PRAGUE, Czech Republic – Monica Niculescu, Sabine Lisicki and Sara Errani all progressed to the second round of the 125K Prague Open on a Sunday that was largely devoid of the shocks that had occurred on day one of the event.
Niculescu, the No.1 seed in the Czech Republic and a runner-up in the doubles in the International event earlier this month, was given a stern workout by Panna Udvardy before progressing 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in an encounter that stretched two hours and 10 minutes.
The Romanian gained an early break in the first set but saw it slip away in the sixth game and had to survive three successive set points against her on serve before forcing it to a tiebreak. The breaker was a tight affair, with Udverdy saving a set point against the Niculescu delivery to square the decisive game at 6-6 before the top seed ultimately claimed it.
The second set was littered with breaks. Udvardy again showed reliance to fight back from a break down twice but failed to close it out when a service hold would have been sufficient. The Hungarian player then lost five of six points on serve in the tiebreak, which swung the way of Niculescu.
Unranked Sabine Lisicki, meanwhile, overcame No.23 seed Samantha Murray, 6-3, 6-4, breaking twice in the opening set then three times in the second to seal victory.
Sara Errani, meanwhile, spent more than three hours on court dispatching the challenge of Paula Ormaechea. The 2012 French Open finalist lost the opener without taking even a game but hit back in the second then won a marathon decider 9-7 in a tiebreak that saw her save one match point. As a result, she sealed a 0-6, 7-5, 7-6(7) victory.
By contrast, rising Swiss star Leoni Kung was a rapid victor over alternate Ivana Popovic, who lasted only 62 minutes before succumbing, 6-1, 6-0.
The day’s big winner, though, was home wildcard Lucie Havlickova, who dispatched Riya Bhatia in 55 minutes without the loss of a game.
Renata Zarazua was a notable winner over Eugenie Bouchard as the No.30 seed dispatched the Canadian, 6-0, 7-6(5), while fellow seeds Mariam Bolkvadze, Jaqueline Cristian, Nadia Podoroska, Isabella Shinikova and Lara Arruabarrena also progressed.
Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove was a notable faller as the No.15 seed was defeated 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-1 by Kazakhstan’s Anna Denilina.