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Top-seeded Linette loses to Gracheva in Austin’s 1st round

TENNIS: JAN 21 Australian Open

MELBOURNE, VIC - JANUARY 21: Magda Linette of Poland plays a shot during the first round of the 2020 Australian Open on January 21 2020, at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

AUSTIN, Texas - Top-seeded Magda Linette was eliminated from the ATX Open in the first round with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 loss to 88th-ranked Varvara Gracheva.

Linette, ranked a career-high 21st this week, has lost three of her past five matches. That follows a five-match winning streak that carried her to her first Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open in January before being beaten at Melbourne Park by eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka.

Gracheva, who saved 10 of 14 break points against Linette, will face Anna Blinkova next.

Seeded women who advanced to the second round with victories Tuesday included No. 4 Danielle Collins, No. 5 Sloane Stephens and No. 8 Marta Kostyuk. Collins, the 2022 Australian Open runner-up, came back to get past Magdalena Frech 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-4; Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, saved the only two break points she faced and beat Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-3; and Kostyuk defeated Dalma Galfi 7-5, 6-1.

Linette’s exit means three of the top six seeds departed Tuesday from the hard-court tournament that marks the debut of women’s professional tennis in Austin. That’s because No. 2 Zhang Shuai pulled out with an illness and No. 6 Lauren Davis withdrew with an abdominal injury; both were replaced by women who lost in the final round of qualifying.

Erika Andreeva took Zhang’s place in the main draw and defeated Harriet Dart 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (3), while Nao Hibino took Davis’ spot and lost to Anna Kalinskaya 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Emma Raducanu, the 2021 U.S. Open champion, dropped out of the field before play began because of tonsilitis.