Three-time Defending Champ Medina Garrigues Wins at Palermo

Posted on July 19, 2006

PALERMO, Italy -- Three-time defending champion Anabel Medina Garrigues won her 11th consecutive Internazionali Femminili di Palermo match on Tuesday. The No.2 seed ousted countrywoman Laura Pous Tio, 63 61, to set up a second round encounter with Anastasiya Yakimova.

Medina Garrigues improved her Palermo record to 20-2. The 23-year-old Spaniard collected titles here in 2001, 2004 and 2005 and made the semifinals in 2003. In her last two appearances, she thrashed the field without dropping a set.

"I just feel very comfortable here," said world No.24 Medina Garrigues. "I've always been successful in Palermo and hope that I can have another good run this year."

Although Medina Garrigues is a clay court specialist, she proved that she can also be successful on faster surfaces. Earlier this year, she collected her fifth Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title at an Australian Open tune-up event at Canberra.

No.4 seed Lucie Safarova caught a break in her Palermo debut, advancing to the second round when qualifier Ivana Abramovic retired after the first set due to a left ankle injury. After starting the year on an high note, Safarova's hot streak cooled off. The 19-year-old Czech collected her third and biggest Tour singles title at Gold Coast in January and reached her fifth Tour semifinal at Amelia Island in April. But since then, things have become quiet around the teenager. She made a first round exit at her home event in Prague, fell in Round 2 at Rome and was ousted by a qualifier in the first round of Roland Garros. A rib injury then forced her to withdraw from Wimbledon.

Her next opponent, Eleni Daniilidou, took down Maret Ani, 06 64 64, on Tuesday. The Greek, who upset Justine Henin-Hardenne and Svetlana Kuznetsova last year, just reached her first semifinal of the year at 's-Hertogenbosch.

No.7 seed Iveta Benesova eliminated Antonella Serra Zanetti, 62 75, and will next face Italian qualifier Karin Knapp. No.8 seed Lourdes Dom�uez Lino moved to the second round when fellow Spaniard Mar�Sᮣhez Lorenzo retired with a back injury. She will next face another compatriot, lucky loser Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, who defeated Martina M? 64 64.

Romina Oprandi, Aravene Rezai and Yakimova also won their respective matches on Tuesday. No.1 seed Flavia Pennetta will play Julia Schruff on Wednesday.
-- WTA