Mattek-Sands Wins Opener
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Birthday girl Bethanie Mattek-Sands moved comfortably into the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open Wednesday with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson. The 26-year-old American plans on driving race cars later today at the Miami Speedway with her husband, Justin, to celebrate the occasion.
Mattek-Sands will have her hands full in her next match, taking on World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. They’ve met once before, with Wozniacki earning a straight-sets win in Rome two years ago. The American believes both are much improved since then and enjoys the challenge of playing top-ranked players.
“I’m excited to play her… I’ll be ready for a fight. I think this surface will suit my game a little bit better,” said Mattek-Sands. “I haven’t played her for a couple years. She’s only gotten better since then [and] has a lot of confidence now. I do, too, so I’m looking forward to it.”
A resident of Coconut Grove for some time, Mattek-Sands will look to the crowd for support.
“Hopefully I can get a little bit of the crowd behind me. That’s something that always helps,” Mattek-Sands said. In addition, “My family is from Boca [Raton]. They’ll be down here too. I think I feel like I’m at home.”
In an all-American matchup, Varvara Lepchenko topped wild card Coco Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-3. Lepchenko dominated Vandeweghe’s serve, winning 59 percent of her return points. She’ll face 12th seeded Petra Kvitova in the second round.
Peng Shuai blew past Greta Arn 6-1, 6-2 in 58 minutes. The Chinese player is enjoying early-season success, with wins against two Top 10 players, Jelena Jankovic and Li Na. In the second round, she’ll play No. 20 seed Aravane Rezai of France.
Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa needed two hours and 40 minutes to conquer Slovakian Polona Hercog, taking the match 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. After 10 breaks of serve between the players throughout the first two sets, Scheeper’s edged ahead, breaking Hercog twice and maintained the momentum the rest of the way. Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania, seeded 26th, is Scheeper’s next opponent.
American qualifier Jamie Hampton started slow in her match against wild card Ajla Tomljanovic but picked up her play to defeat the Croatian in three sets, 3-6, 7-5, 6-0. Hampton took advantage of her return game in the final set, winning all seven points on Tomljanovic’s second serve. She’ll take on the personable Andrea Petkovic, the 21st seed, in round two.
Sloane Stephens, who also qualified into the main draw, was upstaged by Barbora Zahalova Strycova. The Czech player won 6-4, 6-2 but the match was more competitive than the score line indicates as it lasted an hour and 50 minutes. Agnieszka Radwanska, the ninth seed, is Zahalova Strycova’s next opponent.
Kimiko Date-Krumm, 40, became the oldest woman to win a match at the Sony Ericsson Open, winning 6-4, 6-3 against Zuzana Ondraskova (Virginia Wade held the previous mark in 1985 when she was 39). A former finalist here in 1995, Date-Krumm will play Serbian Ana Ivanovic in a round two battle on Friday.
The match of the day belonged to Yaroslava Shvedova and Sara Errani, as the two played for two hours and 47 minutes in a match that went down to the wire. Shevdova outlasted the Italian 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5) to advance. Next up for Shvedova is No. 28 seed Jarmila Groth.
Virginie Razzano, Elena Vesnina, Anabel Medina-Garrigues, Agnes Szavay, Timea Bacsinszky, Anna Tatishvili, Anastasiya Yakimova, Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Sania Mirza were also first round winners during today’s day session.
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