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Minella Makes Winning Start In Baku

No.3 seed Mandy Minella defeated qualifier Wang Qiang to reach the second round of the Baku Cup.

Published July 23, 2012 07:21

Minella Makes Winning Start In Baku
Mandy Minella
BAKU, Azerbaijan - Mandy Minella was given a real scare on the opening day of the Baku Cup before eventually overcoming qualifier Wang Qiang in a first round marathon.

Wang, who was competing in her first WTA main draw event, made a mockery of her ranking of No.259, pushing No.3 seed Minella all the way in a match which lasted for nearly two and three-quarter hours.

After a torrid start, in which she dropped the opening four games, the Chinese qualifier eventually settled and when she snatched the second to level the match a shock seemed on the cards. However, a knee injury at the start of the decider stalled her momentum and Minella capitalized to secure an early double break before eventually closing out for a 62 57 63 win.

While Minella managed to dodge a first round upset, her fellow seed, Andrea Hlavackova, was less fortunate against another qualifier, Aleksandra Krunic.

Fresh from a recent tournament victory on the ITF circuit, Krunic came racing out of the blocks, easing through the opening set and establishing a 5-2 lead in the second. Somehow, though, Hlavackova clawed it back, saving a match point at 5-4 and another five in the tie-break before forcing a decider.

Krunic was not to be denied, though, and despite another late wobble eventually closed it out, 61 67(11) 64.

Similarly dramatic was Valeria Solovieva's triumph over Olga Savchuk, with the Russian qualifier saving two match points before prevailing, 16 63 76(1), in three hours and six minutes. Also progressing were Alla Kudryavtseva and Tamarine Tanasugarn who defeated wildcards Kamilla Farhad and Varvara Flink.

Meanwhile, in the doubles competition, top seeds Nina Bratchikova and Alexandra Panova advanced courtesy of a straight set win over Marta Domachowska and Minella.
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