NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Elena Vesnina lost to Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 Tuesday in the first round of the Pilot Pen tennis tournament, 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 both players had trouble with the strong winds that swirled through the stadium court, and 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 the wind, which was gusting at times over 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 the second round.
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.
Top-seeded Marcos Baghdatis and No. 2 seed Samantha Stosor were to play later.