Russian Dinara Safina upset French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of the Pilot Pen tennis tournament on Monday. Safina's win came less than a week after she lost in straight sets to Schiavone in Montreal. She has been hampered all year by a back injury
"When you lose a match and you say, 'God, I wish I could replay this match to play one more time to do the things different,"' she said. "And I got this chance to play (Schiavone) here." Nadia Petrova of Russia rallied to beat Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 1-6, 7-5, 6-1. Petrova was a late addition to the field after an ankle injury forced Ana Ivanovic to withdraw. "It's been actually, an amazing opportunity, because I feel like I need a few matches before the U.S. Open," Petrova said. Russia's Elena Dementieva almost missed the start of her first-round match and had to be tracked down on the practice courts. She then went out and beat Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
"Yesterday, we were waiting more than 10 hours, practicing indoors, expecting to be playing today indoors," she said. "I feel lucky to be second on and finish the match."
U.S. teenager Melanie Oudin lost 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to lucky loser Dominka Cibulkova of Slovakia. Oudin, 18, was hoping to get in a few more matches before heading back to the US Open, where she became America's darling last year with a run to the quarterfinals. In the men's draw, two-time Pilot Pen champion James Blake, who grew up in nearby Fairfield, beat Pere Riba of Spain 6-0, 6-1 in just 35 minutes - the fastest completed match on the ATP Tour this season.
"I tend to always play fast," Blake said. "The wins end up being a lot quicker; the losses end up being quicker too." Fellow American Donald Young also had an easy first round, beating Stephane Robert of France 6-1, 6-2.
Monday's late night feature pitted Dinara Safina against French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.
Cibulkova moves on to face two-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the second round. Wozniacki was still in Montreal on Monday, where she played two matches, winning the rain-delayed Rogers Cup 6-3, 6-2 over Vera Zvonareva.