Friday, May 09, 2003
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SEA ISLAND (Georgia) May 8. Russia's Anna Kournikova began preparations for the French Open and put her injured side to a test in a first-round victory on Wednesday in the Cloister Cup.
Kournikova, recovering from a tear in her left abductor muscle April 9 at the Family Circle Cup in South Carolina, beat Maria Fernanda Alves of Brazil 4-6, 6-4, 3-0. Alves retired after injuring her left thigh in the third set.
"It's not the best match I've played," said Kournikova, who needs the work to get set for the French Open later this month. "That's why I'm here. I need to play as many matches as I can."
Kournikova was rusty from the month-long layoff. She double-faulted seven times and survived a lacklustre performance to advance to the second round, against Slovakia's Gabriela Volekova.
Down 4-1 in the first set, the Russian battled back to within 5-4, but lost the next game in deuce to drop the first set. Kournikova lost the first two games of the second set, then rallied to tie it at 4-4 before winning the final two games.
She took the first three games of the third set with ease, as Alves tried to play through her injury.
Kournikova argued several line calls. Given a warning for delay of game after going up 5-4 in the second set, she responded by saying, "I'm scared."
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