Elena Dementieva, in her comeback tournament from injury, was forced to fight hard to see off Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm in the opening round of the Bank of the West Classic on Wednesday.
Dementieva missed Wimbledon with a left calf injury, her first grand slam absence in more than 10 years and was below her best against the 39-year-old Date Krumm before winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. "It's never easy to play without competition for two weeks and it took me a while to get into the game," second-seeded Dementieva said. "Sometimes it's good to go three sets and to face those difficult moments while finding a way to win."
Dementieva won 12 of the final 17 games to avoid becoming the first seeded player to fall in the tournament. The two players were a combined 13 of 28 on break points.
Date Krumm reached a career-best No. 3 four years before Dementieva turned pro in 1999, and returned to the tour last year after a 12-year absence.
"She played fast and hit the ball flat," Dementieva said. "She's just a great athlete."
"It's amazing how she played and what great shape she is in." In another second-round match, Australia's Samantha Stosur celebrated her highest singles' ranking ever with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over U.S. qualifier Christina McHale
The match was Stosur's first since reaching No. 5 in the world. "The high ranking feels good," Stosur said. "It was a goal for me to get to No. 10. Once I got to that point, all of a sudden I moved up to No. 5. To have another big jump like that so soon is really pleasing.
"It's not like I have changed anything dramatically overnight. It's just a combination of everything that I have been doing over the past few years and now it's all coming together. Once you produce some good results, it instills more belief. But I haven't changed anything in my game. I have still been working on the same things, just getting better at them."
The top-seeded Stosur needed just over an hour to beat the 161st-ranked McHale, finishing with eight aces and winning 76 percent of her first-serve points.
Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and No. 7 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium also advanced. Radwanska beat Ukrainian qualifier Olga Savchuk 7-6 (4), 6-2, and Wickmayer topped Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-4.
Stosur will face Wickmayer in the quarterfinals Friday, while Dementieva will play the winner of Thursday's match between Maria Sharapova and Olga Govortsova.