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Lisicki Makes Winning Return To Charleston

In her first Family Circle Cup match since winning it in 2009, Sabine Lisicki toughed it out.

Published April 05, 2011 12:00

Lisicki Makes Winning Return To Charleston
Sabine Lisicki

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - Two years ago, a 19-year-old Sabine Lisicki had a dream run to her first WTA title at the Family Circle Cup, beating the likes of Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki along the way. She had to miss her title defense last year due to a left ankle injury, but on Tuesday, in her first match back in Charleston, she was able to keep that winning streak going.

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Lisicki, who reached a career-high No.22 later that year but is now down at No.182 due to her injury-marred 2010, got by Renata Voracova on Stadium court, winning nine of 12 games from 36 33 to beat the Czech, 36 64 62.

After the match, she was asked how it felt to be back here. "Amazing. I came a couple of days ago and practiced on the center court, and all the memories came back right away. It was so amazing, and to have so many people here, especially after this terrible morning with lots of rain and chilly weather."

The German, now 21, recapped the struggles she overcame last year. "I twisted my ankle at Indian Wells, and after that I tried to come back but the injury was too bad, and I was on crutches for six weeks. I basically had to learn to walk again. The whole process was so, so hard. I never went through something like that. That's why this match means so much to me, after all I went through."

Lisicki's Yorkshire Terrier, Happy, has also been around the grounds, as the German has been leaving him with the doggie daycare. "The ladies are taking good care of him," she said. "I love Happy, and he definitely is a happy dog. It's great to have both my parents and my dog here, so the entire family is here."

Other first round winners included No.9 seed Maria Kirilenko, No.10 seed Daniela Hantuchova and No.15 seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, who saved a match point down 6-5 in the third set tie-break and beat Andrea Hlavackova, 62 26 76(6). Jelena Dokic and Melanie Oudin were beaten.

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The second round also kicked off, with No.8 seed Alisa Kleybanova being the first Top 8 seed to lose, falling to Christina McHale, 61 60. No.6 seed Yanina Wickmayer, No.11 seed Peng Shuai and No.12 seed Julia Goerges were among the winners, with Goerges having by far the most dramatic win, rallying from 16 15 and saving five match points at 16 25 before ultimately scoring a 16 75 20 victory when Eva Birnerova had to retire with a right ankle injury.

In a chilly night match, No.5 seed Shahar Peer beat Sofia Arvidsson, 61 63. "I knew what the forecast was, so I was ready," the Israeli said. "Sometimes as tennis players we go four seasons in one day, so we have to adjust. It wasn't as warm as I would have liked it to be but that's part of it. At least we had no wind."

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