CHARLESTON, SC, USA - Action began at the Family Circle Cup on Monday and it didn't take long for the first upsets, as three of the five seeds in action fell - Paula Ormaechea was among the three underdogs who rose up.
Ormaechea, who didn't lose a set in qualifying over the weekend, prevailed in a streaky affair with No.15 seed Chanelle Scheepers, 61 16 64. Ormaechea originally led 5-1 in the third set and things looked dubious as the South African took three games to close to 5-4, but Ormaechea broke at love to end it.
Other upsets saw Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele withstand eight aces to beat No.16 seed Jarmila Gajdosova, 64 26 64, and Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak win a two-hour, 48-minute marathon against No.11 seed Christina McHale, 75 57 64. Wozniak looked headed for a straight set victory as she built a 75 31 lead; McHale pushed it to a third, but Wozniak regrouped to win.
"Overall it was a good match. Aleksandra played some really good tennis," a gracious McHale said. "She was serving really well and I found it hard to break her. I had my chances in the match, but I just couldn't capitalize on them."
McHale has had a meteoric rise up the rankings over the last 12 months - she came into Charleston ranked No.97 last year, and this week she's at No.33.
"It was unfortunate to lose today, but it has been a decent 12 months for sure," the 19-year-old American commented. "I'll try to continue to improve, and hopefully next time I'll be on the other end of a match like this one today."
The other seeds in action, No.10 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues and No.14 seed Polona Hercog, both won. Medina Garrigues regrouped after letting a 2-0 lead slip in the second set and got past American Melanie Oudin, 64 46 60; Hercog served up a 64 63 victory over Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm.
Other winners as first round matches began were Galina Voskoboeva, Elena Vesnina, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Kateryna Bondarenko, Eleni Daniilidou, Lucie Hradecka, Vera Dushevina, Anastasia Rodionova, Mirjana Lucic, Andrea Hlavackova and, at night, Jamie Hampton.
Vesnina, the 2011 finalist at the Family Circle Cup, won an extremely tight two-setter in one of the first matches of the day, beating Stéphanie Dubois, 76(10) 75. For almost two and a half hours Dubois hung tough with the aggressive Russian, saving seven set points before finally surrendering the first set then missing out on a 5-3 lead en route to losing the second set, and the match.