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With tennis' big names absent, Andrea Petkovic leads German surge

Petkovic, Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisicki, all German and ranked in the top 25, grab the early spotlight at Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad, which lost several top players before it even started.

August 02, 2011|By Matt Stevens
  • Andrea Petkovic lunges to return a shot during her victory over Alexa Glatch at the Mercury Insurance Open on Tuesday.
Andrea Petkovic lunges to return a shot during her victory over Alexa Glatch… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

The Mercury Insurance Open experienced a mass exodus of top players before the tournament even started, but the top Germans apparently didn't get the memo.

Kim Clijsters isn't here and neither are defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova or new Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. That has left headlining duties to such players as Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges and Sabine Lisicki.

All three Germans are ranked in the top 25 and having career years. Petkovic made the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, Goerges won an event in Stuttgart, and Lisicki is fresh off a run to the Wimbledon semifinals.

On Tuesday two of the three impressively won their opening matches at La Costa Resort and Spa.

Lisicki was simply too good for Greta Arn in a first-round match, winning, 6-0, 6-2. Then in the nightcap, the second-seeded Petkovic defeated Alexa Glatch of Newport Beach, 6-3, 6-4, in the second round.

Goerges will look to keep the German dominance going Wednesday morning against 18-year-old Floridian Sloane Stephens, who defeated Shuai Zhang, 6-4, 6-2, on the grandstand court Tuesday.

"This year has been incredible for German tennis," Lisicki said. "We're all working hard and getting up there."

Nos. 1 and 3 survive

Top-seeded Vera Zvonareva and 2010 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska had tougher-than-expected opening matches, though both won in straight sets in the second round.

Zvonareva needed nearly two hours to knock out 37-year-old Jill Craybas, gaining a late service break in each set to win, 6-4, 7-5. Earlier in the day, the third-seeded Radwanska had to grind out a tough second set to top Elena Baltacha, 6-0, 7-6 (4).

Zvonareva's serve was never broken in the match, while many Craybas service games went at least to deuce. Zvonareva finally earned two break points in the 11th game of the second set with a forehand winner down the line. Zvonareva hit long to squander the first break point, but Craybas netted a forehand on the second. Zvonareva led, 6-5, and served out the match.

Baltacha went up a break early in the second set against Radwanska, but struggled to hold her serve the rest of the way. Radwanska finally broke back to 5-5, and the players held serve to force the tiebreaker.

"I'm very happy the way I closed this match in two sets," Radwanska said.

Zvonareva, Radwanska and Petkovic became the first three players to advance to the third round.

Other results

Maria Kirilenko of Russia, seeded 11th, defeated Rebecca Marino of Canada, 6-3, 6-2. . . . Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan defeated Gisela Dulko of Argentina in the first match of the day on the Stadium Court, 7-5, 6-0.

matthew.stevens@latimes.com

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