Auckland: Top seed Sabine Lisicki overcame a 90-minute delay for heavy rain that halted her momentum to scratch out a tough three-set victory over fellow German Mona Barthel in the second round of the Auckland Classic.
The 22-year-old had broken Barthel to take a 6-5 lead in the first set and seemed to be getting on top of the match before rain swept across central Auckland and forced the players from the court.
They returned about 90 minutes later but the momentum the world number 15 had before the break also dissipated and she was broken to force the set into a tie-break, which she won 7-3.
Barthel rallied to overcome a 0-2 deficit in the second set as neither player seemed to able to hold serve, and Lisicki`s swinging second serve on set point down failed to find the centre line, forcing a decider.
Lisicki raced out to a 3-0 lead in the final set, which was more than enough of an advantage for her to hang on to and she sealed victory on her second match point when Barthel`s backhand cross court smacked into the net.
"I improved from my last match, which I knew I had to," Lisicki told reporters. "I still didn`t play consistently enough to win in two sets, but the most important thing when you don`t play your best tennis is still to find a way to win."
The other seeded players in the second round were not so lucky in the day session with only fourth seed Flavia Pennetta advancing to the quarter-finals after she beat Briton Elena Baltacha 6-4, 6-2.
Second seed Peng Shuai, fifth seed Julia Goerges, sixth seed Roberta Vinci and eighth seed Monica Niculescu all lost.
Third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova was playing American teenager Christina McHale, and seventh seed and 2010 champion Yanina Wickmayer was playing Italy`s Sara Errani to wrap up the action in the night session.
First Published: Wednesday, January 04, 2012, 12:58