Top-ranked Dinara Safina rallied past unseeded Roberta Vinci of Italy 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the third round of the Western & Southern Financial Group Open on Tuesday. Safina, who entered in her 17th consecutive week at No 1, came up with a service break with Vinci serving for the match in the second set at 5-4. She won three straight games to force a third set, then came from 3-1 down in the third to squeeze past Vinci for a third straight time.
Safina, who suffered a cut on her left hand while trying to slice open a coconut last week in Los Angeles, had 48 unforced errors to Vinci's 28, many while Vinci was winning nine straight games. "It was just a day when everything was going all over the place, except for the tennis court," said Safina, who met with her coach, Zeljko Krajan, after losing the first three games of the second set. "He's like, 'You realize you can put the ball inside (the lines)?' I said, 'Yes, that's what I'm realizing.' He said, 'Don't do anything. Just go deep through the court and let her do something.' I guess she was not ready to beat me."
Third-seeded Venus Williams, making her Cincinnati debut, won 11 of the last 13 games and rolled past Belarusian qualifier Olga Govortsova 6-2, 6-2 to move into the third round in the day's closer, which started 90 minutes late because of earlier rain delays.
Sixth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova had an even more difficult time, surviving two tiebreakers and two rain delays to outlast Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (4) and move into the third round.
Agnieszka Radwanska, the 13th seed, had an easier time, advancing with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Ai Sugiyama while 14th-seeded Flavia Pennetta moved on with a 6-2, 6-3 win over qualifier Ayumi Morita. Earlier, Belgian qualifier Yanina Wickmayer upset Italy's Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-4.
The 56th-ranked Wickmayer became the third qualifier to reach the second round with her upset of the 26th-ranked Schiavone. Wickmayer believed playing the qualifier gave her an advantage. "I think my advantage today was I had a few matches in my legs already," said the 19-year-old Wickmayer, who plays doubles with Kim Clijsters.
Also, unseeded Alona Bondarenko upset 10th-seeded Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-3, and 15th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova fell to unseeded Peng Shuai 6-2, 6-1. Flavia Pennetta defeated qualifier Ayumi Morita 6-2, 6-3.
Other winners included Flavia Pennetta of Italy, Agnes Szavay of Hungary, Sorana Cirstea of Romania, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, Sybille Bammer of Austria, and Russians Alisa Kleybanova and wild-card Maria Kirilenko.