Strong Start For Tsvetana
Published July 27, 2010 12:00
ISTANBUL, Turkey - The seeds met with mixed fortunes on the second day of the $220,000 Istanbul Cup: Francesca Schiavone and Tsvetana Pironkova won without incident, but Petra Kvitova, Klara Zakopalova and Patty Schnyder all wilted in the heat and humidity.
When top seed Schiavone's first round match against Anne Keothavong was abandoned on Monday night due to rain, the Italian was in the driver's seat at 4-0. Although Keothavong was quick to make the scoreboard upon the resumption, also breaking Schiavone's serve for good measure, the French Open champion wrapped up the opener and for the most part kept the momentum for a 62 62 victory.
"I've had time to recover physically from Roland Garros and now I feel more powerful," said Schiavone. "I lost my focus for ten seconds towards the end and she played well and won a couple of games in a row. But I ran and attacked when I had the chance and managed to close it out."
Pironkova, the No.5 seed from Bulgaria, was also efficient against Tatjana Malek, edging a close opener and growing in assurance for a 76(4) 62 win.
"I love to come back to Istanbul, it's my sixth year here," said the Wimbledon semifinalist. "It's very close to home, only four hours' drive. My chances? I don't know, I want to take it match by match. I don't want to expect too much."
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The other Wimbledon semifinalist in the draw, No.2 seed Kvitova, has now lost both first round matches played since falling to Serena Williams at The Championships. Last week at Portoroz, where she was also the No.2 seed, the Czech lefty was beaten by Stefanie Voegele; today her conqueror was in-form Anastasija Sevastova, who has been to two quarterfinals in recent weeks. Sevastova prevailed, 62 06 64.
Kvitova's compatriot, No.7 seed Klara Zakopalova, also suffered her second consecutive first round defeat as a seed, falling 57 62 63 by Anna Lapushchenkova. And in the last singles match of the day, surging Swede Johanna Larsson ousted eighth-seeded Patty Schnyder, 64 62.
But Russian teenager Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, seeded No.3, blitzed Marta Domachowska in 55 minutes, 61 60. Pavlyuchenkova lost her serve once but broke the Polish qualifier six times. Sorana Cirstea, Elena Vesnina, Magdalena Rybarikova, Ekaterina Makarova, Jarmila Groth and Anastasia Rodionova also all won in straight sets.
British No.1 Elena Baltacha advanced as well, although the world No.59 was tested by wildcard Cagla Buyukakcay, who is currently ranked No.196.
The 20-year-old Turk went up a break three times in the opening set, only to see Baltacha claw her way back. The Brit then served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but was pushed to a tie-break before eventually winning, 75 76(4).
"You never know what to expect with a wild card," said Baltacha, who faces Schiavone in the second round. "They're going to go in without anything to lose and play higher than their ranking. She's very talented and I had to work very hard for it today."