Frigid temperatures don't slow Petrova, Chakvetadze

Updated: April 30, 2007, 2:59 PM ET
Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland -- Russians Nadia Petrova and Anna Chakvetadze overcame the cold and wind to register straight-set wins in the first round of the J&S Cup on Monday.

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No. 5 Petrova beat Polish wild card Katarzyna Piter 6-3, 7-5, and No. 6 Chakvetadze downed Jill Craybas 7-6 (6), 7-5 in 48 degree temperatures on the opening day at the clay-court event.

"The conditions were I think the worst," Petrova said. "It was cold, it was windy -- before we went on it was a little bit drizzling."

Petrova next plays Mara Santangelo of Italy, who beat Severine Bremond of France 6-2, 6-3.

Also Monday, Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine downed Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

Petrova criticized her own play, but had little trouble overpowering the 16-year-old Piter.

"Matches like today are very difficult because when you walk on court you already know that you're going to win," Petrova said. "It's just a matter of how you're going to win. And playing a wild card, somebody young, everybody is cheering for her and you want to prove that you are better."

Earlier, Chakvetadze battled inconsistent play against her American opponent.

With Craybas serving at 6-6 in the tiebreaker, Chakvetadze hit a backhand crosscourt winner to earn her third set point. Craybas then netted a backhand to give 20-year-old Chakvetadze the set.

The players traded breaks early in the second set.

Craybas had a chance to force a third set, serving at 5-4. But Chakvetadze hit a deep backhand to force an error from the American to lead 40-30, then knocked a forehand into the open court for the break to level at 5-5.

The Russian held serve to love, then earned a match point when a backhand by Craybas sailed long.

On Tuesday, Venus Williams plays Michaella Krajicek, and seventh-seeded Elena Dementieva takes on Meilen Tu.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press