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Pavlyuchenkova Toughs It Out

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova edged Eleni Daniilidou in the first match of her Monterrey title defense.

Published March 01, 2011 12:00

Pavlyuchenkova Toughs It Out
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

MONTERREY, México - The victory took nearly three hours but Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova made it through her first match as a defending champion on the WTA, beating Eleni Daniilidou in the first round on Tuesday, 62 67(5) 64.

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Pavlyuchenkova, the No.2 seed, cruised in the first set before losing the second set and dropped serve at 3-all in the third to give Daniilidou a 4-3 lead; but the Russian regrouped right when it mattered most, reeling off the last three games.

"It was a really tough match and Eleni played really well," Pavlyuchenkova said of the two-hour, 51-minute duel. "I asked myself on the court why I lost the second set and the answer was she totally deserved it. The first match of a tournament is always tricky, but I'm glad to have closed this one out."

Pavlyuchenkova won the first of her two WTA titles here last year, her second one coming at Istanbul in the summer. "I have great memories from Monterrey last year. I won my first title here and that's always something special. The crowd is amazing and always pulling for me. The crowd is even bigger and more energetic this year, too. It's a pleasure to come back here this year."

And on defending a WTA title for the first time in her career? "It would be amazing to win again this year and I'm looking forward to winning another title, but I'm not putting pressure on myself. I'm just trying to enjoy it. Today I was fighting for every point and that's what I'll continue to do this week."

Pavlyuchenkova and Daniilidou share a career-high ranking of No.14, the Russian reaching it in January of this year and the Greek reaching it in 2003.

No.5 seed Anastasija Sevastova and No.6 seed Sara Errani also won but No.4 seed Julia Goerges was ousted, losing to Ksenia Pervak, 61 75.

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Alizé Cornet, Melanie Oudin, Olga Govortsova, Sybille Bammer and qualifiers Lucie Hradecka and Aleksandra Wozniak also prevailed in their first round matches.

The first round wraps up and the second round begins Wednesday, with No.1 seed Jelena Jankovic taking the court against Lourdes Domínguez Lino.

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