BUDAPEST, Hungary - Top-seeded Czech Lucie Safarova and second-seeded Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet were eliminated in the first round of the Hungarian Grand Prix on Tuesday, a day that brought back memories of this event in 1999.
Valeria Solovyeva fought off all nine break points against her in routing World No.29 Safarova, 61 60, for her third WTA main draw match win, her first this year and her biggest win by far in terms of ranking.
"I'm very excited," Solovyeva said. "I came out and fought for every point and used the tactics I've been working on with my coach, and it worked out. I'm so happy to get through against such a tough player like Safarova."
The only other time in Budapest's 18-year history that the tournament's No.1 seed lost in the first round was also the only other time the No.1 seed was Czech, in that case Jana Novotna in 1999. In a further coincidence, that year No.2 seed Henrieta Nagyova also went down in the first round.
Another Czech fared much better on Tuesday, as Andrea Hlavackova recorded just her third WTA main draw match win of the year in disposing of Cornet, 64 62. Cornet was the lone previous Budapest champion in this year's field, having won her maiden WTA title here in 2008.
"I'm feeling great," Hlavackova said. "When I arrived in Budapest and saw my draw, I was not very happy because Alizé has been playing very consistent lately. I tried to play with nothing to lose and to enjoy it.
"I was playing my game, which is trying to stay aggressive regardless of the score. I worked on a couple things since Wimbledon and they started to show up on the court, especially mentally, so I'm very happy they worked and I'm going to keep on continuing with that."
Hlavackova is seeded first in doubles this week alongside Lucie Hradecka.
"I can't wait to play doubles," Hlavackova said. "It's going to be a lot of fun. It's nice that it's only eight teams in the draw, which will make it a bit easier if we play well."
"I'm really happy to play in front of the home crowd," Babos said. "I started a little nervous in the second set, but I'm pleased I came back and won the third."
The only other Hungarian left in the draw, Agnes Bukta, is among those in second round action Wednesday. She will look to continue the trend of upsets against the new on-paper favorite, third-seeded Romanian Simona Halep.