Photo: Hedeson AlvesBeatriz Haddad Maia (BRA)
Brazilian girls gave the home crowd reason to cheer on day two at the 29th Copa Gerdau in Brazil. Without a home winner in since 1996 when Mariam D’Agostini took the title, the Grade A has not traditionally been a happy hunting ground for the home girls. However, this year Beatriz Haddad Maia, Laura Pigossi and Samantha Czarniak Rego are looking to buck the trend and all secured victories to take them into the second round.
Beatriz Haddad Maia, seeded 12, is making her third appearance and made a confident start to her campaign with a 64 61 victory over Ukrainian Marianna Zakarlyuk. The 15-year-old has been working hard on her preparations for the event.
"It’s a strong tournament. Playing at home, on centre court, all adds to the pressure, but I have worked hard to achieve my goals. It’s a very high level and all matches will be complicated. Today I started playing tentatively but gradually I relaxed and started to play point by point. I’ll try to go as far in the competition".
Haddad Maia’s compatriot Laura Pigossi secured her second round spot by defeating Paraguay’s Camila Giangreco Campiz 62 26 63. Seeded 13 the Brazilian was satisfied with her first round performance.
“I played very well in the first set and took advantage of my opponent’s mistakes". Despite losing her form slightly in the second set she was able to come back in the third set. “In the third, I went back to my game and stayed positive all the time."
Next up for Pigossi is Belgian Kimberley Zimmermann, who defeated Mexican Alejandra Cisneros in a three set thriller 63 67 75. “I watched the girls and for sure I will have another very difficult match but it’s like we always say: you have to think game by game.
In the boys draw there were some surprises as seeds tumbled, the highest to succumb fifth seed Herkko Pollanen who was defeated by Brazilian qualifier Diogo Alves Casa 26 75 75. Also out are number nine seed Enzo Couacaud (FRA), 14th seed Mackenzie Mcdonald (USA) and 15th seed Jakub Oravec (FIN).