From hard courts to clay, it didn't take long for Linda Fruhvirtova to back up her breakthrough Miami Open run with another victory. The 16-year-old sensation is off and running at the Credit One Charleston Open after a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 win against Ana Konjuh.
Fruhvirtova came from a set down to christen the tournament's new stadium court with a 1 hour, 49-minute victory, which was also her first professional win against a player from Croatia.
"It was important for me to forget the first set, keep fighting, keep trying to find a way to win, and I'm glad I found a way," Fruhvirtova said.
"The green clay is very specific and I think the transition is easier from hard court to green clay than straight to red clay. I think the surface fits me and I like to play on green clay."
An 𝑒𝓍𝓆𝓊𝒾𝓈𝒾𝓉𝑒 rally!#CharlestonOpen pic.twitter.com/euv7qaaf36— wta (@WTA) April 4, 2022
While it is Fruhvirtova's tournament debut at the WTA 500 event, it's not her first time at this storied venue. Last year, at 15, Fruhvirtova made her first tour-level quarterfinal at the MUSC Health Women's Open, a WTA 250 event held on Daniel Island on a one-year license.
Fruhvirtova is again playing as a wildcard in Charleston this week at a career-high ranking of World No.188, rocketing up nearly 100 places on the back of her Miami heroics. Her win against Konjuh is her fifth career win against a Top 100 player, and fourth in her last two tournaments. It puts her into a second round meeting against either No.10 seed Belinda Bencic or China's Wang Xiyu, who'll play on Tuesday.
"These are the matches and the moments I've always worked hard for, and it's a great motivation to keep working hard and believing, and I'm enjoying it," she said.
"I'm really honored that I got to play the first match here in this beautiful stadium in this beautiful city. It's a very special place for me, and I'm so happy to get this opportunity."
Kvitova succumbs to injury against Frech; Eikeri makes history for Norway
It wasn't all good news for Czech tennis on the opening day of play, however, as Petra Kvitova succumbed to a left thigh injury. The No.11 seed was trailing Poland's Magdalena Frech, 7-6(6), 3-2, when she retired.
Frech, 24, was previously 0-22 in her career against Top 50 players. Her previous best win by ranking came against then-World No.67 Mayar Sherif last month at Indian Wells.
Frech will next face Kaia Kanepi, who overcame South Carolina native Shelby Rogers in a dramatic, nearly three-hour tilt under the lights, 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-2. Rogers served for the match in the second set, but after taking a nasty spill at the back of the court that drew blood, lost nine of the last 11 games.
But for the first time since 1991, a player from Norway won a WTA main draw match. The honor belonged to 29-year-old Ulrikke Eikeri, who edged Nadiia Kichenok 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 in a match between qualifiers. She was previously 0-6 in tour-level main draw singles matches.
Tough test passed 🙌— wta (@WTA) April 4, 2022
🇳🇴 Ulrikke Eikeri is the first Norwegian to win a WTA main draw match since Amy Jonsson at Pattaya 1991!#CharlestonOpen pic.twitter.com/Znl3S67BSG
The Oslo native, ranked No.283 in singles but No.50 in doubles, earns a second-round meeting with No.9 seed and former champion Madison Keys.
More highlights from Charleston: Paolini def. Lee / Kalinina def. Sasnovich
Anisimova, Cornet oust Americans Vickery, Parks
Two other seeded players, Amanda Anisimova and Alizé Cornet held on for straight-set wins after cruising early on against a pair of Americans.
Highlights: Anisimova def. Vickery | Cornet def. Parks
No.15 seed Anisimova was a break down twice against compatriot Sachia Vickery before winning 6-0, 7-5, while Cornet, seeded No.12, came from 5-1 down in the second set in beating Alycia Parks by the same scoreline.