CALI, Colombia - When top seed Mandy Minella touched down in Cali on Saturday she was greeted by the tremors of the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck southwest Colombia.
And for an hour or so on Tuesday, Arantxa Parra Santonja, Minella's first round opponent at the Copa Bionaire, threatened to create her own shockwaves. Having rattled through the opening set, Parra Santonja built a 3-2 lead in the second to move within touching distance of a place in the last 16.
The Spaniard, who reached a career-high ranking of No.46 back in 2010, spent much of last season plying her trade on the ITF Circuit, and with the finishing line in sight she faltered, allowing Minella to reel off the next four games to force a decider.
Minella, who - under the tournament's previous guise as an ITF event - finished as runner-up at the Club Campestre de Cali 12 months ago, carried this momentum with her to break serve midway through the third set en route to a 26 63 62 win.
"It was a very tough start in the first set," Minella said. "I couldn't play my game and Arantxa was playing very well.
"I was happy that I could change it and get better in the second and third sets and hopefully I can play better in my next match because I love it here and want to have another good run!"
Panova, the No.4 seed this week, defeated qualifier Masa Zec-Peskiric, 63 62, with No.2 seed Arruabarrena-Vecino even more impressive in swatting aside Chiara Scholl, 62 60, in little over an hour.
Elsewhere there were opening round wins for Sharon Fichman, who upset No.8 seed Tatjana Malek, 62 60, Julia Cohen, Sesil Karatantcheva, Estrella Cabeza Candela, Eugenie Bouchard and Colombian wildcard Catalina Castaño.