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Gauff, Rybakina win 1st-round matches in Stuttgart

Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart 2023 - Day 5

STUTTGART, GERMANY - APRIL 19: Coco Gauff of the United States in action against Veronika Kudermetova during the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart 2023 at Porsche Arena on April 19, 2023 in Stuttgart, Germany (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

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STUTTGART, Germany -- Coco Gauff fought off a deciding-set comeback from Veronika Kudermetova to reach the second round of the Porsche Grand Prix, and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina beat Jule Niemeier.

Seeded fifth on the Stuttgart clay, Gauff needed nearly three hours to beat Kudermetova 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (3). Her Russian opponent won four straight games to take the second set from 4-2 down and came back from 5-3 down in the decider to force a tiebreaker before Gauff finally secured the win. The 19-year-old American plays Anastasia Potapova next.

Gauff is playing her first tournament since splitting with coach Diego Moyano following the Miami Open.

Rybakina won five games in a row to seal a 7-5, 6-3 win over Niemeier after she had been 3-1 down in the second set. She goes on to play Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Playing each other for the third time in four tournaments, Karolina Pliskova beat eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Donna Vekic. Pliskova takes a 4-3 lead in career meetings with Sakkari, who eliminated the Czech player in the third round at Indian Wells last month before going on to reach the semifinals.