Former world No.5 Anna Chakvetadze had lost her opening matches on her three previous appearance at the Kremlin Cup, but this time the Muscovite thrilled the home fans with a 6-4 6-2 upset of third seed Li Na in the first round. Despite the low percentage of points won on first serve in the first set, Chakvetadze had a good conversion of break points (3 out of 4). Chakvetadze’s serve improved in the second set, not allowing Li a single break opportunity, and she powered into the round two.
The 68th-ranked Chakvetadze won the Kremlin Cup in 2006, when she played fellow Russian Nadia Petrova in the final.
There was another notable upset in the early stage of the $1,000,000 Kremlin Cup and was also executed by an unseeded local favorite. Elena Vesnina defeated fifth seed Flavia Pennetta 6-4 2-6 6-2. The 55th-ranked Vesnina got the first break of the match in the sixth game, and although Pennetta broke back immediately it was the lower-ranked Vesnina who won the opening set. Pennetta was better in the following set, but in the decider Vesnina established a 4-1 lead and didn’t look back to seal victory.
Vesnina has been playing the Kremlin Cup every year since 2003 and lost in the first round four times, including the previous two years. (photo: chascow)