The biggest shock of the Palermo Ladies Open came on Tuesday when qualifier Kaja Juvan rallied past second seed Marketa Vondrousova 1-6, 7-5, 6-4. The Slovenian, who had to qualify for the main draw, scored her first top 20 win and will face Camila Giorgi in the second round.
Juvan gets by past Vondrousova in big surprise
Nerves showed right away as Juvan faced two break points in the opening game of the match and after saving the first, she dumped a drop shot into the bottom of the net to hand Vondrousova the early edge.
The Czech was effectively using her own drop shot, twice hitting them for winners, as she moved into a 3-1 lead and after a forehand went wide for the Slovenian, Vondrousova was in front by a double break.
She closed out the opening set after Juvan netted a backhand. The world number 121 was out of the blocks quickly in the second set, handed the break after a double fault by the reigning Roland Garros finalist.
Juvan would extend her lead, achieving a second break from 40-15 down and after saving a two break points, she was in front 4-0 and seemingly had the set wrapped up. The Czech then displayed the form that carried her to the championship match in Paris last year, running off five consecutive games to stand within a game of victory.
A hold by the qualifier leveled the match at 5-5 and some nifty volleying put her ahead 0-30 on the Vondrousova serve. After saving a game point, she was ahead after the Czech fired backhand into the middle of the net and serving out the set, she raced to a 40-15 lead, converting on her second chance with an ace to level the match at a set apiece.
A quick start was in order for Juvan as Vondrousova double-faulted on break point and she achieved a double break lead after a good low return forced another backhand error from the world number 18. A further hold boosted her lead to 4-0.
Much like the second set, Vondrousova rallied, cutting into the Juvan lead, retrieving one of the breaks, but she wasn't able to come all the way back and at 5-4, forced a final backhand error on her second match point to record the biggest victory of her young career.