Safina Snaps Out Of It
Published August 02, 2010 12:00
SAN DIEGO, CA, USA - The first round of the Mercury Insurance Open kicked off on Monday and the drama didn't take long to arrive, as Alisa Kleybanova and Aravane Rezai duked it out in a see-saw three-setter on Stadium.
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It was tough to predict the outcome of their match-up from the career head-to-head, which Kleybanova led just barely, 3-2. But that may have set the tone in the end, as the No.28-ranked Russian regrouped after squandering a match point at 62 54 and eventually closed out the No.18-ranked Rezai, 62 57 63.
Kleybanova punctuated the victory with her fourth ace of the day.
"I played very well in the first set and kept going pretty well in the second, but I wasn't aggressive enough at the end of it, so Aravane had more time to set up her strokes," Kleybanova commented afterwards. "She is playing great tennis when she can dictate the game, but in the third set I tried my best to stay in it and put pressure on every point, and I'm happy it worked well."
Next up for Kleybanova will be No.1 seed Jelena Jankovic, who received a first round bye. Kleybanova is actually tied in her head-to-head with Jankovic, 2-2, winning both of their 2009 meetings (Jankovic has won both 2010 meetings).
The second match on Stadium Court was another three-setter, as Sara Errani won the first set then rebounded from a second set blowout to edge big-hitting Belarusian Olga Govortsova in two hours and 45 minutes, 63 16 75.
Under the lights, Dinara Safina snapped a six-match losing streak with a 61 76(2) win over Alona Bondarenko. There were a few moments where it looked like Safina would loosen her control of the match, falling behind 3-1 in the second set and twice coming within two points of losing it serving 4-5 and 5-6, but she held on for her sixth match win of the year (she is now 6-8 in 2010).
Chanelle Scheepers, Kurumi Nara, Shenay Perry and Coco Vandeweghe secured berths in the main draw with wins in qualifying. Vandeweghe beat Sloane Stephens, 46 76(10) 75, three times rallying from a break down in the second set, saving a match point in the tie-break then regrouping just in time after watching Stephens cut a 5-1 lead down to 5-all in the third set.
"To qualify is a great accomplishment and hopefully I can carry my wins into the main draw," said Vandeweghe, who plays Gisela Dulko in the first round on Tuesday. "I'm really excited I qualified and I'm ready for the next match."
The biggest possible upset in the doubles draw also occurred on Day 1, as No.1 seeds Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta were ousted by Natalie Grandin and Abigail Spears, 62 64. Dulko and Pennetta have won four titles this year, three in a row in Miami, Stuttgart and Rome then one more in Bastad.