Stosur needs tiebreaker to advance at Pilot Pen

August 24, 2010 11:11 PM
Samantha Stosur struggled to advance in New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Samantha Stosur needed three sets and a tiebreaker to beat Sara Errani of Italy 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (4) at the Pilot Pen tennis tournament.

The second-seeded woman cruised through the first set, but was broken twice in the second.

Errani was serving for the match, up 5-4 and 40-15 in the third, before Stosur rallied, saving four match points.

``I just tried to hang in there and eventually got through that game, and once I won that then I knew that I was in a good spot,'' Stosur said.

Stosur, who didn't play in Cincinnati or Montreal because of an injury to her right arm, said she was a bit nervous about how it would hold up under match conditions.

``I actually hadn't hit more than about 30 serves in any practice session yet, so it was a good test for it tonight, and it was all good,'' she said.

In the men's draw, top-seeded Marcos Baghdatis fought through strong winds and a half hour of rain delays for a 6-2, 6-4 win over Igor Andreev in his opening match.

The Cypriot, who made it to the semifinals last week in Cincinnati and the finals earlier this month in Washington said he's playing some of his best tennis heading into next week's U.S. Open.

``It's been a good summer for me, but I came to play here and I came to win the tournament,'' he said.

``I'm not looking to win a Grand Slam or play well in a Grand Slam,'' he added. ``I'm looking to improve my tennis.''

Baghdatis broke Andreev in the first game of each set and kept the pressure on, but said the weather made it hard to get into a rhythm.

``The balls are heavy with the wind, with the rain a bit, you don't feel really good to grip the racket,'' he said. ``I cannot say I'm feeling perfect, but I'm happy I won. I'm happy I found a solution so I can get another match tomorrow.''

In the women's draw, Russian Elena Vesnina lost to countrywoman Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 in the first round, a year after making it to the finals.

Despite her runner-up status, Vesnina had to go through qualifying to get into the tournament, arriving from Montreal on Saturday just 2 hours before her first match. She played and won three matches over the weekend to earn her way into this year's main draw.

Kirilenko said she switched rackets after losing her feel for the ball in the second set.

``I started to make a lot of double faults, and my serve didn't work at all,'' she said. ``In the third set, my serve started to feel better.''

On the grandstand court, Marion Bartoli of France needed three sets to get by Alona Bondarenko 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-3. Bartoli said wind gusts, which topped 20 mph, didn't allow her to be as aggressive as she would have liked.

``I was aiming in the middle and my ball was ending up 10 centimeters from the baseline or from the right or left line,'' she said.

In the men's draw, third-seeded Fernando Gonzalez, back from a knee injury that has kept him out since the French Open, lost to Radek Stepanek 6-2, 6-4 in a second-round match.

Stepanek is playing his fourth tournament after coming back from his own knee problems, and had lost in the first round of the other three.

``After such a long time off, you have to find your game,'' he said.

Spaniard Tommy Robredo, the sixth seed, needed three sets to get by American Taylor Dent, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, and American Donald Young fell in his second-round match to Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela, 5-7, 6-4 6-0.

James Blake, who grew up in nearby Fairfield was playing in the final match of the night and was up 1-0 on Alexandr Dolgopolov when play was suspended by rain.