Teenagers led the way at the Open 6ème Sens – Métropole de Lyon on Wednesday, with 18-year old Clara Tauson and 19-year old Clara Burel advancing, while No 2 seed Fiona Ferro benefitted from the retirement of her opponent.
It’s only the second time I have played a top 50 player, so I don’t have a lot of experience with that, but we can say it’s gone well these two times. Going into these matches, I just try to play as free as I can and show what I can do. I actually called my dad after the match and he said: ‘What, did you win?’. Clara Tauson
France’s Ferro was leading Tereza Martincova 6-2, 4-1 when her Czech opponent retired with a back problem.
Denmark’s Tauson, who came through qualifying and took out the top seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round on Monday, beat Timea Babos from Hungary, 6-2 6-3.
The former top-ranked junior dominated behind her first delivery against the former Top 30 player, winning 79 percent of her first-serve points, and punctuating her win with an ace to convert match point.
The 18-year-old Dane had to come back from behind in each set, though, as Babos earned an immediate break to take a 2-0 lead in the opener, after which Tauson reeled off 6 consecutive games with 3 breaks of her own to win it.
Babos broke serve again in the 3rd game to take a 2-1 lead but Tauson got back on track in the 4th to draw level at 2-2 and then took 3 games in a row from 3-all, and breaking in the eighth game to win the match.
“It’s only the second time I have played a top 50 player, so I don’t have a lot of experience with that, but we can say it’s gone well these two times,” Tauson said. “Going into these matches, I just try to play as free as I can and show what I can do.
“I actually called my dad after the match and he said: ‘What, did you win?’
“She has won so many matches indoors. I had hoped that I would be drawn to play either her or Fiona Ferro because they are two really good players.
“I definitely want to play Simona Halep. She is just a champion. She plays 100 percent every tournament she plays and no matter what the score, she is always there.
“I love watching Petra Kvitova play. I want to play like her.”
Tauson set up a quarter final against Camila Giorgi, who came back from a set down to Nina Stojanovic from Serbia, 1-6 6-1 7-5, after 2 hours and 22 minutes.
Giorgi earned her second break of the 3rd set in the 7th game, but Stojanovic broke back to draw level at 5-all.
The Italian saved 2 match points at 5-6, 15-40 to hold serve at deuce, failed to convert her first match point at 6-4, but secured the win on her second chance at 7-5.
Another former Junior World No 1 Clara Burel up-ended Alizé Cornet, 6-1 1-6 6-3, in an all-French encounter, scoring the best win of her career in terms of ranking.
Burel created a 4-0 lead with a double break in the 3rd set, but Cornet pulled the break back to 3-4 before the 19-year old converted her 3rd break point on the 4th deuce to win the decider and set up a match against Bulgaria’s Aliaksandra Sasnovich for a spot in the quarter-final.
The young Frenchwoman, who reached an ITF Challenger final in Poitiers, France, last week, coughed up double-faults and and a missed smash to enable Cornet’s pull-back, before producing excellent forehand winners to steer her to victory after two hours of play.
In other matches at Lyon on Wednesday, Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic won her first-round match against Vera Lapko, 5-7 6-4 6-3, and meets home favourite Caroline Garcia, the No 3 seed, on Thursday.