AUCKLAND: Second seed Julia Goerges overcame a rusty start to beat her nemesis Monica Puig in a marathon three-setter on a rain-disrupted opening day of the WTA Auckland Classic on Monday.
It was the first time in five attempts that the 29-year-old German has beaten the Puerto Rican Olympic champion and it took her 13 aces to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
"What a beginning to the New Year," Goerges said after more than two hours battling on court.
"I've never beaten Monica before so I knew what was going to come."
Goerges was thankful for her powerful serve which constantly rescued her from tight spots.
"That's one of my weapons. I'm trying to keep that up on the important points and sometimes you get some free points which is nice and I was happy I could put it in in some very important moments."
Only four singles matches were completed on a rain-affected day, which saw Goerges and Puig take the court after 11pm, more than four hours later than scheduled. They finished two hours and 12 minutes later.
The German was down 2-4 early before recovering to take the first set 6-4.
Puig broke Goerges at 5-4 to take the second set before Goerges pulled off three service breaks to take the deciding third set.
Belgian Kirsten Flipkens continued her dominance of Donna Vekic, disposing of the eighth seed 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-4 to have a 5-0 record against the Croat.
In a tense third set Flipkens broke early, dropped her serve at 4-3 and then broke again to be 5-4 up.
When serving for the match she was 15-40 down before steadying herself to take the next four points.
Petra Martic from Croatia was two points from victory over Czech Marketa Vondrousova when the first rain break occurred and had to wait 90 minutes before retaking the court. She needed just 41 seconds to finish the match 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.
In the only other completed match, Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese-Taipei cruised past Japan's Nao Hibino 6-0, 6-3.