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01-05-2010, 01:36 AM #1
Wickmayer back on court a winner in wake of Belgian ban reversal
US Open semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer celebrated the overturning of a 2009 ban for missing drug testing dates by earning an opening-day victory to advance Monday at the ASB Classic.
Wickmayer, a wildcard entry after her sanction was reversed only weeks ago, joined Italian top seed Flavia Pennetta in powering through to start the new season.
Third-seed Wickmayer, the world number 16, defeated German Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5 as play began an hour late due to bad weather.
Top seed Pennetta, who last played the event seven years ago, produced a 6-2, 6-4 success over veteran American Jill Craybas.
Wickmayer was relieved to be over her legal ordeal which would have seen her banned for a year for missing drug testing.
"I was really happy to play again," the Belgian said. "It's been a tough time for me, so it was nice to be on the court again to compete.
"It was a pretty tough match. I knew her from before and knew I had to be very aggressive, otherwise she was going to do it. I was the most aggressive on the important points and, physically, a bit better today."
Wickmayer next faces either Romanian Ioana Raluca Olaru or British qualifier Elena Baltacha.
Pennetta said she overcame nerves in the early stages of her contest.
"I was really nervous in the beginning, it's tough to start the year with everyone expecting so many things.
"I am really happy because I didn't play my best tennis, but I was able to get through this match. Maybe the next day I will play much better... I hope so."
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