No.6 seed Sorana Cirstea came back from 6-2, 2-0 down to defeat home favorite Andrea Petkovic in the first round of the Nürnberger Versicherungscup, 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5). "I'm very happy with the win - not so happy about my game, but sometimes when there are days like this, you have to fight and keep going," Cirstea said.
The German, who was the runner-up in Nurnberg in 2013, when she lost in the final to Simona Halep, won more points but still worsened her win-loss record in third-set tiebreaks to 9-13. In the tenth game Cirstea saved a crucial break point before completing the second comeback win of the season.
"It was definitely not easy. Andrea is a very good friend of mine and a great girl. I tried to focus on the match and not on the crowd, but they're so well-behaved with fair play. I love to play here and that's one of the reasons I keep coming back because the people are so amazing" added Cirstea as the WTA website reported, after she maintained her unbeaten record in tiebreaks this season.
She will now face American Madison Brengle, who beat her in their lone previous meeting. Heather Watson ended her eight-match losing streak just in time for the start of the French Open. The Brit completed the first main draw win since reaching the semi-finals of January's Hobart International by beating Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3 3-6 7-6(3) to reach the second round.
Watson, who has just played in Prague in the European season on red clay, managed to regain confidence against the Ukrainian. Bondarenko hasn't registered back to back WTA main draw wins since the Australian Open third round, though she reached the final of the lower tier tournament in Indian Wells ($125K level).
Watson will face for the first time Hungarian qualifier Fanny Stollar, aiming for the third win in the last eight matches against top 100 opponents. The Brit, starting as the clear favorite, owns a 10-2 record in the last 12 against players ranked outside the top 200.
Johanna Larsson stunned Christina McHale 6-3 6-0, winning eight of ten close games. The Swede completed her first win in three meetings claiming 74% of first serve points and 73% of second serve return points, to seal the third quarter-final of the season after Bogota and Budapest. She will face Krystina Pliskova to clinch the maiden WTA semi-final in 2018.