Stanford’s Mallory Burdette stood shot-for-shot with the world’s ninth-ranked player for almost an entire set Thursday before her opponent, Marion Bartoli, won 11 straight games to claim the second-round match at the Bank of the West Classic.
The contest, held at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center, was only Burdette’s second WTA-level match; she won her first two days earlier, earning the chance to face the tournament’s second seed, Bartoli, a three-time finalist.
“I think she had good spirit on the court, she handled herself extremely well,” Bartoli said.
Burdette, who’s won back-to-back NCAA doubles titles at Stanford, jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in the opening set by holding her serve and capitalizing on a string of unforced errors. After Bartoli snatched the eighth game, Burdette found herself serving for the set twice, but she couldn’t nail down that last point. Then, in deuce, she double-faulted before losing the game on a forehand that sailed long.
“I am a little bit disappointed, I think I had my chances there in the first set,” Burdette said. “It’s just a testament to how great of a player she is.”
Bartoli captured the next three games to win the set and then overwhelmed Burdette in the second, winning all six games on her way to victory.
“She played at a much higher level in the second set and I definitely felt that,” Burdette said.
Burdette and Cardinal teammate Nicole Gibbs landed wild-card berths into the tournament by virtue of being Stanford students. Like Burdette, Gibbs, the defending NCAA singles and doubles champion, won her first-ever WTA contest in the opening round Tuesday, but she was eliminated in straight sets by top-ranked Serena Williams on Wednesday.
Williams, who’s coming off of her fifth career Wimbledon title last week, will face sixth-seeded Chanelle Scheepers of Russia in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. tonight. The semifinals will be held Saturday, followed by the championship final on Sunday.
Despite her disappointment, Burdette, a senior, said the experience is going to benefit her when she embarks on a professional career after graduation.
“Usually in college tennis, I’m the one who’s more in control of the points,” Burdette said. “So, this was new to me — to be on the run. It was fun, I enjoyed it.”
In other action, Urszula Radwanska knocked off eighth-seeded Marina Erakovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 and ninth-seeded Sorana Cirstea toppled Saisai Zheng 6-3, 6-3.