Mauresmo struggles to victory

August 19, 2008 10:26 PM

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP)—Amelie Mauresmo dominated at times and struggled at others Tuesday in a 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-2 victory over Kaia Kanepi of Estonia in the first round of the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament.

The former No. 1 player in the world is trying to round into form before next week’s U.S. Open after battling rib and muscle injuries that sidelined her for several weeks after losing to Serena Williams in the third round at Wimbledon.

Mauresmo, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion from France, rolled through the first set but had trouble with her serve in dropping the second. She took control again in the deciding set, though she finished with 12 double faults after recording six in the second set.

“Overall it was a good fight,” said Mauresmo, the 2006 Wimbledon winner. “It is always good to go out of these kinds of matches with a win. I am happy physically because I am fine coming out of this match.”

The 29-year-old Mauresmo returned last week at Mason, Ohio, where she reached the semifinals. She said regaining rhythm and confidence is never easy after a long layoff, especially at her age.

“I am definitely thinking the body is not holding as well as it used to,” said Mauresmo, who has dropped to No. 33 in the world rankings after finishing last year at 17. “That’s a fact and it is pretty frustrating, but that is the way it is.”

Third-seeded Marion Bartoli of France avoided an upset by rallying to beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the second round.

Coming back from a strained abdominal muscle, Bartoli wasn’t sure she would play the Pilot Pen before getting medical clearance. She figured the court was the place to get ready for the U.S. Open.

“I practiced here first and felt I could play,” said Bartoli, ranked No. 13 in the world. “It is good to have matches before a Grand Slam.”

Fourth-seeded Agnes Szavay of Hungry defeated Sara Errani of Italy 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4.

In the men’s draw, American Robby Ginepri looked strong again in defeating 12th-seeded Augustin Calleri 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in the second round. The victory snapped a five-match losing streak against Argentine opponents and improved his North American hardcourt record to 4-3.

The 25-year-old Ginepri is a former top 20 player ranked No. 62 in the world. He is making his second appearance at the Pilot Pen. Last year, he lost to Calleri in the second round but now leads him 3-1 head-to-head.

Second-seeded Ivo Karlovic defeated American John Isner 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4 in another second-round match. It was the first meeting between two of the tallest players on the ATP Tour. The 6-foot-10 Karlovic is ranked a career-best 14th in the world, while the 6-9 Isner is at No. 124 after turning pro last year.

“I had never faced a serve like that before,” Isner said. “I needed to return better, and I didn’t. I didn’t make enough serves when I needed.”

In other second-round men’s matches, Germany’s Mischa Zverev upset fifth-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 6-3, and eighth-seeded Mardy Fish held off fellow American Wayne Odesnik 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.

After losing in the first round in doubles last year, Lindsay Davenport rolled into the second round with Daniela Hantuchova on Tuesday, beating Jill Craybas and Olga Govortsova 6-3, 6-4.

“We both felt we could’ve done a couple of things better,” said Davenport, who played with Lisa Raymond last year. “We tried to enjoy it and not take things seriously.”

Davenport and Hantuchova, who plan to play together at the U.S. Open, took command in the seventh game of the final set. Davenport broke Craybas and Govortsova with a quick volley winner at the net.