Donskoy upsets Coric at Kremlin Cup; Pavlyuchenkova advances

by: AP | October 20, 2015

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The world No. 118 only faced one break point against the 39th-ranked Croatian. (AP)

MOSCOW (AP) Sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic kept her hopes alive for a place at the season-ending WTA finals with a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7) win over Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday.

Fifth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain also stayed in the hunt by defeating Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-4, 7-5 in a second-round match.

In the men's competition, sixth-seeded Borna Coric was upset by Evgeny Donskoy of Russia, ranked No. 118 in the world, who only faced one break point against the Croatian.

Trailing 4-1 in the third set, Dulgheru took the next four games and hung on to force the match into a tiebreaker, where she took a 4-1 lead. She then squandered a match point by double faulting at 6-5. Pliskova wrapped up the match in 2 hours, 39 minutes on her second match point.

''I almost died today, so I'm really happy that I still have a chance to get to Singapore,'' Pliskova said. ''Although I know I will have to win this tournament to get there.''

Last year's winner in Moscow, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, held on for a 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 victory over Monica Niculescu of Romania. Pavlyuchenkova, who clinched her first title of the season in Linz on Sunday, next faces second-seeded Lucie Safarova.

The top seed is U.S. Open winner Flavia Pennetta, who plays her first match of the tournament on Wednesday.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, the eighth seed, and ninth-seeded Kristina Mladenovic also won on Tuesday.

Among the seeded men to advance Tuesday was fifth-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, who was up 6-1 against Pere Riba when the Spaniard retired with a right leg injury. Eighth-seeded Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan moved into the second round with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Russia's Andrey Rublev.

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