Anabel Joins Top 20, Exits Paris Early
Published February 09, 2009 12:00
PARIS, France - Anabel Medina Garrigues may have moved into the Top 20 for the first time on Monday but it certainly wasn't the warmest of welcomes, as the Spaniard was ousted by Kaia Kanepi in her first round match. Li Na and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also moved through to the second round.
Medina Garrigues, who moved from No.21 to No.20 on the new rankings, fought until the bitter end against Kanepi, saving five match points as the Estonian served for the match at 5-4 in the third set, evening proceedings at 5-5.
But after escaping that she would win only one more point - on a Kanepi double fault, no less - en route to a 36 62 75 defeat in two hours and 26 minutes.
Kanepi, who also reached a new career-high on this week's rankings, at No.23, recorded her seventh career win over a Top 20 player, having notched four of her previous six last year (including her first Top 10 win, over Chakvetadze).
Li, who is playing her first tournament of the year after pulling out of the entire Australian season with an injured right knee, beat last year's runner-up Agnes Szavay in straight sets, 76(6) 62, while Pavlyuchenkova beat France's own Virginie Razzano, a wildcard into the Premier-level event, 64 61.
Two more seeds - No.4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska and No.5 seed Alizé Cornet - will play their opening matches at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin on Monday. While Cornet made a strong showing in Melbourne, reaching the fourth round and having match points before falling to eventual finalist Dinara Safina, Radwanska had a disappointing trip Down Under, falling quietly in the first round.
"It's always disappointing to lose first round, but this is tennis, and sometimes it happens," the world No.10 said. "The tournament in Australia wasn't that great for me. But hopefully I'll do better in the other big tournaments coming up. It's going to be difficult to stay where I am in the rankings, but I'll try my best to defend all my points. It's going to be difficult, but the most important thing is just to stay as high as I can, whether it's No.9, No.10, No.7, doesn't really matter."