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Kvitova advances, Kerber upset at New Haven Open


Petra Kvitova, of the Czech Republic, returns the ball against Sorana Cirstea, of Romania, during quarterfinal women’s Rogers Cup tennis action in Toronto, Friday, Aug. 9, 2013. AP/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette

NEW HAVEN — Defending champion Petra Kvitova recovered from a set and a break down to beat Annika Beck 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the New Haven Open on Tuesday.

The third-seeded Kvitova dropped the first set and was broken in the first game of the second before staging the comeback in a match that was delayed due to rain on Monday.

“I wasn’t great, for sure,” the 2011 Wimbledon champion said. “I wasn’t feeling very well. I wasn’t positive during the game and then I had to fight and try to come back in the match.”

Beck entered the draw as a lucky loser when Poland’s Urszula Radwanska withdrew Monday.

While Kvitova narrowly survived, No. 2-seeded Angelique Kerber lost her second-round match 6-2, 6-4 to Russia’s Elena Vesnina.

The German, ranked 10th in the world, was making her first appearance in New Haven after drawing a first-round bye.

Vesnina, a 2009 finalist, won the first three games to take control of the first set and converted six service breaks in the match. Kerber hit a forehand just wide on match point and threw her racket in disgust. The call was upheld after a challenge.

Vesnina, seeking her third singles title this year, said the win over a top-10 opponent bodes well for her heading into next week’s U.S. Open.

“Maybe it’s just my time to play good,” she said.

Kerber, who lost in the third round in Cincinnati and the second round in Toronto, had hoped to get in a couple more hard-court matches to improve her game before the Open.

“It’s, of course, not easy to lose a match like this when you are not feeling so good and you couldn’t find your rhythm,” she said. “Next week is a big tournament, but I will try to go on the court tomorrow and work and try to improve my game more. I will try to take my rhythm back.”

Vesnina will face Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. Zakopalova upset eighth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round before beating 19-year-old Monica Puig 6-4, 6-1 on Tuesday.

Her recent strong play earned her the 32nd and final seed next week at Flushing Meadows.

“I have never passed the first round at the U.S. Open,” she said. “So, my goal is to play a good first round there and then we’ll see.”

Former top-ranked singles player Martina Hingis and Daniela Hantuchova lost in a first-round doubles match 6-3, 6-1 to Cara Black and Vania King.

It was their fourth tournament together since Hingis announced her comeback, and the Swiss star said she is not planning to expand her return to singles play.

“I have always said that I don’t want to play singles anymore, for sure,” she said. “And after tonight, it’s definitely 200 percent, no way. Because, you just have to be so hungry.”


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