ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - The comeback continued for two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist Tamira Paszek on Monday, as the Austrian dispatched 2005 French Open quarterfinalist Sesil Karatantcheva, 7-6(3), 6-4, to reach the main draw of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
Once a Top 30 player, Paszek came back to the game last spring and has rocketed up nearly 140 spots in the rankings since last fall. Starting the season at No.172, she had to play qualifying at the ASB Classic and the Australian, going on to reach the semifinals of the former to put herself within striking distance of a Top 100 return.
"The good part about playing qualies is that you get a lot of matches, and you get a good rhythm, which is especially important at the beginning of the year," the 25-year-old told WTA Insider in January. "I've always been the type of person that tries to see the positive aspect of things, so I'm really looking forward to it."
All four qualifiers will be in action again on Tuesday, along with Fed Cup heroines Monica Niculescu - who nearly led an upset of defending champion Czech Republic with a win over two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova - and Barbora Strycova, who took part in the decisive doubles rubber to defeat Romania, 3-2.
Niculescu begins her tournament as the No.9 seed - so bumped when Anna Karolina Schmiedlova withdrew due to a right ankle sprain - and takes on local wildcard Natalia Vikhlyantseva. Strycova takes on one of the qualifiers, Kateryna Kozlova; Kozlova defeated top qualifying seed Laura Siegemund, but the German nonetheless found her way into the main draw as a lucky loser.