LINZ, Austria - Bethanie Mattek-Sands pulled off the biggest surprise of the day at the Generali Ladies Linz on Tuesday, taking down Tamira Paszek, Austria's No.1 player and the No.7 seed at the International-level tournament.
Mattek-Sands, who came through the qualifying, was at her aggressive best in building a 62 30 lead, seemingly headed for a lopsided result; Paszek clawed back to even the second set at 3-all, then 4-all, but Mattek-Sands kicked it into high gear one last time to complete the first round surprise, 62 64.
"We're good friends on the tour and it's always tough playing a friend, but I think we both played a great match," Mattek-Sands said. "I felt good - coming from the qualifying I had those three matches on this surface. She didn't give it to me though - I really had to win the match, especially in the second set."
Mattek-Sands, who was ranked in the Top 30 as recently as last summer but is now No.201 as she works her way back up after injuries, next faces Carla Suárez Navarro, who - after a sensational week in Beijing last week, making the quarterfinals - won her opener here over Magdalena Rybarikova, 63 64.
"Carla's a tricky player - most people think her best surface is clay courts, but she has done so well on hardcourts too," Mattek-Sands said. "She takes the balls on the rise and has a lot of confidence right now, so I have to go into the match aggressive, playing my game and really putting her under pressure."
And what does the American think about Linz? "Well I came here from home, so it's a lot colder, that's for sure!" she said. "I haven't gotten out of the hotel, I'm not gonna lie. I haven't had a day off since I've been here. But all of the Austrians I've met have been very nice and they're doing a great job at this tournament."
The only other seed in action was a winner, though it very nearly went to a third set - No.5 seed Julia Goerges edged Daniela Hantuchova, 64 76(5), coming from 5-2 down in the second set, even saving two set points at 5-3 down. The German also rallied from 4-2 down to close out the second set tie-break.
Like Mattek-Sands, Goerges will also face a Beijing quarterfinalist in her next match - Romina Oprandi, who reached the biggest quarterfinal of her career in the Chinese capital last week, defeated Alexandra Cadantu, 62 61.
"I had some very good matches last week in Beijing and it gave me a lot of confidence," Oprandi said. "Today I played a very good match - Cadantu's a tough opponent, so I'm very happy I could play well against her today."
And has Oprandi seen any of the city yet this year? "Not really," the Swiss No.1 said. "Just in the morning when I go to buy my newspaper, but that's it!"
Other winners were Simona Halep and Petra Martic, qualifiers Kirsten Flipkens and Mallory Burdette, lucky loser Irina-Camelia Begu and last but not least former Top 10 player Andrea Petkovic, a wildcard this week.