All the first round matches of the inaugural edition of ATX Open are finished after Tuesday which delivered some interesting settlements and exciting on-court action.
The match between Erika Andreeva and Harriet Dart was an absolute highlight of the afternoon session. Andreeva defeated the Brit in the three-setter which lasted as much as 3:34 hours, and became the longest match in this season's WTA competition so far. The match started with 6 breaks in first 6 games of opening set, which ended up after 80 minutes, won by Andreeva who took the tie-break with a score 7-4. Second one was won by Dart 6-3 and the Brit was very close to turn out as the winner of this match, while having two match-points in third set within a score 5-4 and Andreeva's serve. The Russian defended both breakpoints and broke her opponent in another game, denying the chance of Dart to serve out the victory. The world's number 135 occured to be better in another tie-break and crossed the finished line after an exhausting battle, with a score 7-6(4) 3-6 7-6(3).
Alexandra Potapova - tournament's seed #3 had no problems with defeating Elisabeth Mandlik, winning with the American 6-2 6-0 in just 54 minutes. It made Potapova the highest seed who prevailed in the opening round, while Magda Linette and Shuai Zhang are already out of the tournament. The Chinese was supposed to play against Dart, but withdrew due to illness and got replaced in the main draw by Andreeva, who capitalized her chance with a style. Zhang was not the only one withdrawal on Tuesday, as Lauren Davis was also forced to pull out, due to an injury.
Linette got eliminated on court after being defeated by Varvara Gracheva after 2,5 hours long three-setter. The current Australian Open finalist, seeded with #1, started the match well with an early break, but lost her advantage and Gracheva took the opening set 6-3. Linette fought back in second set, forcing the decider with a score 6-4. The Pole has started third set on a front foot, gaining an early break in first game and leading 2-0, but same as in the opening set, Gracheva leveled the score and moved into the lead in the decisive games, making an upset on the tournament's top seed.
Danielle Collins has not disappointed the crowd who gathered the evening session on the main court in Texas, denying an upset from Magdalena Frech. The tournament's top star, seeded with #4, was a big pre-match favorite with an odd 1.17. The American had not the best time in recent weeks, but her opponent was already looking for her first main draw victory of the season after falling out from the qualifying stages of all the attended tournaments so far in 2023.
The match has not started well for "Danimal", who faced an early break, made the series of unforced errors and was suffering from the service vulnerabilities. Collins felt much more comfortable after a few games and made up the early gap, with seemingly clicking the gear, showing some fabulous winners and raising up the level of her game. The American was very close to take the opening set with having a setpoint within Frech's serve in 12th game, but the Pole cleared this danger, forcing the tiebreak. Danielle was composed and concentrated from the start of tiebreak, where both players started with a couple of winning services. Collins was the first to gain minibreak advantage and was going to close the set with three set-points in her tally. Two of them were saved by Frech by her serve and the world's number 105 managed to force errors from the favorized opponent in following points, coming out of nowhere to take this set from Collins with a score 9-7 in tiebreak.
"Danimal" has not discouraged herself, regrouping well after a painful set loss. Collins started to show her on-court dominance by overpowering her rival, utilizing her weapons well and operating much more cleverly than in opening set in terms of shots selection. 6-2 for Collins forced the decider. The American was putting the pressure on Frech from the start, but was lacking the composure during breakpoints created by herself, facing a great counter-punching from the Pole. Danielle was showing some nerves by throwing her racquet on the court a few times, clearly wanting to take the win in front of the crowd who was cheering for her throughout whole the match. The American waited for her chance to the 7th game when she broke Frech for the first time. Once the match was seemingly coming to the end, the Pole replied with the break in 8th game, but the more experienced Collins did not disappoint in the decisive moments, winning two following games and advancing into second round with a score 6-7(7) 6-2 6-4.
Danielle was very grateful for the home crowd after the match, appreciating the effort of the tournament's hosts, who made their best to prepare the inaugural edition of ATX Open, providing the best possible conditions for both the players and fans. Collins will face Caty Mcnally in the top clash of second round. The semifinalist of last week's Merida Open defeated the qualifier Ashley Krueger in straight sets 6-4 6-3.