Only a handful of singles matches unfolded on the first day of the Mercury Insurance Open, but we break them down briefly for you here.
Doi d. Larcher de Brito: Familiar from two or three years ago were the pealing yodels of the Portuguese siren who trains at the Bolletieri Academy and took grunting to an entirely new level. At that stage, the precocious Larcher de Brito looked on the verge of a significant breakthrough, but it hasn’t happened. The regression has occurred largely because of serving woes, which reappeared today as she struck 13 double faults en route to losing a one-set lead. Credit Doi for staying positive after several early opportunities slipped away, and for dominating behind her first serve in the final set. Realistically, though, she received a great deal of assistance today, much more than she will in the later rounds.
Lepchenko d. Gibbs: The reigning NCAA women’s champion, Gibbs showed spirit in winning a WTA main-draw match at Stanford last week. She even accepted the inevitable rout by Serena with a Californian’s good cheer, talking about how much she relished the experience of facing one of the game’s legends on her home court. Less memorable for her was a comfortable loss to Lepchenko, who has compiled perhaps the strongest resume of American women outside the Williams sisters this year. Thrilled to qualify for the Olympics, Lepchenko has stayed impressively focused rather than slipping into complacency after overachievement.
Glatch d. Davis: Neither the qualifier nor the wildcard harbored legitimate hopes of advancing deep into this draw, so their match contained few meaningful implications. Glatch struck a startling 10 aces and faced just two break points in the match (conceding one), so she must gain confidence for the next round against a similarly heavy server in Petrova. In just eight service games, Davis hit no fewer than 88 serves, excluding lets. Only one won her a free point.
U. Radwanska d. Hantuchova: Likely to stir regret in male spectators, the leggy Slovak failed to profit from her wildcard in San Diego, where she found herself tasked with a challenging draw. The critical moment of the first set came in the sixth game, just after the younger Radwanska had broken her opponent. Seeking to consolidate, she saved four break points before consolidating her lead, and never did she encounter serious trouble for the rest of the set. Unable to consolidate in a similar position early in the second set, Hantuchova struggled to find her groove despite maintaining a strong first-serve percentage, while her opponent again met the moment with maturiy when it mattered. Suddenly on a surge after she reached the final at the Dutch Open, Urszula may have found inspiration from her sister's achievement at Wimbledon in overcoming the sixth seed, who may find herself unseeded at the US Open.