Maria scored another hard-fought win over Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in her first match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany. Maria won 7-6 6-7 7-6 in three hours and 23 minutes.
The first set lasted 61 minutes as both players held all their service games and the set was decided by a tie-break which Maria won 7-5 when Safarova hit a shot long.
In the second set, Safarova built a 3-0 one break lead. Maria got that break back and again the set was decided by a tie-break which Safarova won 7-5.
Maria raced into a 5-1 lead in the deciding set and looked on the verge of victory but Safarova won six of the next seven games to force a third tie-break. Maria booked her spot in round two as she won the tie-break 7-2.
In Thursday’s second round match, Maria will play world no.25 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. Maria has played the 22-year-old twice before and the series is tied 1-1. Here are the matches they have played against each other:
2010 Cincinnati SF: Maria won 6-4 3-6 6-2
2014 Paris SF: Pavlyuchenkova won 4-6 6-3 6-4