Fish, Kuznetsova win in New Haven

August 22, 2006 12:18 AM
Svetlana Kuznetsova 225 w

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Svetlana Kuznetsova wanted to get some work in before the U.S. Open.

She got a little more than she had bargained for in the first set before beating American Jill Craybas 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-1 on Monday in the first round of the Pilot Pen. The first set lasted an hour and 22 minutes and the final two took just 22 and 25 minutes.

Kuznetsova, the seventh ranked player in the world, came out slow. Tied at three games apiece, she lost a marathon seventh game that went to deuce 14 times before Craybas held serve.

"The rallies were long and it was a very hard match," she said. "I just felt so tired. You have bad days sometimes, you know, and I'm very happy I got through."

She also had to overcome a crowd that was clearly behind Craybas, the underdog qualifier from nearby Rhode Island.

"It shows me that I can compete with anybody, and I'm going to come away from this match with a lot of confidence," said Craybas.

Kuznetsova, the tournament's fifth-seed, avoided the fate of sixth-seed Patty Schnyder, who was beaten by qualifier Sun Tiantian of China 6-1, 6-3.

"I just held my serve on the court and had great games," said Sun, who played three qualifying matches before facing Schnyder. "(I) played better and better every match."

It was the first time the two had met. Schnyder entered the tournament ranked No. 8 in the world with 10 career titles. Sun, who was ranked No. 93, has never won a tour event. Her only other victory against a top 10 player came last year in Beijing, China, when she upset Serena Williams.

"I was not on my game and she really mixed it up," Schnyder said. "She was really good, mixed up her serves and I really didn't know her."

Mardy Fish 225 w
In the men's draw, American Mardy Fish beat Davide Sanguinetti of Italy 6-3, 6-3, continuing his comeback from a wrist injury.

Fish, who underwent two surgeries in 2005, dropped out of the top 100 for the first time in his career after climbing as high as No. 17 in 2004.

"You take it for granted when you've never been injured before and being out almost a year is kind of eye-opening," he said. "It puts a new perspective on every match, being out here and not taking any tournaments for granted."

Fish saved eight break points in the second set, five in his first service game, which lasted eight deuces. He broke Sanguinetti in the fifth game of the second set to take control of the match.

"I felt like I served well," Fish said. "I kind of took care of my serve games and figured if I was aggressive on his serve game and my returns, I would have some chances."

The 24-year-old American, now ranked No. 60, will face fifth-seeded David Ferrer in the second round.

In other matches, Britain's Greg Rusedski defeated Croatia's Ivo Karlovic, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (9), 6-2; American Sam Querrey defeated Spaniard Alberto Martin, 6-3, 6-2; Feliciano Lopez of Spain defeated Filippo Volandri of Italy, 6-3, 6-4 and Robin Vik of Czechoslovakia defeated Fabrice Santoro of France, 6-4, 6-2.

On the women's side, Francesca Schiavone of Italy defeated Elena Likhovtseva of Russia 6-3, 6-4; Marion Bartoli of France defeated Gisela Dulko of Argentina 6-3, 6-2; and Samantha Stosur defeated Nathalie Dechy of France.

Dechy was forced to withdraw with a left quad strain trailing 5-2 in the second set. Dechy won the first set 6-4, but injured her thigh in the fifth game of the set.