When it came to selecting replacements for players departing for the Olympics, Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein said the organization put more stock in character than rankings. In the opening round of the Citi Open on Monday, one of those Kastles pickups, Edina Gallovits-Hall, showed why with a victory that was more about will than skill.
With Ein seated courtside, the unseeded Gallovits-Hall pulled off a mild upset of No. 5 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. In a seesaw battle, Gallovits-Hall broke three times in the final set while yielding two breaks of her own serve.
Gallovits-Hall, a Romanian of Hungarian descent (father's side), often screamed at herself in one of her native languages, showing her perfectionist side. But her anger seemed to sharpen her focus as she repeatedly bounced back, using well-placed ground strokes. In the key break in the final set she got winners on a drop shot, then a lob.
The key game came after a visit from her coach and husband, Bryce Hall.
"I don't know," Hall said when asked his sage advice. "I forget what I said."
- Kevin Dunleavy