Safina Wins Opener
Published July 20, 2009 09:38
PORTOROZ, Slovenia - Main draw action began with a bang at the Banka Koper Slovenia Open on Monday as world No.1 Dinara Safina took to the courts. And although the 23-year-old Russian registered the anticipated win, local fans had lots to cheer as 18-year-old wildcard Tadeja Majeric gave her a run for her money in the second set.
The first set was as brutal as the young Slovene might have feared, though. Safina won her first service game to love, before Majeric betrayed her nerves by delivering four double faults in her first service game. Another four were to follow in subsequent games, helping the Russian to three breaks and a first set bagel.
But, after Safina had launched the second set with another love game, things got interesting. Majeric began to cope with her opponent's greater weight of shot, finally held serve to get onto the scoreboard at 1-1 - and then, out of nowhere, broke Safina to love as errors crept into the Russian's game.
Another hold took Majeric to 3-1 but then reality began to bite. Safina produced a three game surge of her own and although Majeric fought valiantly in a final service game that went to deuce five times, the top seed prevailed, 60 64. Although she had managed a lackluster 51% of first serves, Safina had won 95% of points when they did go in.
Two other seeds played Monday, only one of them meeting with success. Sixth seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic edged Katie O'Brien of Great Britain, 64 64, but No.3 seed Kaia Kanepi was beaten by Olga Govortsova of Belarus, 61 62.
The other first winners were Czech Klara Zakopalova, who beat local hope Masa Zec Peskiric in straight sets, and Croatian wildcard Petra Martic, who was similarly efficient against Kristina Barrois of Germany.
Sesil Karatantcheva, Vesna Manasieva, Ksenia Pervak and Anna Tatishvili all secured berths in the main draw by winning their final round qualifying matches. Manasieva turns 20 on Tuesday, and will celebrate by playing No.2 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues - the highest ranked player she has ever encountered.