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24 Jan 2018 9:02
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Tennis

    Gorges triumphs as rain blights Classic

    Julia Gorges has progressed to the second round of the ASB Classic at the end of a rain-affected opening day of tennis in Auckland.


    German second seed Julia Gorges has survived an ASB Classic first-round battle of attrition to topple Puerto Rican opponent Monica Puig 6-4 4-6 6-2 in Auckland.

    In a match that didn't finish until 1.20am (NZT) due to earlier rain delays, the world No.14 Gorges eventually ground down her spirited opponent.

    Smacking 13 aces across the three sets, Gorges bludgeoned her way to a first-set triumph only to blunder at the back of the second.

    But the 29-year-old's experience and grunt - notwithstanding an extraordinary 71 unforced errors - ultimately saw her through the decider.

    Gorges said she was just relieved to get over the line in what will likely be considered one of the best Classic matches of 2018.

    It was her first victory over Puig, the 2016 Olympic gold medallist.

    "It was a very good match - I'm just happy to be in the second round. The serve, it's one of the weapons I have and I try to keep it up in the important points as well, sometimes you get some free points," Gorges said.

    "I'm quite tired, my eyes are pretty heavy."

    Goerges' victory capped off a mammoth opening day at the 2018 Classic, with intermittent afternoon rain ruining tournament schedules.

    In what must be a depressingly familiar scenario for Classic organisers and director Karl Budge, Auckland's New Year's Day weather was at its fickle worst.

    The heavens opened at about 2pm on Monday afternoon and dashed hopes of an extended run of play, barring a 45-minute mid-afternoon stint.

    The irregular rain halted the match between Croatian Donna Vekic and Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in its tracks, with the latter holding a first-set 3-1 lead.

    Flipkens eventually won 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-4 in a little over two and a half hours, with their match recommencing after 8.30pm.

    As a result of the rain, Kiwis Jade Lewis, Paige Mary Hourigan and Erin Routliffe will play their respective doubles games on Tuesday, as will Italian Sara Errani.

    Tuesday's bumper schedule will thus include matches involving Lewis, Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Lauren Davis and Agnieszka Radwanska.

    "This is not foreign to them, they know this - we probably feel it a lot more than they do, given it's once a year we have to worry about this," Budge said.

    "It's just another day for them, waiting to play some tennis."

    Earlier, Croatian Petra Martic managed to shrug off the first rain delay of the day to finish off Czech prodigy Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets.

    The 26-year-old world No.90 won 7-6 (7-2) 6-3.

    The 18-year-old Vondrousova - the youngest player in the WTA's top 100 - was expected to make waves in Auckland, but instead crashed out early.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity


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