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Defending Champ Brianti Beaten In Fès

Alexandra Cadantu rallied from a 75 42 deficit to defeat Alberta Brianti in the first round of the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem.

Published April 23, 2012 10:01

Defending Champ Brianti Beaten In Fès
Alberta Brianti

FÈS, Morocco - Alberta Brianti's one WTA title so far came at the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem last year, but her first title defense was short-lived thanks to Alexandra Cadantu on Monday.

After making her first career final in Monterrey in February, Cadantu had lost her main draw or qualifying opener in three straight events coming into this week. It looked it would be four straight when Brianti turned a 5-4 first set deficit into a 7-5 win. The Italian then got out to a 4-2 second set lead before Cadantu turned it on, losing only two more games the rest of the way for a 57 75 61 victory.

"The first set was close. I could have won it," Cadantu said. "I played better and better after that. After losing early in my last few tournaments, this gives me a lot of confidence for my next match."

Brianti's loss means the only former Fès champion left in the draw is Anabel Medina Garrigues. The top-seeded Spaniard, triumphant here in 2009 and runner-up in 2008, was a 62 64 winner over Nina Bratchikova. Medina Garrigues came into this event just 6-8 on the season, but her confidence is surely boosted by returning to red clay, on which she has captured 10 of her 11 career titles. In fact, she is the WTA's active career leader in clay court titles - one ahead of Venus Williams.

Also advancing was sixth-seeded South African Chanelle Scheepers, 64 64, over Anastasia Rodionova. One seed was eliminated, with Patricia Mayr-Achleitner coming back from a 4-1 first set deficit in defeating fourth-seeded Yanina Wickmayer, 64 62.

"It's hard to play my best tennis in this wind," Mayr-Achleitner said. "But I did hit my forehand well. I'll try to play a bit better in my next match."

No.7 seed Klara Zakopalova and Arantxa Rus were in the midst of a battle, knotted at 5-5 in the third set, when darkness suspended play. That will conclude Tuesday. Others on the schedule include No.2 seed and two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, five-time WTA champion Shahar Peer and 2011 Fès runner-up Simona Halep.

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