BOGOTÁ, Colombia - Former World No.26 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova scored a notable victory in the first round of the Claro Open Colsanitas on Monday afternoon, taking out 2016 champion Irina Falconi in a rollercoaster opener, 7-5, 0-6, 6-1.
"I'm really happy that I won, and it's is really special for me because I haven't won a WTA match in a while," Schmiedlova said after the match.
"It was my first match on clay this year, and also here in Bogotá, it's at high altitutde, so it's a little bit different. It was tough, tough to breathe and hold [serve], but I made it...and I'm really happy."
The 23-year-old Slovak had been on a five-match losing streak in WTA main draws over the past 18 months, and the victory marks Schmiedlova's first in a tour-level main draw since the 2016 BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open.
In an up-and-down encounter which lasted two hours, 21 minutes, Schmiedlova came from a break down twice in the opening set and rebounded to win it after losing a 5-3 lead, and bounced back from a second-set bagel in emphatic fashion in the decider.
After serving nine double faults across the first two sets, the current World No.132 protected her serve well in the decider, winning 67 percent of the points played overall, and over 80 percent of the points played on her second serve.
After toughing out a break of serve in the second game of the final set en route to moving ahead 3-0 at the changeover, Schmiedlova later saved both break points she faced in a fifth game which would have seen Falconi get the match back on serve.
After securing an insurance break thanks to a pair of double faults from the American, Schmiedlova saved the best for last to serve out the match, and converted her second match point with a second serve ace - her first of the match.
Falconi, who won the 2016 edition of the Claro Open Colsanitas as the No.5 seed, has suffered defeats in her last two matches in the Colombian capital after also losing in the first round of her title defense a year ago.
Next up for Schmiedlova could be a rematch of last week's first round match from Monterrey, as she'll face the winner of Tuesday's clash between No.8 seed Ajla Tomljanovic and Mexican qualifier Renata Zarazua.
Schmiedlova nearly snapped her winless streak last week, as she faced Tomljanovic in the first round. The Slovak served for the match and had three match points in the deciding tiebreak before falling, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(6).
"I know that they play tomorrow, so we'll see who will win. My coach told me after the match today that I might play Ajla Tomljanovic," Schmiedlova said. "I played her last week, so I know her and we'll see how it will go."
Elsewhere in Bogotá on Monday, top seed Tatjana Maria got her tournament off to a winning start as she defeated Spaniard Georgina García Pérez in straight sets, while No.3 seed Johanna Larsson defeated Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure, 7-6(4), 6-1.