World No.1 Too Tough, Mattek-Sands Too
Published June 09, 2011 12:00
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Three days after passing Venus Williams to become the No.2-ranked American in the world, Bethanie Mattek-Sands showed her mettle at the e-Boks Sony Ericsson Open on Thursday, battling until the bitter end to beat Swedish No.1 Johanna Larsson and move into the quarterfinals of the International-level event in the Danish capital.
Mattek-Sands, who now trails only Serena Williams on the US rankings, lost a marathon 57-minute first set to Larsson but rebounded in a big way, taking the second set at love and building a 4-2 third set lead. Larsson got back on serve and pushed the deciding set to a tie-break but ultimately fell, 67(1) 60 76(5).
"It's kind of a tough score to look at, but it was a well-fought match," Mattek-Sands said. "Johanna came out great, serving big - I think she hit 202kph, which is huge. She's not much bigger than me. But I served well too, and in the end it came down to a couple of shots. I stayed with my game and it paid off."
"It was really small margins today," commented Larsson, a two-time semifinalist on the WTA this year. "It came down to a few important points."
Other winners during the day session were No.4 seed Lucie Safarova, who won a two-hour, 27-minute duel with Michaella Krajicek, 67(4) 64 62, and China's Zhang Shuai, who lost the second set and rallied from a break down in the third set to beat Kazakh qualifier Galina Voskoboeva, 63 26 63.
"I've known Misa since I was 11 years old. She's my good friend and it's always tough to play your friends," Safarova said. "I had some chances in the first set but didn't use them, but then I improved as the match went on. Because she's my friend I had to play with no emotions to do well, and I'm happy I won."
At night, the No.1-ranked player in the world battled hard to snap up the last quarterfinal berth, as Caroline Wozniacki rallied from 5-2 down in the first set and a break down in the second set to beat Angelique Kerber, 76(4) 63. Kerber found herself at set point twice in the first set - once at 5-2, once at 5-4 - but couldn't close out Wozniacki, who improved to 7-0 lifetime at this event.