Tennis: Seventh seed departs ASB Classic

By Kris Shannon

Garbine Muguruza of Spain defeated American Christina McHale in straight sets to advance to the second round. Photo / Getty
Garbine Muguruza of Spain defeated American Christina McHale in straight sets to advance to the second round. Photo / Getty

The first seed fell on the opening day of the ASB Classic, with Mona Barthel defeated in straight sets today at Stanley St.

But No 5 seed Jamie Hampton avoided a similar fate, bouncing back from a 6-1 reverse in the first set against Tamira Paszek to claim the match in three.

Hampton excelled as the afternoon wore on, dominating the second and forcing Paszek to blink first during a tight third. Ranked No 28 in the world, Hampton could be a contender for her first career title if she manages to avoid the wobbles which plagued her opening set.

The American appeared all out of sorts early on, making only half of her first serves and being broken twice as Paszek seized the intiative. But Hampton recovered in fine fashion in the second, snatching all three of Paszek's service games to win 6-0 and turn the match on its head.

The pair remained on serve in the third but, after the sixth game was disrupted by rain, Hampton managed two straight breaks of Paszek's serve to complete the comeback.

Barthel, the seventh seed, had no such revivial of her own, falling 6-4 6-3 against the 49th-ranked Yvonne Meusburger. The Austrian took advantage of seven double faults from the world No 34 Barthel, emerging with a win which could have come even quicker had the German not managed to save nine of 14 break points.

After a morning frequently interrupted by drizzle, the pair enjoyed largely fine conditions but the outlook was far from sunny for Barthel, who last year progressed to the semifinals of the event.

Meanwhile, in the opening match on centre court, Garbine Muguruza of Spain defeated American Christina McHale in straight sets to advance to the second round.

The encounter looked tight on paper - the world No 63 taking on an opponent ranked three places below her - but the higher-ranked Spaniard took the match 6-4 6-3.

Muguruza jumped out to an early advantage, breaking McHale's first service game and, after McHale broke back late in the set, Muguruza won another game off the American's serve to take the first. It was more of the same in the second, with Muguruza's two breaks proving enough to win the set and the match.

Muguruza described the result as the perfect end to a year disrupted by ankle surgery, which kept her out of action since Wimbledon

"I'm just so happy I could play without pain and I felt really good on the court," she said. "I was so nervous playing on centre court. I almost forgot what the score was and I was lost a little bit."

- APNZ

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