French teenager Kristina Mladenovic delighted home fans as she clawed her way back from the brink of defeat to beat seventh-seeded Julia Goerges 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(4) Tuesday in a first round upset at the Open GDF Suez.
Goerges, ranked 19th, seemed set for victory, with the German serving for the match at 5-3 up in the third, but Mladenovic forced a tie break.
It is only the second time that 19-year-old Mladenovic has beaten a top 20 player.
Mladenovic, who is ranked No. 87, will face either Yanina Wickmayer or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
”It’s already my nicest victory this season,” Mladenovic said. ”Even better looking at the circumstances: here at Coubertin in front of my family, my friends, against Julia who is in the top 20 and just after I found out I’d been picked for the Fed Cup.
”I’m really happy. It was tough from start to finish.”
Compatriot Alize Cornet also progressed, beating Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. Cornet, who raced into a 5-0 lead before Arvidsson fought back, will face either Lucie Safarova or Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
Fifth-seeded Roberta Vinci cruised through to the next round, taking less than an hour to see off Simona Halep of Romania 6-0, 6-3.
Vinci, fresh from winning the doubles at the Australian Open, served up seven aces on her way to victory.
The Italian will next face Mona Barthel of Germany.
Also, Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro beat Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-3, 7-6(3) and Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland defeated Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-2.
Voegele will face second-seeded Petra Kvitova in the second round. Navarro meets eighth-seeded Klara Zakopalova.