PARIS, France - The qualies wrapped up and the doubles began on Monday at the Open GDF SUEZ, the first indoor tournament of the WTA's 2012 season.
There were rising stars and established veterans alike among the last eight women remaining in the qualifying draw, and they all went to battle earlier in the day for spots in the main draw of the Premier stop in the French capital.
Moving on were Mona Barthel, who downed Varvara Lepchenko, 63 64; Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who served for the match in the second set but ended up having to go to three to put Jill Craybas away, 61 67(3) 64; Kristina Barrois, who won the first six and last six games of a 60 63 victory over Alberta Brianti; and Greta Arn, who came from a set and a break down to beat Garbiñe Muguruza Blanco, 57 64 61, firing 11 aces in the process.
All was not lost for Lepchenko and Brianti however, as they made it into the main draw as lucky losers after the withdrawals of Sabine Lisicki and Kaia Kanepi, Lisicki due to a viral illness and Kanepi a right shoulder injury.
"Unfortunately I don't feel well with a viral illness so I'm going to go home and get better," Lisicki commented. "I'm really disappointed about withdrawing from Paris. It's such a nice city and the fans are great. It would have been my first time playing the Open GDF SUEZ, but I promise to be back next year."
"I'm sorry I'm not able to play in Paris," said Kanepi, who recently won the Premier-level title in Brisbane. "I have been suffering with inflammation in my neck and shoulder since my last match at the Australian Open and tried to get ready to play but have not been able to. I hope to be back in Doha or Dubai."
In the only other match of the day, Czech pairing Lucie Safarova and Klara Zakopalova bounced back from a 4-2 first set deficit to get past the Ukrainian-German duo of Mariya Koryttseva and Jasmin Woehr in straight sets, 64 63. Safarova is the only player in the singles field to make it to the final here before, and she has actually done it two times before, in 2007 and 2010.
Three of the seeds take center court Tuesday, beginning with No.3 seed Li Na, who begins against Tsvetana Pironkova. Pironkova, who is perhaps best known for reaching the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2010 then the quarterfinals again in 2011, actually won the pair's only previous meeting in 2006.