Safina rallies past Vinci in Cincinnati

August 12, 2009 07:22 AM

MASON, Ohio (AP) -- Dinara Safina got her game under control just in time.

The top-ranked Safina scattered shots all over the court early in the match before rallying past unseeded Roberta Vinci 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 Tuesday to advance to the third round of the Cincinnati Open.

The tournament’s top seed, who’s in her 17th consecutive week at No. 1, came up with a service break with Vinci serving for the match in the second set. She had another break in the third to close out the match.

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 qualifier Olga Govortsova 6-2, 6-2 to move into the third round in the evening’s only single match, 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 Lucia Safarova 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, qualifier Yanina Wickmayer upset 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 Tuesday, unseeded Alona Bondarenko upset 10th-seeded Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-3, and 15th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova fell to unseeded Shuai Peng 6-2, 6-1. Flavia Pennetta defeated qualifier Ayumi Morita 6-2, 6-3.

Agnes Szavay edged qualifier Urszula Radwanska 7-5, 7-5, and Sorana Cirstea eliminated wild-card Meghann Shaughnessy by the same score.

Daniela Hantuchova outlasted Sara Errani 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Maria Jose Martina Sanchez also needed three sets to get past Vera Dushevina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, while Alisa Kleybanova topped Aravane Rezai 6-3, 6-3, Sybille Bammer beat Jie Zheng 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, and wild-card Maria Kirilenko defeated qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova 6-4, 6-1.

The $2 million Western and Southern Financial Group Women’s Open was elevated this year from a Tier III event to a Premier Level tournament.