Bartoli's Quick Start In Québec
Published September 14, 2010 12:00
QUÉBEC CITY, Canada - Playing the Bell Challenge for the first time since winning it in 2006, Marion Bartoli made an exceptional start to the indoor stop, routing countrywoman Stéphanie Foretz Gacon in 58 minutes, 61 61.
World No.14 Bartoli, who double bageled Olga Puchkova in the final of this event four years ago, picked up right where she left off Tuesday night, breaking serve six times and winning twice as many points as Foretz Gacon.
"I was very happy with the way I played. I'm very satisfied with my level," Bartoli said. "I'm happy to be back in Québec. I feel at home here. I like the court and with the support I receive from the crowd, it's like playing at home in France."
The tournament's second marquee name wasn't as fortunate as Bartoli. World No.18 Aravane Rezai, the No.2 seed, squandered a 5-3 third set lead during a 63 36 76(3) loss to American veteran Jill Craybas. Craybas, who turned 36 in July, had lost her last seven matches against Top 20 players in straight sets.
"I fought as hard as I could," Rezai said. "It's not easy when you're seeded and play people with nothing to lose. I'm also lacking a little confidence. I wasn't aggressive enough and I was often on the back foot during the match."
"It's a great win. Aravane's a great competitor and I'm pleased how I competed and stayed in every point," Craybas commented afterwards. "I just tried to keep focusing on what I needed to do and pleased that I did that."
No.4 seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova was also sent home, beaten by Canada's own Valérie Tétreault, 63 36 62. "To get my first Top 50 win is another big step in my career, but I'm hoping to keep going further," Tétreault said. "I became a bit passive in the second set but the fans really got behind me. I'm really happy the way I played, especially as I had to work hard for each point."
In a bizarre scoreline, Mirjana Lucic - now 28 and coming back up the rankings - dropped the first set in 19 minutes but rallied to beat Sorana Cirstea, 06 61 61, winning the second set in 22 minutes and the third in 21 minutes. Lucic, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 1999, fired nine aces during the one hour duel.