Top-seeded Monica Seles shook off some early rustiness Wednesday before defeating Japan’s Ai Sugiyama in three sets in a second-round match at the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
Seles improved to 10-0 against Sugiyama with a 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 victory in 1 hour, 55 minutes.
“I didn’t have enough practice and it’s been tough since the Australian Open,” said Seles, who lost in the second round in Melbourne after injuring her ankle early in a three-set loss to Klara Koukalova.
Wednesday’s match against Japan’s top player could have been much shorter but Sugiyama fought off four match points and then won the next two games to take the second set 7-5.
“The last time I played Ai was at Wimbledon,” Seles said. “I knew she’d be tough here on this surface. She played well in the first two sets and then I got lucky in the third.”
For 28th-ranked Sugiyama, it was another frustrating loss to Seles, who is currently ninth in the WTA rankings.
“I felt I was able to play even with her in the first two sets,” Sugiyama said. “In the third she started pushing me harder and that’s when I started to make mistakes.”
In other second-round matches, Chanda Rubin breezed past Slovenia’s Katarina Srebotnik 6-4, 6-0 in a match that lasted only 58 minutes.
In first-round matches Wednesday, Iva Majoli defeated Alexandra Stevenson 6-3, 6-3; Lisa Raymond beat Paola Suarez 6-1, 4-6, 7-5; Angelique Widjaja downed Mi Ra-jeon 6-3, 6-3, and Elena Bovina defeated Anna Pistolesi 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Lindsay Davenport, who lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open, is seeded third and will be looking for her third title at the Toray Pan Pacific. She also won this tournament in 1998 and 2001.
Davenport will play her first singles match on Thursday along with second-seeded Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia.
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