Vaidisova Crushes Rezai In Paris; Schnyder Stumbles

Posted on February 7, 2007

PARIS, France - Nicole Vaidisova kept up her solid early-season form while Patty Schnyder was unexpectedly sent packing, as first round action continued at the Open Gaz de France. They were the only seeds in action Tuesday.

Vaidisova, the No.5 seed, dominated France's Aravane Rezai in just 50 minutes, 62 61. She won over three quarters of the points on her serve (never facing a break point) and was impressive on the return, breaking Rezai a total of four times in the match. It was a stark contrast to their only previous meeting, a 61 67(6) 60 victory for Vaidisova at Roland Garros last year, when the French teenager overcame a 61 52 deficit and match point to push it to three sets.

It has been an excellent beginning to the year for Vaidisova. She is 9-2 thus far, making semifinals at Sydney (beating Daniela Hantuchova and Ana Ivanovic along the way) and the Australian Open (defeating Elena Dementieva). Her only two losses, which were both very close, have come to players who have been on absolute fire - Jelena Jankovic in Sydney and Serena Williams in Melbourne.

The same could not be said about the No.6-seeded Schnyder, who was beaten by qualifier Ekaterina Bychkova, 36 64 63. Bychkova stayed with Schnyder from the baseline for nearly two hours, grinding it out with solid crosscourts and better play on the big points (she was 4/6 on break points while the Swiss was 3/11).

The win over the No.11-ranked Schnyder was Bychkova's third ever Top 20 win. The Russian's first came against a No.19-ranked Francesca Schiavone at an ITF Circuit event in 2004; her second came at the US Open two years ago, stunning a No.5-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova, the defending champion, in the first round.

Five more players won first round matches on Tuesday, namely Frenchwomen Camille Pin and Nathalie Dechy (pictured), Katarina Srebotnik, Martina Müller, and another young Czech standout, Lucie Safarova.

Vaidisova and Schnyder were the second and third seeds to take the court this week; No.7 seed Dinara Safina was the first, winning her opening round Monday. Three more seeds - No.1 Justine Henin, No.3 Svetlana Kuznetsova and No.8 Anna Chakvetadze - all play their first matches on Wednesday. No.2 Amélie Mauresmo and No.4 Nadia Petrova will debut on Thursday. (WTA)