MONTREAL, Canada - No.10 seed Julia Goerges was a few points away from crashing out of the Rogers Cup in the opening round, but she completed an emphatic comeback to see off Timea Babos in three sets, 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.
"I have to say, she played an amazing match," the German said after the match. "She didn't give me a lot of opportunities to come back, especially in the first set, where I didn't even have a break point. I just tried to hang in there, because I knew she already had some matches under her belt, which is always an advantage. I think I managed to fight and believe in my chances. I'm very glad I worked it out and got through to the second round."
The German came back from a set down to defeat Babos, 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 after a hard-fought two hours and 20 minutes on court, extending her 2018 tiebreak record to an impressive 12-2.
Goerges came into the match with 318 aces under her belt, and her big serves helped bail her out of trouble time and time again throughout the match - adding 17 aces to her WTA-leading count. Her sluggish start resulted in some loose errors off the ground and an early break for Babos at 3-1. Babos’ firepower kept the points short, and she quickly consolidated to love.
The German’s found some big serves to extend her stay in the set, but she couldn’t manage a break back as Babos confidently closed it out.
Babos continued to pounce on Goerges’ vulnerable second serves to keep the German under pressure throughout the second set. She brought up seven break chances across two marathon games, but Goerges held firm - even turning around a 0-40 deficit in the fifth game - to keep them on serve.
"I think it was pretty important. There were some tough holds for me in the second set, particularly the one where I was 0-40 down and I had to save those break points. This took some mental belief away from her, because I don't know if I could have won if she was a set and a break up. In those tight moments, I played better, and I could feel her belief going down in the tie-break as things got closer and closer. She gave me a few unforced errors here and there, as well."
She took them all the way into a tiebreak and edged through with a pair of minibreaks to escape with the second set and force a decider. Goerges needed just one break of serve in the final set, breaking Babos at 2-1 and dodging two break points to close out the match.
In addition to her 17 aces, Goerges outgunned Babos with 44 winners to 21, but was nearly undone by her unforced errors, 33 to Babos’ 24. The Hungarian’s serve was also doing damage, striking eight aces of her own, but she only converted on one of her 10 break chances - not enough to take down the big-serving Goerges.
"I've been feeling pretty good in practice. Obviously matches are always different, and you have to be there from the first to the last point. I'm pretty satisfied; I think I found a way to move better on hardcourt in this match, and I got the stability you need in the corners. I found some solutions to win this match, and that's what I'm very pleased with.
"A few years ago, I might not have won this match, but I developed in the right direction, and that's something I've very proud of."
Through to the Rogers Cup second round, Goerges will take on former World No.5 and Czech qualifier Lucie Safarova, who saved a match point to defeat Daria Gavrilova in three sets.
"It's going to be tough. She's not a qualifier for me, because every player in this tournament is great. I'm looking forward to this match; we've played already this year, so I know what she's capable of. She's been in the Top 10 as well. I'm just looking forward to getting another match under my belt. Hopefully it'll be a successful one, but I'll be ready on Wednesday."