Lalami: Morocco's First WTA Quarterfinalist

Nadia Lalami became the first Moroccan to reach a quarterfinal by beating Aravane Rezai in Fès on Wednesday.

Published April 20, 2011 09:03

Lalami: Morocco's First WTA Quarterfinalist
Nadia Lalami

FÈS, Morocco - Nadia Lalami had played four career WTA matches before this week, with all four of them first round losses here at the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem. Now, not only does she have two wins under her belt but she has made some history too. Lalami, who turns 21 next week, became the first Moroccan to reach the quarterfinals of a WTA event by upending No.1 seed Aravane Rezai on Wednesday, but it was far from easy.

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After dropping the first set, Lalami raced out to a 5-1 second set lead, but almost let it get away from her, eventually winning it in a tie-break. She again jumped on top early in the third set, taking a 5-2 lead, and again got in some trouble, as she lost two games in a row and was down, 0-30 on her serve, at 5-4. From there, though, she won four straight points to close out the 26 76(5) 64 victory and set up a showdown with Kirsten Flipkens. Also advancing to the quarters were fourth-seeded Greta Arn and seventh-seeded Simona Halep.

The first round was also completed Wednesday, with a couple of notable results. Melanie Oudin snapped a four match losing streak with a 46 61 62 defeat of No.3 seed Lourdes Domínguez Lino. The 19-year-old American's second round opponent, Polona Hercog, had a match point against her at 4-5 in the second set of her 67(6) 76(1) 62 triumph over Chanelle Scheepers. It was Hercog's first win in three career matches with Scheepers, having just lost to the South African in the first round of Miami last month.

Among Thursday's intriguing matches is eighth-seeded Alizé Cornet against Dinara Safina, who is hardly an underdog, having won seven of her last 10 matches and both of her career clashes with the Frenchwoman.

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