Larsson Going Strong, Top 2 Seeds Outdone
Published July 12, 2011 12:00
BAD GASTEIN, Austria - Showing drastic changes in conditions and the lack of luggage can't stop her, Johanna Larsson continued her stellar summer on Tuesday afternoon, upsetting No.2 seed Jarmila Gajdosova in straight sets in the first round of the NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies in Bad Gastein.
Fresh off her first WTA final of the year in Bastad, Larsson continued her solid clay court play against Gajdosova, as both players tried to find their range at the high-altitude event. Particularly shaky was Gajdosova's serve: 10 double faults.
"You can feel the balls are flying a little bit and we both struggled to get into the game," Larsson said. "She was making more errors than usual. My aim was just to put one more ball in and I got a lot of free points from her. It was difficult to play, but I just tried to be more solid than her and it worked in the end."
Although she fell to Polona Hercog in the Bastad final on Saturday, Larsson's run pushed her high up the rankings this week, from No.65 to No.46 - shattering her previous career-high of No.61 and cracking the Top 50 for the first time.
"I really like it here in Bad Gastein," the Swedish No.1 added. "In Bastad there were so many people, my family and friends everywhere, and now we're up in the mountains and it's so quiet. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week."
The No.1 seed, Julia Goerges, followed Gajdosova to the sidelines, dropping a 61 26 61 decision to Laura Pous-Tio. Goerges' only previous loss in Bad Gastein also came at the hands of Pous-Tio, in the qualifying in 2007.
Pous-Tio's win over the No.16-ranked Goerges was her second career Top 20 win. Her first came at Berlin in 2006, over then-No.17 Elena Likhovtseva.
Also going down were No.5 seed Lourdes Domínguez Lino and No.7 seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Domínguez Lino led 5-1 in the second set and held two set points at 6-5 but lost to Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, 60 76(5), while Zahlavova Strycova lost to Carla Suárez Navarro, 76(7) 62.
Suárez Navarro, a two-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist and formerly ranked as high as No.22, has fallen out of the Top 100 after missing almost four months due to an elbow injury. She has been playing in the minor leagues over the last several weeks but this is her first WTA main draw since Acapulco in February.
"After being out for months, to win today makes me really happy," the 22-year-old Suárez Navarro said. "I really like clay and all of these tournaments. I was out for a long time but I played really well today. My elbow sometimes gets a bit tight, but the physios do a very good job and every match is better and better."
No.8 seed Ksenia Pervak was the only seed to win, rallying from 2-5 to win the first set then cruising in the second set to defeat Alizé Cornet for a 76(3) 62 victory. The only other seed still alive is No.6 seed Simona Halep, who plays her first round match against Sybille Bammer on Wednesday.