Three-Set Matches Rule Play on Day 1
By: Nicholas McCarvel
It was a record-setting day in many ways at the Family Circle Cup as main draw play kicked off and a slew of seesaw matches kept crowds entertained.
Wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands won the most dramatic match of the day, overcoming an injured opponent in Australian Anastasia Rodionova on Althea Gibson Court 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3) in three hours, 42 minutes.
That match is the longest of the year on the WTA Tour and it included a match point saved by Mattek-Sands, who continues to return from injury after a short layoff in 2012.
“I actually feel pretty good,” said Mattek-Sands after the win, laughing. “It was a tough situation for her to be hurt. It was a tough match overall.”
There were several tough matches around the grounds, including 19-year-old qualifier Jessica Pegula’s 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-5 effort over Spaniard Garbine Muguruza. The victory notched the American her first-ever win on the WTA Tour.
It was also a first-ever win for Grace Min, the 2011 US Open junior champion. The 19-year-old Atlanta native, who also qualified, beat 13th seed Tamira Paszek after the Austrian retired with a neck injury trailing by a set, 6-3.
Americans Mallory Burdette and No. 12 seed Varvara Lepchenko both won three-set affairs, Lepchenko beating compatriot Christina McHale on Billie Jean King Court. Burdette, a former Stanford standout, overcame Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 1-6, 6-0.
Wild card Taylor Townsend of the U.S. was not as fortunate as her compatriots, playing solid tennis to start before succumbing to fellow wild card Andrea Petkovic, 6-3, 6-0.
The German Petkovic is a former top ten player and is in her first-ever Family Circle Cup on the comeback trail following a series of injuries over the last 15 months.
No. 11 seed Sorana Cirstea advanced in straight sets, taking down Tatjana Malek. Notable wins were also registered by up-and-coming teenagers Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Garcia, both who played on Court 4 in the late afternoon.
American journeywoman Jamie Hampton wasn’t in the winning column, falling to Olga Govortsova 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4.
Other winners in the day included Mathilda Johansson, Monica Puig, Camila Giorgi, Stefanie Voegele and Anabel Medina Garrigues. Overall, eight of the 16 matches went the full three sets.