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Razzano Rises Again In Strasbourg

Almost exactly a year after stunning Serena Williams at Roland Garros, Virginie Razzano pulled off another big upset on another center court on home turf at the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

Published May 21, 2013 12:01

Razzano Rises Again In Strasbourg
Virginie Razzano

STRASBOURG, France - Serena Williams has been the best player in the world since last April, winning almost all of the biggest tournaments, putting together an 84-4 record, and getting back to No.1 in the world this year. Many consider the American's first round loss at Roland Garros as the springboard for all of it - and the woman who pulled that off seems to be resurfacing at the right time.

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Virginie Razzano, who beat Williams in a dramatic match on Court Philippe Chatrier 51 weeks ago, pulled off another surprise at the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Tuesday, blasting seven aces and needing just 65 minutes to beat No.2 seed Tamira Paszek in straight sets the first round, 61 64.

Razzano, a former World No.16, has fallen on hard times the last few years, not only suffering a slew of injuries, but also losing her coach and fiancé, Stéphane Vidal, in 2011. Coming into this week she hadn't won a WTA main draw match since October, but the win over Paszek - and the many Top 10 wins she has had over the years, including Williams last year - prove she is always a big threat.

And that wasn't the only big upset - Marion Bartoli, the No.1 seed, fell to Camila Giorgi, 63 62.

"At the beginning of the match I was nervous, but then everything was going in and my confidence went up," Giorgi said after the match. "Everything was working for me today, it was great - I will try to keep playing like I did today, playing my game and being as consistent as possible out there."

It is the first time in the 27-year history of the tournament that the Top 2 seeds fell first round.

There were more upsets, with No.6 seed Christina McHale falling to fellow American Lauren Davis, 75 63, and No.8 seed Daniela Hantuchova falling to María-Teresa Torró-Flor in a marathon, 63 46 76(4).

The other four seeds in action - No.3 seed Alizé Cornet, No.4 seed Hsieh Su-Wei, No.5 seed Monica Niculescu and No.7 seed Chanelle Scheepers - all made it safely past their first round opponents.

Cornet never really looked in trouble in her 63 62 win over fellow Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson.

"It was a weird match with Mathilde because we know each other very well and we were both a little bit nervous at the beginning of the match, even the whole match," Cornet said. "I'm happy I got through this match in two sets, but I will have to work on some things to be more ready for tomorrow."

Cornet, the French No.2 behind Bartoli, isn't just the highest seed left in the tournament now, she is also a returning finalist this year, having fallen in last year's final to Francesca Schiavone.

"I have very good memories of this tournament from last year," she said. "It was such an amazing week. I hope to do the same this year. That's why I was a bit tight at the beginning today, because I want to do well and go as far as I can. Now that I have one match behind me, I feel much better."

Hsieh had the most dramatic win of the day, rallying from a set and 5-3 down - and saving two match points in the next game - to beat German teenager Annika Beck in a runaway third set, 67(6) 75 61.

Johanna Larsson, Anna Tatishvili, Misaki Doi, Eugenie Bouchard, Lucie Hradecka and qualifiers Flavia Pennetta, Magda Linette and Shelby Rogers also advanced as the entire first round took the courts. Tatishvili had it particularly tough, rallying from a set and a break down and watching 18 aces fly past her to beat the French wildcard, 67(4) 75 64; elsewhere, Larsson rallied past Petra Cetkovska, 62 26 63, in Cetkovska's first match of the year after missing the first four and a half months with a foot injury.

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