No Letdown For Pironkova
Published July 12, 2010 12:00
PALERMO, Italy - Two of Wimbledon's breakthrough stars made winning beginnings in Palermo on Monday as Tsvetana Pironkova and Kaia Kanepi won their opening matches at the clay court stop in straight sets.
Kanepi, who reached the quarterfinals at the All-England Club and is the No.5 seed this week, was down an early break in both sets but fought her way past Rossana de los Ríos in an hour and 50 minutes, 75 64.
Pironkova, a semifinalist at Wimbledon and the No.4 seed here, followed Kanepi into the second round with a 64 76(4) win over Italian wildcard Anna Floris. Pironkova was leading 64 52 when Floris caught up; it was to no avail.
"At the beginning of the match I had a little injury, but after a medical timeout I felt better," said Pironkova, who was treated for a rib injury. "In the second set I was very aggressive and played good tennis. I was particularly happy with my forehand. I'm happy to win today and hope I'll play a good tournament."
Kanepi upset Sam Stosur en route to the second Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career a few weeks ago, having been to the final eight at the French Open two years ago. She very nearly reached her first major semifinal as well, holding five match points against Petra Kvitova before falling 8-6 in the third set.
Pironkova had never been beyond the second round of a major in her first 18 tries, but in her 19th at Wimbledon this year she made it all the way to the semis, upsetting Marion Bartoli and Venus Williams along the way.
Mariana Duque Marino and Jill Craybas also scored first round wins. Duque Marino, who won her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title at Bogotá earlier this year, beat Zuzana Kucova, 64 60; Craybas saved four set points in a marathon first set tie-break and eventually edged Akgul Amanmuradova, 76(10) 75.