Top Seed Bartoli Falls in Acapulco

Posted on March 1, 2007

ACAPULCO, México - A straight set first round win over an in-form player seemed to be an encouraging sign that one of last year's most improved players, Marion Bartoli, had regained control of her 2007 campaign. But for the seventh time in seven starts, the Frenchwoman was unable to win consecutive matches, falling to Julia Schruff in the second round. She wasn't the only seed to fall.

Bartoli, who won her first three career titles last year and cracked the Top 20 in the fall, was hoping to make her first big run as the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour transitioned to slow red clay in Acapulco. But the No.1 seed struggled from the get go against the crafty Schruff, winning only 13 points in the first set; she pushed hard in the second set but still fell in one hour, 12 minutes.

Schruff is now through to her seventh career quarterfinal on the Tour. She is a one-time finalist, at Estoril in 2003, and has fallen at the quarterfinal stage five times, once in 2005 (Hasselt) and four times last year (Auckland, Canberra, Doha, Palermo). She has now beaten Bartoli in two of their three meetings.

The only one of the top four seeds to reach the quarters was No.2 seed Tathiana Garbin, who benefited from a 64 30 retirement win over Zsofia Gubacsi, when the Hungarian qualifier stopped with a low back strain. France's Emilie Loit ousted No.3-seeded Martina Müller in straight sets, 62 62, while French teenager Alize Cornet downed No.4-seeded compatriot Severine Brémond, 76(3) 62. Müller's upset was not as surprising as the seedings implied, considering Loit has reached the quarterfinals or better in all six of her appearances here now and also won the pair's lone prior encounter with the loss of just two games, 61 61.

Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko, the No.5 and No.6 seeds respectively, were in better form. Pennetta gained revenge for a semifinal defeat in Bogotá last week, crushing fellow Italian Roberta Vinci in just 43 minutes, 60 62; Dulko was in a much tighter bind, facing two set points down 6-5 in the first set and rallying back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set tie-break but prevailing over Spain's Laura Pous Tio, 76(2) 76(7).

Also advancing were Italian qualifier Sara Errani, a 16 63 64 winner over Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, and Mexican wildcard Melissa Torres Sandoval, who beat the Czech Republic's Eva Birnerova, 64 62. Errani has now reached this stage at a Tour event twice, having been a quarterfinalist in Budapest in 2006. Torres Sandoval had never won a main draw match on the Tour prior to this week.

All four quarterfinals are up Thursday. Garbin will face Errani, Pennetta takes on Cornet, Dulko plays Loit and Schruff plays Torres Sandoval. (WTA)