BUDAPEST, Hungary - Ksenia Pervak came within a whisker of becoming the latest seed to fall at the Budapest Grand Prix on Tuesday, before staging a miraculous late recovery to defeat Vera Dushevina in a third set tie-break.
The early stages of the match offered no indication of the drama that would follow as No.2 seed Pervak raced through a one-sided opening set in little more than half an hour. However, any hopes the Kazakh had of a swift return to the locker room were quickly dashed when she dropped the first four games of the second set.
Despite this calamitous start, Pervak managed to get back on level terms - including three saved set points at 5-3 - before promptly dropping serve again to concede the set. The decider followed a similar pattern, with Dushevina racing to a 5-2 lead, only for Pervak to come back at her and force a tie-break.
The momentum swings continued into the tie-break itself, with first Pervak, then Dushevina seemingly making the decisive breakthrough. The final swing belonged to Pervak, though, who, from two match points down, reeled off the final four points of the match to wrap up a 61 57 76(6) victory.
"It was a very tough match and she's a very tough opponent," Pervak said after her three-hour epic. "I know her so well from when we played in Russia together and I'm really happy to get the win as she won quite easily last time we played."
Top seed Sara Errani had no such difficulties in her opening assignment in Budapest, brushing aside the challenge of Mandy Minella. The Italian's 61 61 win was her 11th successive victory on clay, a run that has included title runs in Acapulco and Barcelona.
"It was a good start," Errani said. "It's not always easy in the first round but I was enjoying myself out on court and I'm happy I didn't use up too much energy. The courts here are quite slow and I think this is good for my game."
Next up for Errani is home favorite Melinda Czink, who recovered from dropping a tight first set to defeat fellow qualifier Mervana Jugic-Salkic, 67(3) 60 63. Hopes of Czink's fellow Hungarian Timea Babos joining her in the second round, though, were dashed in the final match on Court Asboth Jozsef when Hsieh Su-Wei saw off the talented teenager, 67(4) 64 61.
Others progressing on Day 2 included Alberta Brianti, a 64 57 63 winner over No.8 seed Irina-Camelia Begu and Akgul Amanmuradova, who fended off three match points to defeat Michaella Krajicek, 63 36 76(6).