Paszek Lifts Her Game, Takes Wozniacki Out

Tamira Paszek saved two match points with backhand winners and outlasted the World No.7.

Published June 27, 2012 12:00

Paszek Lifts Her Game, Takes Wozniacki Out
Tamira Paszek

LONDON, England - After her surprise run to her first Premier-level title at Eastbourne last week, many were pointing to her first round at Wimbledon as an upset alert - and it happened. Tamira Paszek fought back from two match points down to beat No.7 seed Caroline Wozniacki in a thriller, 57 76(4) 64.

Paszek had somewhat of a career revival at Eastbourne last week. With a 2-13 record on the season going in, the 21-year-old Austrian reeled off five matches in a row to win her third and biggest title, pulling off some miracle wins in the last two rounds, rallying from 64 40 down to beat Marion Bartoli in the semifinals and saving five match points to make it past Angelique Kerber in the final.

Against the World No.7, Paszek was always the aggressor, her sharp forehands and massive backhands putting her completely in the driver's seat during the match. She had a chance to take the first set - with a huge forehand down the line she set up set point at 5-4, but missed the follow-up forehand. Wozniacki ended up taking the set and, up 75 65, brought up double match point.

That's when the Paszek backhand really came alive - she hit winners on both.

"I had one match point where I didn't hit bad shots and she twice hit the line," Wozniacki said. "It's all about doing the right things at the right time.

"Winning Eastbourne, she believed in herself. She went for it, and that's it."

After winning the second set in a tie-break Paszek again fought back from behind in the third, losing the first two games but rallying for the victory.

"There are some matches it's really great to win, but also really suck to lose," Wozniacki said afterwards. "And this one especially after having two match points and not taking them, it's not a nice feeling. It was a good match and good tennis, but that doesn't really help me. I still lost in the first round today.

"No one will remember how great a match it was, they'll remember who won."

It was only Wozniacki's second time ever losing in the first round of a Grand Slam - her first one came in her Grand Slam debut at the 2007 French Open.

Paszek, on the other hand, scored her third Top 10 win in as many matches, and now has five total - she had previous wins over Ana Ivanovic and Francesca Schiavone. The win over Schiavone came last year here, which indicates something of a love for grass - four of her five Top 10 wins are on it.

Paszek recently started with a new coach, former ATP player Andrei Pavel. "It's been working great," the Austrian said. "We couldn't start working until before the French Open, then we worked continuously for four weeks. We have both been working hard, trying our best, and things have really started to fit together.

"Andrei's an amazing guy, very calm on the court and so positive. He kept me going in the last few weeks when I was very down and depressed because I wasn't playing well. It's been great, and it's definitely a long term process."

Eight other first round matches that were pushed from Tuesday's schedule due to rain were also completed. Seeds moving on were Sara Errani, Ana Ivanovic and Julia Goerges; joining Wozniacki on the sidelines was No.13 seed Dominika Cibulkova, who lost to Czech veteran Klara Zakopalova, 64 61.

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