go ahead of the
American then held on for the win.

Bjorklund is no stranger to success in Austin having won the ITF Tour H-E-B
Women’s Pro Tennis Open here in 2021 which is one of the nine ITF titles to
her name.

An all-American affair opened the action on Monday, and Katie Volynets
pulled away from Alison Riske-Amritraj to advance with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
victory. The 21-year-old California native comes to Austin after reaching the
third round of last month’s Australian Open.

The remaining daytime singles matches were straight sets affairs. Heather
Watson won her third match in as many days as the qualifier defeated Danka
Kovinic 7-6(2), 6-4 while Anna Blinkova was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Ann Li.
Former Texas Longhorn Peyton Stearns battled to her first career WTA match
win to close out opening night, surviving a tough test from Katie Boulter to
win 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 7-6(5). At 3:22, it was the second-longest match on the
WTA this season.

Stearns had vocal support from the local crowd, many of whom had cheered
her on during her playing days at the University of Texas where she helped
the Longhorns to NCAA titles in 2021 and 2022 before turning pro. Her local
success continued last fall when she won the H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis

Stearns will now face fellow H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis Open champion
Bjorklund in the second round.

Two American teams recorded doubles wins on Monday. In the night session,
Parks and Sloane Stephens teamed up for a 7-5, 3-6, 10-6 win over the
Ukrainian duo of Marta Kostyuk and Dayana Yastremska while the wild card
pair of 18-year-olds, Ashlyn Krueger and Robin Montgomery, upset No. 4
seed Harriet Dart and Alexandra Panova.