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Pavlyuchenkova Takes Winning Feeling to Miami

A new Russian star, and two former top tenners were among the winners on Day 1 in Miami.

Published March 25, 2009 12:00

Pavlyuchenkova Takes Winning Feeling to Miami
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

MIAMI, FL, USA - The players on the bottom half of the Sony Ericsson Open draw played first rounds on Wednesday, but for one Indian Wells standout it was anything but easy on Day 1 of the $4.5-million event.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who was the tournament darling in the desert at the BNP Paribas Open last week, trailed qualifier Aravane Rezai in one of Wednesday's later matches, 64 53, and even faced triple match point in that game as the hard-hitting Frenchwoman tried to serve out the match. But the 17-year-old Russian reeled off nine points in a row to even the second set at 5-5, going on to steal a 46 75 63 victory with a routine third and deciding set.

At Indian Wells, Pavlyuchenkova came out of relative obscurity to make her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles semifinal at one of the most prestigious events there is, notching her first two Top 10 wins - over Jelena Jankovic and Agnieszka Radwanska - along the way. She would fall to Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals.

Although Pavlyuchenkova, at No.27, was by far the highest-ranked player to take the courts on Wednesday, three former Top 10 players who are recovering their rankings were in action too. Nicole Vaidisova, who made it as high as No.7 in the world in 2007, beat qualifier Patricia Mayr, 64 62; Daniela Hantuchova, who made it up to No.5 in 2003, rallied past wildcard Melanie Oudin, 46 63 62; and Jelena Dokic, a former world No.4 and a wildcard herself here, edged Edina Gallovits, 63 76(5). Vaidisova, Hantuchova and Dokic are currently No.71, No.43 and No.80.

Other winners were Maria Kirilenko, Samantha Stosur, Magdalena Rybarikova, Lucie Safarova, Francesca Schiavone, Mathilde Johansson, Galina Voskoboeva and Nuria Llagostera Vives, and qualifiers Tamira Paszek, Anastasiya Yakimova and Mariya Koryttseva and wildcard Anastasia Pivovarova.

The top half of the draw will play first round matches on Thursday.

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