Kournikova advances to second round of the du Maurier Open

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The Independent Online

Anna Kournikova is growing up on the tennis court and that is helping her win some matches.

Anna Kournikova is growing up on the tennis court and that is helping her win some matches.

The 19-year-old Russian relied on experience to help her cling to an early lead and beat challenger Cara Black 6-3, 7-6 (4) in Monday's opening round of the du Maurier Open in Montreal.

Kournikova jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first set, holding Black to just two points. But Black rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the second set before falling in the tiebreak.

"My game has matured," Kournikova said. "I'm playing a bit smarter, not trying crazy shots like I used to. I wasn't thinking, 'Oh God, I'm going to lose the set, I'm going to lose the match."'

Kournikova is 152-80 in her career but has never won a WTA tournament.

"I kind of lost focus after going up 4-0 (in the first set)," Kournikova said. "Cara is a smart player. I guess she didn't get into the match right away, but she was fighting."

Canada's Vanessa Webb blamed a series of mental lapses for her straight-set loss to Spanish qualifier Virginia Ruano-Pascual, 6-4, 6-4.

"There were just stupid mistakes here and there," Webb said. "I made some easy misses. I'm normally not that erratic."

Webb held or shared the lead through most of the first set. However but Ruano-Pascual broke Webb's serve to jump ahead 5-4.

Webb committed nine double-faults, compared to none for Ruano-Pascual. Webb had 26 unforced errors, seven more than her opponent.

Also on Monday, Nathalie Dechy of France beat Alexandra Stevenson 6-3, 6-4; South African Amanda Coetzer, the No. 9 seed, defeated Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 6-2, 6-2 and Chanda Rubin, the 15th seed, beat Paola Suarez 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2.

Sabine Appelmans of Belgium beat Jelena Dokic of Australia, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (5) and Jana Nejedly beat American qualifier Samantha Reeves 6-3, 6-3. Appelmans will play Kournikova on Tuesday.

Stevenson, who last year became the first woman qualifier to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon, has only 10 wins in 30 matches this year.

Stevenson, 19, has seen her ranking drop to 76 from 36 after her rookie performance at Wimbledon.

The top eight seeds had first-round byes in the event that has drawn 43 of the top 50 players.

Results from the $1.08 million Omnium du Maurier Sanex WTA Tour hard-court tournament:

Singles - First Round

Sarah Pitkowski, France, def. Magui Serna, Spain, 6-2, 6-2. Chanda Rubin (15), United States, vs. Paola Suarez, Argentina, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2. Ruxandra Dragomir, Romania, def. Angeles Montolio, Spain, 6-1, 7-5. Virginia Ruano-Pascual, Spain, def. Vanessa Webb, Canada, 6-4, 6-4. Henrieta Nagyova, Slovakia, def. Denisa Chladkova, Czech Republic, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3. Nathalie Dechy, France, def. Alexandra Stevenson, United States, 6-3, 6-4. Sabine Appelmans, Belgium, def. Jelena Dokic, Australia, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (5). Patty Schnyder, Switzerland, def. Elena Likhovtseva, Russia, 7-5, 6-3. Anastasia Myskina, Russia, def. Anne Kremer, Luxembourg, 6-4, 6-1. Gala Leon Garcia, Spain, def. Ai Sugiyama, Japan, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1. Tatiana Panova, Russia, def. Fabiola Zuluaga, Colombia, 6-4, 6-1. Justine Henin, Belgium, def. Asa Carlsson, Sweden, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Annie Miller, United States, def. Erika de Lone, United States, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Anna Kournikova (11), Russia, def. Cara Black, Zimbabwe, 6-3, 7-6 (4). Amanda Coetzer (9), South Africa, def. Tamarine Tanasugarn, Thailand, 6-2, 6-2. Jana Nejedly, Canada, def. Samantha Reeves, United States, 6-3, 6-3.

Doubles - First Round

Catalina Cristea and Ruxandra Dragomir, Romania, def. Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (6), Spain, 7-5, 6-4. Anke Huber, Germany, and Barbara Schett (7), Austria, def. Amelie Cocheteux and Nathalie Dechy, France, 6-3, 6-3. Magui Serna, Spain, and Meghann Shaughnessy, United States, def. Amy Frazier and Katie Schlukebir, United States, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Liezel Horn, South Africa, and Laura Montalvo, Argentina, def. Maureen Drake and Vanessa Webb, Canada, 6-4, 6-4. Rita Grande, Italy, and Karina Habsudova, Slovakia, def. Renata Kolbovic and Marie-Eve Pelletier, Canada, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.