GSTAAD, Switzerland - Patty Schnyder earned the first WTA main draw win of her second career in front of a home crowd at the Ladies Championship Gstaad, saving five match points to surge past compatriot Amra Sadikovic, 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-6(6).
“It feel pretty cool," Schnyder said after the match. "The match was really crazy. I haven’t played too many matches like that. But the longer the match went, I got better, and the rallies got better. By the end, it was really great tennis.”
Her last win was back at the 2011 Miami Open, where she beat Madison Keys, then a 16-year-old wildcard.
“That’s funny! I know that I played her, but I didn’t know it was my last win!”
Schnyder is a former World No.7 who reached four Grand Slam quarterfinals in a career that spanned nearly two decades. Retiring in mid-2011, the Swiss veteran began playing ITF Challenger tournaments in the summer of 2015, playing her first WTA tournament of her comeback last spring at the Volvo Car Open.
Ranked outside the Top 200 heading into Gstaad, Schnyder earned a wildcard into the main draw where she faced Sadikovic, another Swiss veteran in the midst of a second career, both returning to tour around the same time after a lengthy absence.
“I think I’m pretty good at blocking out who I’m playing. I just care about playing well, even more than winning. I want to try to feel the game and play good.”
Schnyder cruised to start, racing out to a set and 5-2 lead, before Sadikovic clawed her way back, saving four match points in the ensuing second set tiebreak to level the match.
“I was feeling really good in practice yesterday. Of course, a match situation is different, where you feel the heat of the game.
“I was frustrated a bit to have lost the second set. I’d lost my forehand a little bit, especially down the line, I wasn’t playing it as smoothly as I had been. But the way she played on my match points - three of them in a row - was just amazing, and sometimes if you come up a little short, the momentum is gone and you’re going to lose. So I wasn’t too confident in the third set.”
Serving from behind in the decider, Schnyder was forced to save five match points as her countrywoman got within reach of victory in the 10th and 12th games.
“I’m not too good with stats, but I’m sure I’ve had matches like these in the past. Just the way we played and were saving each other’s match points was really great tennis. It was fun to play with Amra; she has some amazing shots. Sometimes she’ll miss some easy ones, but otherwise she’s a really complete player. It was a good win.”
Schnyder forced another tiebreak and finally clinched the win on her seventh match point, closing an exciting day of play after two hours and 35 minutes on court.
Awaiting her in the second round is German qualifier Antonia Lottner, who needed a third set tiebreak of her own to No.7 seed and defending champion, Viktorija Golubic.
Schynder and Lottner last played a year ago on the ITF Circuit; after beating the youngster in straight sets, Lottner went on to win 13 straight matches on the ITF level, winning two titles.
"Before she started a great run, I beat her. You can say that after she lost to me, she started to win! We’ll see. She can miss some, and you have to mix it up because she has a huge serve and big shots.”