Errani & Kvitova Bounced In Brisbane
Published January 01, 2013 12:00
Pavlyuchenkova and Hantuchova had somewhat tough 2012 seasons, starting inside the Top 20 but - after struggling with injury and somewhat inconsistent results - finishing in the 30s. But as the page turned to 2013 and this $1,000,000, Premier-level event, the form they showed was the form of old.
Pavlyuchenkova scored the first upset of the day, holding off No.6 seed Petra Kvitova, 64 75.
"It's an amazing start to the year for me," Pavlyuchenkova said. "We had played six or seven times in the past and there wasn't usually much between us - it was always very tough matches, never easy. So today I was ready. I'm really happy to have pulled through - it's a new year, and a new me."
So what did the young Russian do in the off-season to turn her form around so quickly?
"Everything was really tough last year, but I think I got a lot of experience through it all, and recognized I had a lot of things to work on," she said. "I worked on everything in the off-season - my serve got much better, my movement, just a lot of physical and mental things. But I'm not going to say it's all perfect now. I still have a lot to improve. Of course it's nice to see it's already paying off a little bit."
Hantuchova followed with a two-hour, 25-minute, 46 61 75 win over No.5 seed Sara Errani, though the upset tag may not be entirely accurate given their head-to-head - Hantuchova had won four of their six previous meetings. The Slovak was also a finalist here last year, falling to Kaia Kanepi.
"I love playing here in Brisbane," Hantuchova said. "I made the final here last year, so I want to do well again and am just focusing on each round and match by match. It was a long, tough match with Sara today - we had a lot of long rallies and I just kept going for my shots. Fortunately it worked for me."
Another seed to fall was No.2 seed Maria Sharapova, but it happened off court - the World No.2, who was scheduled to play Jarmila Gajdosova in her second round match on Wednesday, was forced to pull out of the tournament with a right collarbone injury. "This started maybe 10 days ago," she said. "I had a bit of an inflammation in my collarbone and the doctor told me I couldn't do overhead training for about a week - that week ended on Monday. So I haven't had a chance to hit any serves or anything over my head. I've just been practicing groundstrokes. Unfortunately I kind of ran out of time here."
The other day session result saw Kazakh qualifier Ksenia Pervak follow up her first round upset over No.8 seed Caroline Wozniacki with a 36 62 76(6) win over Urszula Radwanska. Pervak saved four match points in the third set - three in a row serving 4-5, 0-40, then one more at 5-6 in the tie-break.