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Big Win For Marino In Luxembourg

Tightly contested openers were the order of the day at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open on Tuesday.

Published October 18, 2011 06:56

Big Win For Marino In Luxembourg
Rebecca Marino

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Two seeds tumbled out of the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open on Tuesday. Both Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daniela Hantuchova won the opening sets of their respective first round matches but were destined to fall in three.

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Eighth-seeded Hantuchova was the first to go, falling to lucky loser Lucie Hradecka, 67(3) 75 61. For two sets at least, both players were fierce on serve: Hantuchova held two sets points on Hradecka's delivery at 5-4 in the first set, but needed a tie-break to close it out; the first break of serve didn't come until the end of the second set, when Hradecka drew level.

Thereafter the Czech player kept the momentum as she broke her Slovak opponent twice more on her way to victory - a surge that included winning the last 15 points of the match.

"Whenever I had a chance, Lucie put in a huge first serve," said Hantuchova. "She has a big game and the indoor conditions suit her, so I felt like I was doing well just holding my serves because she had the confidence to keep me under pressure. The first two sets could have gone either way, but in the third set I got a little frustrated. She was just the better player."

For her part, No.2 seed Pavlyuchenkova appeared to be on cruise control against 62nd-ranked Rebecca Marino, winning eight of the first nine games for a 2-0 lead in the second set. But after back-to-back aces helped the big-serving Canadian to pull level, she went on to seal the set by breaking the Russian to love. World No.15 Pavlyuchenkova rallied for a 3-0 lead in the decider but Marino went on a six-game tear to secure the win, 16 63 63.

Another player left to rue her chances was Italian qualifier Karin Knapp, who led Monica Niculescu by a set and 4-1, with two breaks, and held two match points on serve at 5-4.

The opportunity missed, Knapp soon found herself down 5-2 in the decider but caught up and broke for 6-5. However, the pendulum swung in the Romanian's favor when it counted: she broke back and emerged victorious from the ensuing tie-break, 67(2) 75 76(3).

Alberta Brianti and qualifier Anne Keothavong also registered three set wins: Brianti beat Anna Tatishvili, while Keothavong dashed the hopes of local wildcard Mandy Minella, 63 16 63. But sixth seed Julia Goerges was too strong for Elena Baltacha, 75 61, and Romanian qualifier Alexandra Cadantu was also a straight-sets winner over Anastasiya Yakimova.

Top seed Victoria Azarenka plays her opener on Wednesday against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Ana Ivanovic faces Virginie Razzano, while Goerges tackles Tamira Paszek.

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