BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — The youngest and oldest women in the world's top 100 won their opening matches Monday at the Aegon Classic, a grass court warm-up event for Wimbledon.
Seventeen-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland defeated fellow teenager Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4, while Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm, more than a quarter of a century Bencic's senior at the age of 43, overcame Paula Ormaechea 6-3, 6-1.
Bencic, who has been coached by Martina Hingis' mother, Melanie Molitor, is seen as one of the game's potential rising stars, winning two junior Grand Slam titles in 2013 at the French Open and Wimbledon. She next plays defending champion Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who received a first-round bye.
Bencic struck the ball boldly against Vekic and responded quickly when the Croat rallied from a break down in each set.
"Of course I have dreams, but the dreams are so far away yet," Bencic said when asked about her goals in tennis. "So I'm just enjoying every tournament and enjoying this year when I have no pressure and no points to defend."
Date-Krumm, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 1996, next faces the winner of the match between Puerto Rican Monica Puig and Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele.
If both Bencic and Date-Krumm win their next matches, they'll face each other. Bencic eliminated Date-Krumm in the first round of this year's Australian Open.
In other matches, 10th-seeded Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia was beaten by Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 6-4, and 13th-seeded Carolina Garcia of France lost to American Victoria Duval 6-2, 6-4.