Marion Bartoli, seeded sixth in the Western and Southern Open being played in Cincinnati this week as part of the run up series to the US Open, certainly was not at her energetic best when she served a total of thirteen double faults in her straight set defeat to Johanna Larsson in the second round of the tournament, with the young Swede winning 6-2 6-4.
In other matches, involving seeded players in the top half of the draw contested under a scorching sun and energy sapping 70% humidity, Sam Stosur, the number three seed, was taken the distance in her match against the crafty Spaniard, Anabel Madina Garrigues, eventually coming out on top 6-3 6-7 (8-6) 6-4 in over two and a half hours. Stosur held match point at 6-5 in the second set, but let it slip and Madina Garrigues, fighting hard for every point, broke back to take the set to a tiebreak, eventually forcing a decider. The game looked to be almost over when the Spaniard raced into a 4-0 lead, but Stosur dug deep and, as she acknowledged in her post match interview, the crowd rallied her to tighten up her game. She then took four games in a row to level and in nail biting rallies which produced a multitude of deuces, she won the next two games to seal the win.
In the third round, Stosur will take on the winner of the match between Anna Tatashvilli, who took out Klara Zakopalva; and Ekatarina Makarova, who won when Nadia Petrova retired injured. Larsson will play either Na Li or Sorana Cirstea.
In the remaining first round match, Venus Williams, unseeded in this tournament, was made to go to a third set against the rapidly improving Maria Kirilenko who was seeded 12, after she dropped her service game when serving for the match at 6-3 6-5. Kirilenko played a great ‘breaker’ to take the second set, but could not hold step with the American in the decider, with Williams booking her place in the second round with a 6-3 6-7 (7-5) 6-2 win.