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Tamira Tested, Daniela Too

Defending champion Tamira Paszek and top seed Daniela Hantuchova survived three setters in the first round of the Bell Challenge.

Published September 13, 2011 11:57

Tamira Tested, Daniela Too
Tamira Paszek
QUÉBEC CITY, Canada - Top seed Daniela Hantuchova and defending champion Tamira Paszek, seeded third, survived rollercoaster openers at the Bell Challenge on Tuesday. However, the $220,000 indoor tournament's No.2 seed, Lucie Safarova, cruised, as did former Canadian No.1 Aleksandra Wozniak, who is playing on a wildcard.

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Hantuchova's opponent was 18-year-old Croat Ajla Tomljanovic, who kept the Slovak veteran on court for almost two hours before succumbing, 60 26 64.

"She's a talented girl - I was expecting a tough match and was surprised how easy the first set went," said Hantuchova. "Then I lost my serve right away in the second, and she started to play more freely. But it's good to have a tough match at the beginning of a tournament… a little wake-up call. I'm here to do well, so I know I'll have to play very well."

Likewise, Paszek breezed through the first set of her match against American qualifier Ashley Weinhold, before being forced to deal with a momentum shift. Later, the 20-year-old Austrian admitted she was still feeling her way back after an abdominal injury sustained at Wimbledon, where she reached the quarterfinals. Since then she had played just one match, at the US Open.

"I started really well, served well and played aggressively - I played my game, and that was the most important thing," she said after her 60 46 62 win. "In the second set I just didn't feel 100 percent… I felt a bit weird on court. I gave her the chances to step in and dominate the points.

"I tried to play clever in the third set, tried to start focusing on my shots again," Paszek added. "And I tried to play aggressive and keep hanging in there - it was as tough as it looked!"

Three other seeds were in action on Tuesday, including Safarova, who beat Jill Craybas, 62 61. Later, the 2009 runner-up revealed a particular affection for the event. "This is the third year I've come here with my sister Veronika, who played for UCLA. So you could say it's 'our' tournament. The people here are very friendly, so everything together makes it special."

Fifth-seeded Sofia Arvidsson, singles runner-up in 2005 and doubles champion last year, was stretched by Russian qualifier Elena Bovina, the 2002 champion here, 26 61 62. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, seeded sixth, beat Zhang Shuai in straight sets but No.8 seed Anna Tatishvili was beaten by French qualifier Julie Coin, 57 64 64.

Other first round winners included Mirjana Lucic, Marina ErakovicVarvara Lepchenko - who dropped the middle set against Canadian wildcard Eugénie Bouchard - and Andrea Hlavackova, who beat Melanie Oudin for the loss of four games. 

Wozniak defeated US qualifier Gail Brodsky, 62 61. With the win, the 24-year-old world No.123 set a marquee first professional meeting on Wednesday night with current national No.1 Rebecca Marino.

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