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Defending Champ Survives

Vera Dushevina made a shaky but ultimately successful start to her Istanbul title defense.

Published July 26, 2010 12:00

Defending Champ Survives
Vera Dushevina

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Vera Dushevina's hopes of consecutive Istanbul Cup titles almost met the dust on Monday, but the 23-year-old Russian rallied to overcome rising Croat Petra Martic in three sets, 26 75 63.

"She played so well in the first set, I couldn't do anything and she didn't miss," said Dushevina, who beat Lucie Hradecka in last year's final. "But in the second set I changed my game and found it - she served for the match at 5-4 but I played well and turned it around.

"It was very hot out there," the unseeded Dushevina added. "I found it hard to breathe, and to recover in time between points. It's not the sun here so much, but it's so humid."

Another favorite at the $220,000 tournament, fourth-seeded Yaroslava Shvedova, was not so fortunate. The Kazakh fell to Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland, 64 76(5), her seven double faults causing strife in an otherwise statistically tight match.

But No.6 seed Andrea Petkovic regrouped from her second round loss at Bad Gastein - where she was defending champion - with a relatively straightforward defeat of Turkish wildcard Pemra Ozgen, 62 61. The match was actually closer than the scoreline suggests: Ozgen saved seven of the 12 match points faced, but she was unable to dent the German's powerful delivery, failing to convert on her sole break opportunity.

"This year it's a very strong draw, especially with the Roland Garros champion here," said Petkovic, who reached the semis last year. "It's my first hard-court tournament this summer so I'm really looking forward to playing as many matches as possible and trying to practice a couple of things to prepare for the US Open."

The aforementioned French Open winner, top seed Francesca Schiavone, led Britain's Anne Keothavong 4-0 when their match was suspended in the evening because of rain.

Earlier, the qualifying event was completed, with Eastbourne champion Ekaterina Makarova, Bojana Jovanovski, Marta Domachowska and Julia Schruff securing main draw berths.

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