Tennis News Wire -
For a wonder, the qualifying here was pretty routine: #1 Urszula Radwanska, #2 Arantxa Rus, and #3 Irina Falconi all made the main draw. The one surprise came as unseeded Sania Mirza double-bagelled #5 Lesia Tsurenko. There is still a Lucky Loser spot available for Tsurenko -- but will she be able to take it?
Singles - First Round: (4) Dominika Cibulkova def. Christina McHale 7-6(7-1) 6-1
Clay continues to stall Christina McHale's progress; she will not rise above her current #35 and may fall.
Singles - First Round: Simona Halep def. (6) Jelena Jankovic 6-2 3-6 7-6(7-3)
Jelena Jankovic is truly a ghost of her old self. This clay season has been truly horrid for her. She wasn't defending anything (no one is defending anything this week), so she won't fall much, but this means she will not return to the Top Twenty.
Singles - First Round: (10) Nadia Petrova def. Kateryna Bonarenko 6-4 6-4
Interestingly, most of the players in action this week have fairly significant sixteenth event scores. That means they need to do something substantial to improve their rankings. That's certainly true of Nadia Petrova; she needs one more win to add to her point total, and she needs a semifinal to climb in the rankings.
Petrova, incidentally, replaces Roberta Vinci, making Vinci the second seed to pull out since the draw was made. That appears to open a second Lucky Loser spot, which should go to Bojana Jovanovski.
Singles - First Round: Tsvetana Pironkova def. Eleni Daniilidou 6-1 6-4
Tsvetana Pironkova is pretty inconsistent even on fast surfaces, and slow surfaces are worse, so this is a nice win for her. She will very likely rise above #45.
Singles - First Round: (WC) Alison Van Uytvanck def. Ksenia Pervak 6-3 5-7 6-4
After an incredible run in low-tier ITF events a few years back, Alison Van Uytvanck has struggled at the WTA level, and doesn't get nearly as much press as she used to. This should revive her stock a little. Ksenia Pervak finds her Top Forty ranking in (very slight) danger.
Doubles - First Round: Dellacqua/Rodionova def. (2) Kops-Jones/Spears 7-6(7-3) 6-2
The doubles draw here is far from strong, but that opens the doors for cagey veterans like Dellacqua and Rodionova to spring surprises -- especially on Americans who don't like clay....
Doubles - First Round: (3) Rosolska/Zheng def. Lee-Waters/Moulton-Levy 6-1 6-4
It appears Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez still has a lot of coming back to do. In a development that would have been shocking two years ago, she lost her qualifying final to Mirjana Lucic 4-6 7-5 6-4. She might yet get a Lucky Loser spot, but it's hard to believe she can do much with it.
It was not a good draw for qualifying seeds. Martinez Sanchez was #1, and she lost to #8 Lucic. #2 Alexandra Panova managed to make the main draw with a 6-3 6-4 win over Stephanie Dubois. But our other two qualifiers, Lauren Davis and Anastasija Sevastova, were unseeded.
Singles - First Round: Pauline Parmentier def. (1) Sabine Lisicki (WC) 6-4 6-4
It seems pretty clear that Sabine Lisicki came back too soon. Let's hope the next week will give her enough time to get her form back. But she will not be rising above #12.
Singles - First Round: (8) Tamira Paszek def. Alberta Brianti 6-4 0-6 6-4
This won't put Tamira Paszek back in the Top Fifty, but it won't take too much more. She was lucky to finish when she did -- not too long after this concluded, the rain that has been causing so much trouble over the last two days appeared in Strasbourg, halting two matches.
Singles - First Round: Stephanie Foretz Gacon def. Elena Baltacha 6-4 6-0
A slight upset based on the rankings, but the clay is not Elena Baltacha's friend.
Singles - First Round: Hsieh Su-Wei def. Irina-Camelia Begu 6-7(5-7) 6-3 6-1
Hsieh Su-Wei's 2012 comeback has been impressive and surprising, but this is even more surprising than usual, given the surface and the good results Irina-Camelia Begu had been scoring. Begu will stay around #58.
Doubles - First Round: (2) Govortsova/Jans-Ignacik def. Aoyama/Chan 7-6(7-3) 6-2
Doubles - First Round: Naydenova/Pereira def. Stephens/Woehr 6-2 6-1
We said above that the doubles draw at Brussels was weak. The draw here is even weaker -- all the top players are resting up for Roland Garros, and the mid-level players are in Roland Garros qualifying. So there are only fifteen teams here rather than the usual sixteen, and five teams with combined rankings below #400 (including Naydenova/Pereira). So expect the unexpected....
Doubles - First Round: Chang/Chuang def. Vrljic/Woerle 6-3 7-6(7-3)