Harkleroad also wins, faces Venus next


CARSON, Calif. -- Chanda Rubin came from behind in the final
set Monday night for a 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (5) victory over qualifier
Marissa Irvin in the opening round of the JPMorgan Chase Open.

Rubin, who won the event two years ago, overcame a 4-1 deficit
to take a 6-5 lead in the final set, then closed out the tiebreaker
with an overhead on her second match point. The 28-year-old player
is seeded 14th and has played sparingly this year as she recovers
from a left knee inflammation.

"I definitely felt it was an important match for me to go out
and try to win," Rubin said. "My knee feels like it's OK. ... I
don't think I'm getting as much force, especially on some of the
groundstrokes. But I'm pushing through that."

Rubin beat Lindsay Davenport in the final to win the event in
2002, when it was last played in Manhattan Beach.

Earlier, Ashley Harkleroad took another step in her comeback
with a 6-3, 6-2 victory Monday over Shinobu Asagoe.

Harkleroad is trying to recapture her form after a four-month
layoff caused by a torn ligament in her right elbow. The
19-year-old player dropped out of the top 100 in the rankings.

She lost her first two service games and fell behind 3-0 before
winning eight games in a row to take control of the match.

"It took me a while to get a feel for the match, and then I
started to play well and did the things I needed to do,"
Harkleroad said. "My game is coming together. I was aggressive
when I needed to be."

She advanced to a second-round meeting Tuesday night with
second-seeded Venus Williams.

No. 11 Francesca Schiavone, the highest seeded player in action
on the opening day of the $585,000 tournament, moved into the
second round with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Shenay Perry. But Akiko
Morigami beat No. 12 Silvia Farina-Elia 6-2, 6-4, and Anca Barna
defeated No. 13 Fabiola Zuluaga 6-1, 6-1.

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Kirkland, ranked 284th on the WTA Tour,
beat 56th-ranked Tathiana Garbin 6-1, 6-3.

Another qualifier, 227th-ranked Lilia Osterloh, beat 45th-ranked
Saori Obata, 7-5, 7-5. Anne Kremer, who lost in the final round of
qualifying but got into the main draw when Maria Elena Camerin
withdrew, capitalized on that break with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-0 win over
Laura Granville.

Nathalie Dechy, Tina Pisnik, Marion Bartoli and Jelena Kostanic
also advanced.