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Anastasia & Andrea's Roman Mini-Comebacks

Two of the WTA's freshest Top 20 players came close to losing sets but wouldn't let anything go.

Published May 10, 2011 12:00

Anastasia & Andrea's Roman Mini-Comebacks
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

ROME, Italy - Andrea Petkovic and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, ranked No.15 and No.16 in the world, both pulled off mini-comebacks against some tricky opponents to reach the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

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Petkovic was the first of the two to advance, falling behind 3-1 and facing a point for 4-1 but rallying back to take the first set and eventually beating former Top 20 player Maria Kirilenko in straight sets on Pietrangeli court, 75 61.

"Maria is obviously a tough first round opponent. She changes the rhythm so well," Petkovic commented after the match. "Also, I hadn't played outdoors since Miami. Stuttgart is indoors and the two matches I played in Madrid were indoors because it was raining, so I needed time to get used to the conditions. I lost my first two or three service games because I was confused with the wind, but then I got back on track and was fine. In the end it was a solid match."

After reaching the semifinals of Madrid and the quarterfinals of Stuttgart, and subsequently breaking into the Top 15, Petkovic was upset in the second round of Madrid to Arantxa Parra Santonja. "I was very frustrated after my match in Madrid. I think I was still mentally tired after Fed Cup and all the hype in Stuttgart, so I played terribly. But I worked hard after that, I had a couple of really good practice sessions and practice days. Now I'm feeling good again."

Over on Court 1 later in the day, Pavlyuchenkova rallied from 4-1 down in the second set to beat Chanelle Scheepers, a tenacious player from South Africa who made it all the way to the fourth round of the French Open last year.

"I was thinking the set was gone, so I just relaxed and calmed down, and I think that turned into the right mentality," Pavlyuchenkova declared afterwards. "I started to focus on every point and kept on playing. It worked in the end."

Pavlyuchenkova is coming off a quarterfinal run in Madrid, where she took out the likes of Marion Bartoli and Sam Stosur. "I got a lot of confidence from Madrid, but I still have lots of things to work on. I don't have to stop."

Other winners on Day 2 included Lucie Safarova, Anastasia Rodionova and a trio of Italians: Sara Errani, Alberta Brianti and Romina Oprandi. Oprandi pulled off a 75 36 61 upset over No.14 seed Kaia Kanepi; Brianti, who won her first WTA title at age 31 last month in Fès, saved two set points in the second set to beat two-time Grand Slam semifinalist Zheng Jie, 64 75.

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