Defending champ Wozniacki advances

Updated: August 25, 2009, 9:49 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki took 43 minutes to win her first-round match at the Pilot Pen on Tuesday and then credited boxing with helping her score the quick knockout.

The second-seeded Wozniacki dominated Edina Gallovits of Romania 6-0, 6-0, winning 20 of the final 21 points in a 19-minute first set before taking 24 minutes to finish Gallovits off.

The Danish star, who is ranked No. 9 in the world, said her speed and fitness level began improving just after Wimbledon, when friend and super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler suggested she take up boxing.

"You run a lot," she said. "You get strength in your stomach, your back, your shoulders, your arms, all the things that you also need in tennis."

So far, Wozniacki has hit mostly bags, sparring just once with her coach -- and apologizing after she punched him.

"He started yelling at me, 'Why are you saying sorry? It's what the game is about. You have to hit me,'" she said. "It's just fun to get some aggression out some times."

While Wozniacki barley worked up a sweat, Samantha Stosur needed almost three hours to beat Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in 90-degree heat. The Australian ended up losing the first set after nearly 90 minutes but won the match 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-4.

"It was a bit of a battle out there," Stosur said. "I got through the second set pretty quick and then started to feel better about things. The third was pretty tight. I was pleased with the way I was able to get out of it and come back from a set down."

Amelie Mauresmo also advanced with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Alona Bondarenko; Marion Bartoli defeated Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; and third-seeded Flavia Pennetta defeated Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania 6-1, 6-2.

"I was very focused on my game, and it was working pretty good," Pennetta said.

In the men's draw, top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko won a 22-point tiebreak in the first set and went on to beat American Robert Kendrick 7-6 (10), 6-3.

Davydenko struggled with Kendrick's serves, which occasionally topped 130 mph, giving up a dozen aces. But he used a strong backhand return while leading 11-10 in the first-set breaker that Kendrick put into the net.

"He put it right at my feet," Kendrick said. "I should have served to his forehand."

The eighth-ranked Davydenko broke Kendrick at love to go up 5-3 in the second set and served out the match. After missing most of the spring with a heel injury, he said he's trying to do more than just get his game in shape for next week's U.S. Open.

"For me, it's important winning matches also here," Davydenko said. "If I'm winning [the] tournament, I'm making points here. ... For me, it's important for the ranking."

Second-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain also advanced with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Paul Capdeville. Third seed Tommy Robredo of Spain wasn't as fortunate, getting upset 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) by Jose Acasuso.

Kendrick was among three Americans who lost to Russians on Tuesday. Taylor Dent fell to Igor Kunitsyn 6-3, 6-4, and Kevin Kim lost to Igor Andreev 6-3, 6-1.

Rajeev Ram ousted fellow American Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3 in the final match of the night.

Fish, a finalist the last two years in New Haven, has been hampered by an abdominal injury suffered in Davis Cup competition in July.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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