Favorites Five For Five in France
Published May 18, 2010 12:00
STRASBOURG, France - With all five seeds in action at the Internationaux de Strasbourg advancing (although No.4 seed Peng Shuai withdrew from the event because of dizziness), the real drama Tuesday was provided by a few of the matches involving unseeded players.
Wildcard Kristina Mladenovic, who just turned 17 last Friday, had not won a main draw Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles or doubles match in her career until her 63 16 76(5) defeat of Stefanie Voegele in which she rallied from a 5-2 third set deficit. Similar theatrics were provided by Kristina Barrois, who fought off two match points in the third set tie-break of her 62 36 76(8) win over lucky loser Stéphanie Foretz. Not to be outdone, Julia Goerges erased a 5-1 second set deficit in her 57 75 61 victory against qualifier Maria Elena Camerin.
A couple of seeds also had to tough out three-setters. No.3 seed Virginie Razzano was pushed in her 63 36 64 win over Chang Kai-Chen, and No.6 seed Sybille Bammer was a game away from losing, but broke serve while trailing 5-4 in the third set of her 26 64 75 win versus wildcard Pauline Parmentier.
Meanwhile, No.5 seed and three-time Strasbourg champ Anabel Medina Garrigues and No.7 seed Anastasija Sevastova had little trouble, losing a combined three games in their victories. No.8 seed Elena Baltacha faced more of a challenge against qualifier Sorana Cirstea, but came through, 63 75.
"That was the best I've ever felt on clay," Baltacha said. "I wasn't sure how I'd take the clay here, because it's very wet and slow, and to hit a winner you have to really pelt it. My coach told me before the match to play like I was on a hardcourt and that's what I did - I really took it to her."
At No.63, Baltacha is the highest-ranked Brit on Tour and is playing the best she has in her 14-year career, having reached her first Tour quarterfinal earlier this year in Memphis.
"I think that's the biggest thing I'm learning: I am who I am as a tennis player," Baltacha said. "Today I played my way and made my game work to my advantage because I'm a good enough player to do that. That's an important lesson for Roland Garros."