Former Champ Lisicki Prevails, Local Hope Rogers Falters
By: Nick McCarvel
For the first time in two years, Charleston got to see Sabine Lisicki’s sparkling smile again.
A winner here in 2009, Lisicki was forced to skip the Volvo Car Open a year ago. But back on court Monday, Lisicki shined brightest during the match, holding off American Irina Falconi 6-4, 6-3.
The main draw got underway in full on Monday at the Family Circle Tennis Center, with wins from seeds Daria Gavrilova and Kristina Mladenovic, two up-and-coming personalities on the WTA.
Shelby Rogers, a former ball crew member here and Mount Pleasant native, engaged in a three-set tussle with Lara Arruabarrena, only to falter 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
"It's such a positive thing being here,” said Rogers, who won her opening match here last year. “The fans, whether I win or lose, always support me."
Fans were in full support as Alison Riske and Frances Altick did battle, the Pittsburgh native beating the Vanderbilt senior, who won the collegiate Shape Magazine Invitational here in February. Riske prevailed 6-3, 6-2.
Other winners Monday included Danka Kovinic, 2014 finalist Jana Cepelova and Elena Vesnina, the 2011 runner up. Irina-Camelia Begu, a quarterfinalist here a year ago, won a war of a battle with Caroline Garcia inside Volvo Car Stadium 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(3).
There was an upset of sorts in doubles, as Spaniards Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja knocked out number two seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-2.
Gavrilova is one of the must-watch players on the WTA, a 22-year-old with a strong game who is quick to laugh. Mladenovic, also 22, has found most of her success in doubles, but is building her prowess in singles.
There was no such luck for youngster Christina McHale, the American, who came up short in her match against Lourdes Dominguez Lino in the first match of the day, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.