Cibulkova Survives, Beygelzimer's Big Win
Published April 12, 2012 12:00
BARCELONA, Spain - It was a tough day for everyone at the Barcelona Ladies Open on Thursday, with all five matches on the schedule going to three sets. But in the end there were five winners and they made the quarterfinals.
The first match on the schedule produced a breakthrough result for Ukrainian qualifier Yuliya Beygelzimer, who survived some tense moments late in the second set and early in the third but eventually scored a 62 67(5) 64 upset over No.5 seed Flavia Pennetta. Not only was her win over the No.24-ranked Italian her first win over a Top 30 player, but she is now into her first WTA quarterfinal.
The 28-year-old Beygelzimer is perhaps best known for her match against Jennifer Capriati in the first round of the 2004 French Open, where as a huge underdog she won the second set and pushed ahead 3-0 in the third before falling to the three-time Grand Slam winner and former World No.1, 62 46 64.
Beygelzimer's previous-best win came against then-No.33 Alicia Molik in 2003.
The other two seeds in action both survived, with No.2 seed Julia Goerges and No.3 seed Dominika Cibulkova grinding their matches out. Cibulkova was the first to advance, rallying from a break down in the second set and 4-2 down in the third set to make it past Czech veteran Klara Zakopalova, 57 64 64.
"I've had trouble winning those close matches this year, and I was down 4-2 in the third set today, so I'm really glad I made it," Cibulkova said. "I've been training on clay a week before the tournament and I'm feeling in good shape. I can still be much, much better, but I'm happy to be in the quarterfinals now, and I want to play a few more matches and see where I am with my form."
Cibulkova was one of several players who had the opportunity to meet some soccer players from FC Barcelona earlier in the week. "I'm really happy to have such activities before the tournament starts, because it makes me a little more relaxed," the Slovak said. "Before this week I was never a huge soccer fan but I've become one now. It was fun to meet these guys from Barcelona and I had my picture with Messi. It was exciting and it was a big thing in Slovakia!"
Goerges won later, fending off Spanish wildcard Garbiñe Muguruza Blanco, 75 57 62. Muguruza Blanco had a breakthrough result in her first WTA main draw in Miami recently, making it all the way to the fourth round - against Goerges she showed some sublime shotmaking but in the end may have been let down by her serve, hitting two aces but giving away 14 double faults.
"Garbiñe is a really talented player. She's very young with great skills, and she has all the makings to be a good player," Goerges said. "The great result at Miami is not a surprise and from now on we'll see her at this level I'm sure.
"It was a tough match today, not just physically hard, but mentally too. I was trying to stay focused on hitting deep and looking for angles to move her."
Goerges' own breakthrough stretch came in last year's clay season, where she won her first Premier title and had two wins over then-World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki. "I'm in the best moments of my career at the moment, and the start of the clay court season is really important to me," the German said. "My goal is to take it one match at a time and prepare my best for Roland Garros."
Other winners were Sorana Cirstea and Olga Govortsova. Govortsova had a 76(4) 67(6) 62 win over Laura Pous-Tio, regrouping after missing four match points in the second set. Govortsova had 14 double faults - but survived.
All four quarterfinal matches will take to the clay on Friday.