Lisicki Serves Notice, Stosur Advances Too
Published April 19, 2011 12:00
STUTTGART, Germany - Germany's Sabine Lisicki served notice she is on her way back up the world rankings on Tuesday, beating Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets in their first round, 75 76(2), firing a whopping 14 aces too.
Lisicki, who went as high as No.22 in 2009 but is now ranked No.155 after an ankle injury-marred 2010, has been showing some strong results again the last few tournaments, reaching the third round of Miami and Charleston. On Tuesday she was sharp again against the No.27-ranked Cibulkova, battling for over two hours and hitting just four double faults to the aforementioned 14 aces.
Also moving on was No.5 seed Samantha Stosur, who broke away from 5-all in the first set with seven straight games to make it 75 50 and then closed María José Martínez Sánchez out two games later for a 75 61 victory.
"It's always nice to come back to tournaments where you've done well in the past," said Stosur, who was a runner-up to the now-retired Justine Henin here last year. "It reminds me of how good I felt playing here last year, and of course making the final is something I can look back on with good memories."
Stosur was one of the best players on clay last year, winning 20 of 23 matches on the surface. This year she began with an early loss in Charleston but here she looks like she's back on track. "I'm very happy to be back on the red clay," the Australian said. "Last year the clay season was the best few months of my career, so to get back on the surface I had that success is a good thing.
"The goal for me at the moment is to be playing well in matches. I haven't had the best year so far; I'd like to turn that around leading up to Roland Garros."
Next up for Stosur is Daniela Hantuchova, who rallied from a break down in both sets to beat Alexandra Dulgheru, 75 63. Stosur leads Hantuchova in their head-to-head series, 4-1, and has won their last four meetings, but all four of those have been close, their last meeting's scoreline being 63 36 64.
Other winners during the day session were Agnieszka Radwanska, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Julia Goerges and lucky loser Zuzana Kucova, who won when Anna Chakvetadze had to retire at 4-all in the third set due to dizziness.
"I started the match feeling fine but I knew it was coming," Chakvetadze said afterwards. "It was the same feeling as the last two times. I don't really have anything more to update at the moment. I saw the doctors at home before the tournament and they told me everything would be okay, which is why I decided to play here. But now it's the third tournament in a row I have had to retire with this problem. It seems the doctors don't have all the answers yet so I have been told to rest and we will see what happens. Hopefully we will find a solution."
Two of the tournament's most marquee names took the court at night, first Andrea Petkovic and second Jelena Jankovic. Petkovic, Germany's No.1 player, dropped the first set and was down 2-0 in the third set but managed to get past Tamira Paszek, 36 62 62. Jankovic, formerly No.1 in the world and the No.7 seed this week, beat Beatriz García Vidagany handily, 61 62.
In her first WTA event as a Top 20 player, Petkovic was thrilled to win: "After all the pressure from the German media and the German people during the Fed Cup weekend, I almost forgot to focus on the next matches, so I'm really happy to win. As for the ranking, I feel the higher expectations from Germany, and also I hadn't been back here since I've been playing better. They've been waiting for something to happen. But the most important thing today was I pulled through."
Petkovic will play Jankovic next. "I think Jelena is even tougher on clay and I'm sure I'll have to run at least 10K to win," the charismatic German said. "With the adrenaline and everyone behind me, I'll recover for tomorrow somehow."