ACAPULCO, Mexico - No.3 seed Daria Gavrilova had to come back from a set down against the tricky Madison Brengle to make a winning start to the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.
After facing major struggles on her serve - and finishing the match with double digit double faults - Gavrilova was able to turn things around to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 after a topsy-turvy two hours and 21 minutes.
She’ll face the winner between Kristyna Pliskova and Mexican wildcard Renata Zarazua in the second round.
“It was so hot, especially in the first set, but I looked at the weather forecast and so I knew it that after an hour or so the weather would drop down,” Gavrilova said in her post-match interview.
“So I was just trying to hang in there for the first set and trying to be really tough battling it out. And when the weather went down I felt much better.”
The serve made the difference in Gavrilova’s lackluster opening set; she could hardly find a second serve and was broken four times by the American, who pounced on every weak delivery. Despite recovering from a 1-4 deficit, Gavrilova couldn’t keep her opponent under pressure as Brengle took the opening set.
Gavrilova showed more fight in the second set, getting ahead an early break and defending the lead to level the match at one set apiece. She carried the momentum into the final set, getting the first break at 3-2. Brengle had points to make it 4-4 as Gavrilova’s service woes reared their head again - the Australian struck her eleventh double fault of the match at game point - but couldn’t convert. Though Brengle saved two match points a game later with a pair of powerful first serves, a double fault of her own handed Gavrilova a third and the Aussie took it with glee, making her way into the second round.
“My serve wasn’t really working today in the first set, but I was hurting her with my forehand,” Gavrilova said. “I was trying to get it high, and thankfully the court is bouncy here so it helps.”
Also in action, defending champion Lesia Tsurenko made a winning start to her 2018 campaign, knocking out Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-1. She’ll face Arina Rodionova, who advanced into the second round after Kateryna Kozlova was forced to retire from the match trailing, 6-2, 1-0.
Meanwhile, No.5 seed Irina-Camelia Begu sets up a match against Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg. Both players had to come back from a set down, with Begu winning 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 against Christina McHale and Cepede Royg delighting fans with her 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-3 comeback against Belinda Bencic.