Daniilidou Suffers First Defeat at Auckland
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A two-year run by Eleni Daniilidou at the ASB Classic came to an end on Tuesday in Auckland as the defending champion fell in three sets.
The No.3 seeded Greek player, who had won the last two titles at the event, was upset in her first round match, falling to Italian Mara Santangelo, 62 16 61.
"I got here very early and I felt very good," Daniilidou said. "I'm just very disappointed with this kind of match."
The loss by Daniilidou was the first time in 11 matches at the event that she's suffered a defeat. Santangelo knew her first match of the year would be tough, having to play a two-time defending champion, but didn't expect to walk away with a win.
"I didn't expect to win this match at all," Santangelo said. "She's a great player. She's won here twice. I'm so happy, I played great tennis."
Santangelo will next take on Israeli qualifier Shahar Peer, who reached the second round with a 63 46 63 victory against Japan's Akiko Morigami.
Daniilidou wasn't the only seeded player to fall on Day 2 in Auckland, as No.6 Kristina Brandi and No.8 Alina Jidkova also suffered defeats in their first matches of 2005. Brandi could only muster three games in a lopsided 61 62 defeat to qualifier Janette Husarova, while Jidkova fell to Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik, 63 46 63.
Despite battling a nasty cold and a fever, No.2 seed Jelena Jankovic avoided the addition of an 'L' to her win-loss record in her season debut, defeating Claudine Schaul, 75 62. Jankovic did not practice for the three days leading up to her first match of the week, but still managed to display enough to advance into the second round.
"(I did) not have much energy and I (felt) very weak and slow on the court," Jankovic said. "It was really tough on the court, but I think I played okay."
No.4 seed Shinobu Asagoe also advanced to the asecond round in straight sets with a 64 61 victory against Tatiana Perebiynis.
New Zealand wildcard Marina Erakovic pleased the home crowd by winning her first round match against Canadian qualifier Marie-Eve Pelletier, sweating out a 46 75 63 victory in 2 hours, 41 minutes.
The 16-year-old, who was making her WTA Tour debut, was confident going into the match that she could win in front of the large home crowd.
"They were really great," said Erakovic of the crowd support. "I knew that if I played well, I would have a good chance."
In other first round action, Lucie Safarova blew past Japanese qualifier Yuka Yoshida, 60 61 in just 44 minutes, Jill Craybas defeated countrywoman Melien Tu, 62 62 and Spain's Nuria Llagostera Vives moved past Anne Kremer, 63 63.
Disappointing start of the year!!!