U.S. Olympian Christina McHale saved a set point, then used a late service break to pull out 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.''
American CoCo Vandeweghe, fresh off losing to Serena Williams last week in her first WTA final, will play No. 8 seed Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa in the night match.
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.
The 20-year-old McHale was traili...