Carlsbad, California: US Olympian Christina McHale saved a set point and then used a late service break to pull off a 7-6 (5), 7-5 win over Jarmila Gajdosova in the first-round of the Mercury Insurance Open on Tuesday.
McHale, the No. 5 seed, struggled against the Australian, and both players held serve late into each set. But McHale took advantage of Gajdosova's mistakes to claim the tiebreak and hit some late winners to claim the victory.
"It wasn't easy out there," said McHale, who pulled out of Stanford last week with a sinus infection. "Jarmila played really well, especially served really well. I was just happy to be able to pull that one out."
McHale's second-round opponent will be Japan's Misaki Doi.
No. 7 seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium dropped the first set 7-6 (6) to qualifier Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan before retiring with a lower back injury. Chan advanced to a second-round meeting with Britain's Heather Watson, who was a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Greece's Eleni Daniilidou.
American Vania King defeated Kai-Chen Chang of Taiwan 6-1, 6-4, setting up a clash with top-seeded Marion Bartoli of France, who had a first-round bye.
Likewise, second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia had a bye, and in round two she will take on Marina Erakovic of New Zealand, who beat Anne Keothavong of Great Britain 6-4, 6-0.
Hungarian veteran Melinda Czink beat qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, and her second-round opponent will be third-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.