Cibulkova Ousts Pavlyuchenkova
Published October 18, 2010 12:00
MOSCOW, Russia - The highest-ranked teenager in the world and Russia's brightest young star will have to wait another year to get her first victory at her home tournament, as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fell first round on Monday.
Pavlyuchenkova had fallen first round in both of her previous appearances at the Premier-level event, in 2006 (to Nicole Vaidisova) and 2009 (to Tsvetana Pironkova), and that trend continued in 2010 with a see-saw 76(5) 26 60 loss to Dominika Cibulkova. After the pair split the first two sets Cibulkova went on overdrive in the third, losing just seven points to beat the big-hitting Russian.
"She's a very energetic player and fights for every point. I gave her a chance to get back into the match and she took it," Pavlyuchenkova said afterwards. "It was difficult for me. Perhaps I'm a bit tired, but that's not an excuse. Even though I did fight until the end, nothing worked in the end for me today."
"I lost my focus in the beginning of the match because my back was hurting but then the physio came out and helped me," Cibulkova commented. "Once the pain was gone I was able to focus on the match and got it together."
Pavlyuchenkova was still happy to be playing at home. "I have a lot of fans here in Moscow and every year I come here and try to win, it just wasn't meant for me this year. I look forward to playing the doubles with Vera Dushevina."
Ukrainian sisters Alona Bondarenko and Kateryna Bondarenko also took the court, with Kateryna the first to play, rebounding from a dramatic second set ending and cruising in the third set against Petra Kvitova, 63 67(7) 61. The younger Bondarenko sister served for the match at 63 54 and 63 65 and held five match points in the second set tie-break before closing it out in the decider.
Later, Alona prevailed over young Russian wildcard Daria Gavrilova, 75 61.