Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli has moved through to the second round at Australian Open 2013 after a hard-fought win over dangerous floater Anabel Medina Garrigues.
The match was an extremely tough affair despite the relatively routine-looking 6-2 6-4 scoreline, with the 11th seed requiring one hour and 40 minutes to subdue her Spanish opponent.
Bartoli, in customary style, began aggressively, clubbing two winners on her way to an immediate service break.
She was given plenty of chances when receiving as the set progressed, pouncing all over Medina Garrigues’ slow, short delivery, and in the fifth game, smacking a crosscourt forehand winner to break for a 4-1 lead.
The eighth game proved decisive, a 17-minute epic of searching rallies and 11 deuces. Medina Garrigues accrued five break points before Bartoli eventually clinched the set on her seventh set point, the Frenchwoman overcoming seven double faults throughout the 52-minute stanza.
“I always felt like I had a bit of an advantage physically maybe on Anabel. I felt really good, I didn’t feel tired at all … so I felt I was a bit stronger than her, and that helped me to get through,” Bartoli said.
“I think it was important to fight right until the end, especially in that first set and really show her that I was ready for anything.”
The wind appeared to go out of Medina Garrigues’ sails as she slumped to a 0-3 deficit in the second set. Yet the gritty Spaniard rallied, breaking back in the fourth game before holding serve to draw scores back to 2-3.
That was where the run stopped. Bartoli continued to climb all over anything short from the world No.52 – much to Medina Garrigues’ frustration – and kept her nose in front, standing several metres inside the baseline to receive the Spaniard’s second serve and pounding another winner to break for 5-2.
Medina Garrigues, a former world No.16, staved off defeat by breaking serve in the eighth game and then holding in the next, bringing scores back to 5-4 and increasing the tension of the match.
Yet Bartoli steadied, playing aggressively and consistently despite the windy conditions and forcing errors from her opponent to bring up three match points.
She only needed one, clobbering a crosscourt backhand winner and fist-pumping in the direction of her players’ box, her position in the second round secure.
“I know Anabel is a tough competitor so I knew she wouldn’t give up and she would fight right to the end, but I’m very pleased with the way I’m playing today,” Bartoli said.
The Frenchwoman will next play Serbia’s Vesna Dolonc.