Vesna Dolonc produced one of her best performances of the season to defeat former champion Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the Kremlin Cup.
WTA Staff

MOSCOW, Russia - Vesna Dolonc caused the first major upset of the Kremlin Cup when she knocked out 2011 champion Dominika Cibulkova in the first round on Tuesday.

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Twelve months ago, Dolonc reached her first Premier-level quarterfinal in Moscow and once again she seems to have saved her best for her home event.

Despite now competing under the Serbian flag, Dolonc, who came through qualifying, was born and raised in Moscow and looked very much at home on the Olympic Stadium's Centre Court.

"I think I play well here because I finally feel at home and can relax," Dolonc said. "It's always nice because I have the whole family and friends here - I always enjoy the Kremlin Cup."

After dropping the opening set, Dolonc settled into the contest in the second, neutralizing Cibulkova's baseline aggression with some astute counterpunching.

Her consistency began to draw the errors from the No.9 seed, leveling the match up when a Cibulkova backhand drifted wide. Dolonc carried this consistency into the decider, breaking for a 4-2 lead before serving out a 36 75 63 victory a few games later.

"It was a very important match for me," Dolonc added. "I've beaten Top 20 players before so I knew I could play at this level.

"I played Dominika in the Fed Cup but she had to retire with an injury and I was not happy to win like this, so I'm happy I was able to play a good match and win it."

There were mixed fortunes for Dolonc's fellow qualifiers in the Russian capital as Danka Kovinic lost to Klara Zakopalova, 64 63, and Arantxa Parra Santonja fell to Daniela Hantuchova, 61 62, while Sofia Arvidsson overcame a nightmare start to defeat Galina Voskoboeva.

Arvidsson has suffered a difficult year on tour, slipping out of the Top 100 for the first time since the start of 2010, and looked to be heading for another defeat when she failed to get on the scoreboard in the opening set. However, she showed admirable resolve to turn the match around, eventually triumphing, 06 61 63.

Also advancing was No.6 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, who built on her semifinal run last week in Linz with a 64 63 win over lucky loser Vera Dushevina.

"I had to concentrate all through the match. She played qualifying so I knew I would have to be 100% or it would be difficult," Suárez Navarro said. "Last week I played very well in Linz and I want to do the same this week and finish my season with a good performance."