BIRMINGHAM, England - After all matches were washed out on Monday, the first round of the AEGON Classic was squashed onto Tuesday's order of play, with almost all of it completed, save for a few matches stopped by darkness.
It didn't take long for upsets, with No.10 seed Sorana Cirstea hitting nine aces but losing to American qualifier Melanie Oudin, 36 63 62; No.11 seed Iveta Benesova getting shocked by British wildcard Tara Moore, 61 62; No.12 seed Tamira Paszek losing to British No.1 Anne Keothavong, 62 75; and No.16 seed Eleni Daniilidou losing to France's Stéphanie Foretz Gacon, 64 62.
"It's not an easy surface to just switch it on," Keothavong said of the switch to grass this week. "Tamira made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon last year and the fourth round a couple of other times, I think, so she's a tough opponent, I don't think she's an alien to grass or anything. I also played her earlier this year in Doha and won in two close sets, so I kind of knew what to expect."
"On grass it's all about holding serve, and I knew if I could do that I'd have a few chances on hers," Oudin said of her match with Cirstea. "In the second and third sets I served well, returned well and played aggressively when I had to."
Though Oudin's shining moment was her run to the quarterfinals of the 2009 US Open, many forget it was on the lawns of Wimbledon earlier that year where she first burst into prominence, upsetting Jelena Jankovic and making her first Grand Slam second week. The feisty American has always loved grass.
"The grass season is so quick. There are only three weeks a year on it so it takes some getting used to," Oudin added. "But I've always liked playing on it and had a good run through qualifying at Wimbledon a few years ago."
No.9 seed Marina Erakovic was the only seed to move through on Tuesday.
Other notable winners included former Top 20 players Virginie Razzano and Zheng Jie. Razzano, a former World No.16 who surprised the world two weeks ago by beating Serena Williams in the first round of the French Open, edged Alberta Brianti, 64 75, rallying from 4-1 down in a close second set.
"I went home for a few days after playing Roland Garros and took some time to enjoy the victory over Serena, just seeing my friends and seeing everyone at home," Razzano commented. "I have the DVD of the match - I have not had time to watch it yet because I had to pack and get everything ready to come here, but when I have time I would love to relax and watch the match."
The 29-year-old Frenchwoman is hoping to use the win as a springboard back to the upper echelon of the WTA. "Before playing the French Open I didn't play many matches because I was injured - my hip - and I actually had two months off. So it was strange, because I wasn't very confident going in. But I didn't think, I just tried to do my job, and so I will try to do that more going forward."
Two matches were suspended by darkness while two more never took the court.