Upsetting start for seeded women in Washington

Published: 31st July 2012 02:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st July 2012 02:28 PM   |  A+A-


Third-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States survived a three-set opening match against Bulgaria's Sesil Karatantcheva 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in the first round of the Citi Open on Monday.
Second-seeded Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa and fifth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic were not so lucky.
American Brian Baker, a shock participant in the round of 16 at Wimbledon earlier this year, dropped the final two sets to Frenchman Florent Serra and was eliminated, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the men's tournament.
His more experience compatriot James Blake did progress, with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 triumph over No. 5 seed Pablo Andujar.
The 32-year-old Blake's 2012 campaign had been a losing one entering Washington, site of his first title 10 years ago. Coming off knee surgery in November, he lost eight of his nine matches this year.
"I was a little falsely optimistic earlier in the year," Blake said. "I really thought I was able to get out there and compete. I don't have the ability to compete with these guys unless I'm 100 percent. My legs feel great now."
In the late match, sixth-seeded Jeremy Chardy beat his French compatriot Edouard Roger-Vasselin 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4.
Scheepers, ranked No. 42 in the world, fell 6-2, 6-1 to Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia. Zahlavova Strycova was beaten by Romania's Edina Gallovits-Hall, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
After losing the final three games of the second set, including two on her own serve, Stephens opened the third by breaking Karatantcheva twice for a 3-0 lead. The 19-year-old American, who reached the fourth round at the French Open and the third round at Wimbledon this year, tacked on two more breaks of serve to advance.
No. 7 seed Coco Vandeweghe of the United States avoided an upset by defeating Erika Sema of Japan 6-4, 6-1. Eighth-seeded Olga Govortsova topped Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-2, and Leonardo Mayer beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8) to advance to the second round.
France's Aravane Rezai recovered from being down a break in the third set and edged American Melanie Oudin 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5).
The Washington tournament, a staple on the ATP schedule, is combining with the WTA Tour for the first time.
Mardy Fish, the top-seeded men's player, is scheduled to play his opening match on Tuesday. Fish, the No. 13 ranked player, skipped the Olympics after missing several weeks on tour earlier this year following a procedure to correct a heart problem.
Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is the top seed in the women's draw.



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