Alisa Kleybanova was forced to skip her home tournament in Moscow in 2011 and 2012 because of her Hodgkin's lymphoma, but today she made sure that everyone noticed her comeback by beating Varvara Lepchenko in an epic three-setter lasting three hours and 11 minutes.
Despite wasting three set points at 6-5 in the first set and being threatened by 20 break points against her, Kleybanova advanced to the second round of the Kremlin Cup with a 6-7(6) 6-4 6-4 victory. Actually, Kleybanova and Lepchenko had pretty devastating statistics regarding break points, as Kleybanova converted 8 of 27 and Lepchenko 6 of 20.
Two more Russians passed into the second round on Monday: seed No.8 Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Lesia Tsurenko 7-5 6-2 and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova blitzed Caroline Garcia 6-0 6-3. Moreover, France's Alize Cornet defeated Elina Svitolina 7-5 6-3.
Meanwhile, in the first-round action of the smaller event taking place this week, BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open, seed No.5 Lucie Sarafova defeated Peng Shuai 7-5 6-4, eight-seeded Bojana Jovanovski recorded her 14th victory in 16 matches by ousting Francesca Schiavone 6-4 6-3, Monica Niculescu beat Alexandra Cadantu 7-5 6-4, Annika Beck eliminated Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2 6-2 and Yanina Wickmayer pushed trough by defeating Heather Watson 6-0 5-7 6-2. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)