Bartoli Outlasts King, Chan's Ninth & Biggest

Marion Bartoli rallied from 4-2 down in the third to escape defeat at the Mercury Insurance Open.

Published July 18, 2012 12:00

Bartoli Outlasts King, Chan's Ninth & Biggest
Vania King, Marion Bartoli

CARLSBAD, CA, USA - The Mercury Insurance Open's top seed was nearly sent home in her opening match on Wednesday evening, as Marion Bartoli fought back from a hefty third set deficit to fend off an inspired Vania King.

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The No.10-ranked Bartoli seemed headed for a routine straight set victory as she built a 64 30 lead, even holding a point for 64 40 - but King wasn't finished, reeling off 11 of the next 15 games to snatch the second set and build a 4-2 third set lead. She even had point for 5-2 in the third - but Bartoli hung on, and after three hours and 10 minutes finally sealed a 64 57 64 victory.

"I think it was a great fight from both of us and we tried our best," Bartoli said. "I had so many chances in the second set when I was leading 3-0. I think I had 30-40 on Vania's serve to get to 4-0. Then when she won that second set, I really felt it was going to be a tough battle towards the end. I think the key game was at 4-2 down when I held from 15-40. After that I had my rhythm back.

"But the game at 4-all took forever. I think I served for 10 minutes in a row or something like that. It was really a tough, physical battle out there.

"I've lost to Vania in the past, and I think it was a great effort to still be able to win the match tonight after three hours of play with 18 double faults."

King was after her second Top 10 win, her first coming against none other than Bartoli at Seoul last fall, when the Frenchwoman was also ranked No.10.

The other two seeds in action had mixed results, with No.4-seeded Nadia Petrova holding all nine of her service games en route to a 64 63 victory over American qualifier Alexa Glatch, but No.8-seeded Chanelle Scheepers falling in straight sets to another American, Varvara Lepchenko, 64 62.

Lepchenko converted three of four break point chances and never faced one herself. "I just tried to stay extremely focused out there," Lepchenko said afterwards. "I don't remember exactly what happened on the break points, but I didn't really think that much. That's probably why it made a difference."

This is Lepchenko's third WTA quarterfinal of the year, and second at the Premier level (after Madrid). Coming into 2012 she had one WTA quarterfinal to her name, at the International-level event in Ponte Vedra Beach in 2010.

"Obviously the confidence is growing," said Lepchenko, who is coming off a fourth round showing at the French Open and the third round of Wimbledon. "I'm trying to prove I can play on all surfaces. A lot of people put me into certain surfaces - but I feel like I can play on all of them, and I've been showing it."

In the only other match of the day, Taiwanese qualifier Chan Yung-Jan managed to close out British No.1 Heather Watson, 63 76(2), putting her in the ninth WTA quarterfinal of her career - and very first at the Premier level.

"Today was a difficult match because both of us are really solid, especially at the end," Chan said. "It was very warm today and it was difficult physically, but I tried to beat her mentally at the end and close it out, and I did it.

"It has been tough this week. I came late so I had to play two qualifying matches in a row on Sunday, and in the first qualifying match my opponent was leading 4-0 in the final set too - but I came back, and I think that's the biggest difference for me here this week. I think that's why I feel so confident now.

"Last year I had surgery and this is my best result since then, so it means a lot to me. I'm really happy to be in the quarterfinals here in Carlsbad."

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