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Russian seed Safina overcomes Santangelo in epic

Russian sixth seed Dinara Safina survived three match points to defeat Italy's Mara Santangelo in the first round of WTA tournament in Germany.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2006 12:07 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Russian sixth seed Dinara Safina survived three match points to defeat Italy's Mara Santangelo in the first round of the 650,000 dollar (511,000 euro) WTA tournament in Germany, winning a tie-break after an epic two-hour battle over three sets.

"I was serving for the match and I choked but I stayed tough and won in the end," said Safina. "The tie-break was so hard but I came through it."

The 20-year-old Safina, ranked number 11 in the world, won the first set 6-1 but lost the second 7-5 and the decisive third went to a tie-break.

Santangelo spurned three match points and Safina won 11-9 to progress into the next round.

Russian second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova will face Germany's Martina Muller in the here after wildcard Muller defeated Czech Kveta Peschke on Tuesday.

Peschke reached the semi-final of the WTA event in Luxembourg last week and she looked tired as Muller needed less than half an hour to whitewash her 6-0 in the first set.

The Czech staged a comeback in the second set but Muller won the tie-break 7/4 to book a second round date against French Open finalist Kuznetsova.

"I have played Kuznetsova twice before. She is an experienced player and hits the ball really hard," said Muller. "It will be tough but I have to play my own game and see what happens."

Russian fourth seed Nadia Petrova must also battle the home crowd in the second round with German's top player Anna-Lena Groenefeld her next opponent.

Groenefeld, 21, defeated compatriot Tatjana Malek 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 in a match lasting close to two hours.

"Nadia is the favourite although we both know each other's games as we have faced each other quite a few times."

Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik beat France's Natalie Dechy 6-1, 6-4 in her match and comes up against Russian third seed Elena Dementieva in the second round.

Israel's Shahar Peer will face Switzerland's fifth seed Patty Schnyder after overcoming Russian Ekaterina Bychkova 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday.

France's 18-year-old Tatiana Golovin, born in Russia, is another dangerous draw in the second round after defeating Russia's Elena Likhovtseva 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.

France's World No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo is the top seed and faces 17-year-old Dutch star Michaella Krajicek, the world's top junior in 2004, in the second round.

First Published: Oct 04, 2006 12:07 IST