ISTANBUL, Turkey – Sara Sorribes Tormo dealt a big blow to Turkey’s hopes of seeing another hometown champion at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup, knocking out Turkish No.1 Ipek Soylu in straight sets at her Istanbul opener.
Sorribes Tormo had a quick turnaround from Bogota, Colombia – where she reached the semifinals at the Claro Open Colsanitas – to Roanne, France – where she contested two singles rubbers in Spain’s Fed Cup defeat against France – before landing in Istanbul. But once here she made it through two tense sets to defeat Soylu, 6-3, 7-5.
“It was a tough match, and I’m coming from Fed Cup so I didn’t really have time to adjust to conditions here, Sorribes Tormo said after the match.
“Ipek is a great player, I think she played very well and I think we played a good match. Especially playing in her home tournament, everybody was cheering for her. But it was ok. The crowd was really nice and I enjoyed the match a lot.”
Solyu, a wildcard ranked No.160, came away on the losing end of a rollercoaster first set that featured eight breaks of serve, with her good friend Sorribes Tormo earning the lone hold at 5-3. She grabbed her first lead of the match early in the second set, breaking the Spaniard twice to go up 3-1 as the Istanbul crowd roared.
But Sorribes Tormo remained undaunted and found her way back, leveling the match at 3-3 before earning the decisive break at 7-5 to avoid a tiebreaker and make her way into the second round at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup.
“It’s always harder to play a friend,” Sorribes Tormo reflected. “We are good friends and it’s always tough to do that. But when you are on the court you try to forget this.
“We played a good match, and hopefully we will play many more times.”
Up next for the Spaniard will be Jana Cepelova, who notched an upset against the No.4 seed Eugenie Bouchard, 6-0. 6-4.
“Cepelova is a really good player – she’s one of the players that I like the way she plays,” the Spaniard said. “I think it will be a very tough match and I will try to recover fast for Thursday and try very hard to be at my best level.”
Despite Soylu’s defeat, Turkish qualifier Basak Eraydin ensured the host country would still be represented. She posted a 6-2, 6-4 upset over No.7 seed Tsvetana Pironkova to move into the second round - although she didn't even realize she'd won.
Meanwhile, Sara Errani notched an almost perfect match to move past Hsieh Su-Wei 6-0, 6-1.
“I played a really good match, really solid, so I’m very happy for the result,” Errani said afterwards. “Many games were tough, but overall I feel it was a good match.
“I’m happy to be back on clay. Last week I played Fed Cup on clay, and before Bogota and Charleston, but of course the European red clay season is the best.”
Also through are No.5 seed Sorana Cirstea, who dispatched Fiona Ferro 6-3, 6-1; Irina-Camelia Begu, who completed a comeback against Tatjana Maria 1-6, 6-1, 7-5; and Anna Kalinskaya, who eased past Chang Kai-Chen 6-1, 6-3. Kristen Flipkens advanced after Kristina Kucova found herself having to withdraw trailing 6-0, 1-0.