HOBART, Australia - It was an action-packed day at the Hobart International on Sunday - not only did the qualifying wrap up and the main draw start, but a former World No.1 took to the exhibition court.
The first main draw match of the week took the court and it was a close contest, with No.6 seed Mona Barthel battling back from 4-2 down in the first set and eventually beating Elina Svitolina, 64 63.
"It was really difficult today," Barthel said. "We had tough conditions - when it was 4-2 we had to stop for such a long time because of the rain. And the last match I played against her I lost, so I'm pretty happy I could beat her today and deal with everything around the match too. It was good for me."
How much can rain delays affect a match? "It can change the whole match," Barthel said. "Luckily today after the long break there wasn't as much wind, which was great. It can be tough to stay concentrated and you never know how long the break will be, so you just have to be ready to play."
Hobart is a special venue for Barthel - not only did she win her first WTA title here in 2012, she made it all the way to the final again in 2013. She is 13-1 at the tournament now if you include qualies.
"I'm really happy to be here - I have so many good memories from here," the German said. "I'm happy to have a win again, that's always a good thing, and I'm just excited to play the next round now."
Meanwhile on the exhibition court, Martina Hingis beat fellow Swiss Belinda Bencic in a match tie-break, 36 61 106. Hingis returned to WTA action in doubles last summer but hasn't played since.
"We know each other so well from the past year," Hingis said. "It's always easier to play with someone you know, you can enjoy it, and you can talk. It's fun. And we had a good match out there I think.
"I think Belinda's definitely going in the right way, the right direction. It's important to show you can win matches and tournaments, and she's really showing it - she's the No.1 junior. That's already a good start. And she's got my mom, my dad and the whole support system. I hope we'll see more of her."
How does Hingis feel about playing exhibitions? "It's a relaxed atmosphere," she said. "All of the hard work you've spent in your career in the last 20 years, and this is kind of the joy of it, going out there and playing exhibitions without too much pressure. I still enjoy it. This is really the beauty of it."