'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands - Local wildcard Arantxa Rus fended off a final-set fightback to open the Ricoh Open with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 upset of No.6 seed Timea Babos.
Rus, the World No.183, was playing her first match on grass since 2014 - but while she put in a good showing in the first set against a much higher-ranked opponent, coming back from 2-5 down to level at 5-5, she was unable to take the chances she created.
The Dutchwoman missed six out of her seven break point opportunities, and in the final game lost her own serve from 40-0 up. By contrast, her 24-year-old opponent garnered just two break points on the Rus serve - but took both.
Nonetheless, the 26-year-old left-hander - who reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2012, and is still best known for upsetting Kim Clijsters at Roland Garros in 2011 - was striking the ball well, particularly off the forehand side.
Unfazed by Babos's big serve - the Hungarian struck four of her eight aces in the second set - Rus broke the seeded player twice in the second set, and held from 0-40 down to serve it out.
Rus's fine form continued as she leapt out to a 4-0 lead in the decider, unswayed by a brief rain delay in the second game. The Hungarian was despondent as she called her coach, Thomas Drouet, out after falling behind 0-3, but a pep talk revived her briefly and she reeled off a run of three games, sealed with her eighth ace, to reduce the deficit to one break.
The wildcard was not to be denied in front of her home crowd, though, and in the final game sealed her first WTA main draw victory since reaching the Kitzbühel quarterfinals in July 2013 with a stunning forehand pass. Rus will play either Yaroslava Shvedova or qualifier Andrea Hlavackova in the second round.
The upsets didn't stop there: qualifier Petra Krejsova, playing her first ever WTA Tour main draw, took out 2007 finalist Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 7-5.
The 26-year-old Czech showcased a booming forehand and a useful backhand slice, but her serve enabled her to dominate the match: winning 81% of your first serve points is always a good statistic, and it's even more effective when you land 80% of those first serves.
Krejsova faced just one break point in the entire match - and though Jankovic took it to briefly move ahead in the second set, the qualifier responded by breaking the former World No.1 three times in total. The World No.277 also delighted the crowd with some supreme improvisation - including a brilliant tweener.
For her part, the Serb was plagued by six double faults and several untimely errors on key points. Now ranked No.60, she'll be hoping for an upturn in form ahead of Wimbledon. Krejsova, meanwhile, moves on to face No.7 seed Lesia Tsurenko, who beat Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-1, for a quarterfinal berth.