WTA Bogota: Maria, Larsson, Blinkova and Schiemdlova all reach round two



by JOVICA ILIC

WTA Bogota: Maria, Larsson, Blinkova and Schiemdlova all reach round two

The 21st edition of the WTA tournament in Bogota failed to gather a respectable field, with no players from the Top 60 entering the main draw. This will be a great chance for numerous players to go all the way and one of them is the top seed Tatjana Maria who opened her campaign with a solid 6-3 6-2 win over the Spaniard Georgina Garcia Perez in an hour and 18 minutes. Maria controlled the pace on both the serve and return, losing 16 points in nine service games to save one break point she faced and keep the pressure on the other side of the net.

Garcia Perez failed to follow rival's pace, especially after missing the first serve, and she had to play against 10 break points, losing serve three times to hit the exit door after the opening match. Tatjana was off to a shaky start, saving that break point in the first game of the match and finding the range of her shots after that, losing one point in the remaining four service games of the set.

The Spaniard also played well but she fell in the closing stages of the set, losing 12 of the last 14 points and getting broken in game eight to hand the set to Maria by 6-3. The German continued in the same style in set number two and she sealed her win with a double break in games one and three, opening a 6-3 3-0 lead before closing the match on own serve in game eight.

Georgina gave her best to prolong the match as much as possible, fending off four match points on serve at 1-5 down but she couldn't do much when she was on the return in the following game, never seeing a break point after that first game of the match.

2016 champion Irina Falconi suffered a 7-5 0-6 6-1 loss against a former Top 30 player Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in 2 hours and 21 minutes. If we check the numbers, it was a close match and Schmieldova won just two points more than her rival but she saved her best for the decisive moments of the final set to emerge as a winner and book the place in the second round.

Both players struggled to find the pace in their games, hitting 16 double faults in total and creating 26 break points overall. Anna Karolina had to defend 15 break chances and she did that on nine occasions, consolidating her game in the final set to pull the best serves when she needed them the most.

Falconi faced 11 break points and she was also broken six times, including two in the third set that pushed her away from the finish line. We saw six breaks of serve in the middle of the opening set, three on each side, and it was Schmiedlova who carved another one in game 12 to steal the opener 7-5.

She was 5-3 up and served for the set but Falconi made one last push to break back and prolong the set, only to give her serve away when she needed the best possible initial shots. The second set produced a completely different outcome and the better performance from Irina, staying unbroken and reaching some 11 deuces in three return games, breaking Schmiedlova every time to deliver a bagel and enter the deciding set with the initiative on her side.

The Czech got it back with an early break, opening a 3-1 lead and saving two break points in game five to increase the advantage to 4-1. She sealed the deal with another break in game six and the match was in her hands after a solid hold in game seven that sent her into the last 16. First round results:

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