Thu, Oct 05, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Groenefeld outlasts Malek, Safina defeats Santangelo


Anna-Lena Groenefeld strikes a forehand in her match against Tatjana Malek at the Porsche WTA tennis tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, on Tuesday.


Anna-Lena Groenefeld got back on the winning track on Tuesday when she beat Tatjana Malek 6-3, 2-6, 6-0, in an all-German first-round duel at the US$650,000 Porsche Grand Prix.

Groenefeld clinched her first victory in two months after 1 hour 57 minutes of hard-hitting action in the Porsche Arena on her third match point.

Russian sixth seed Dinara Safina advanced into the second round with a dramatic 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (11-9) victory over Italian Fed Cup champion Mara Santangelo.

Safina failed to serve out the match at 6-5 in the final set and then needed to save three match points before succeeding on her third chance in a dramatic tiebreak after 2:17 hours.

"I chocked [at 6-5] but luckily I won in the end," Safina said.

But two other lower-ranked Russian crashed out in the first round. Elena Likhovtseva fell 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 against Tatiana Golovin of France and Ekaterina Bychkova lost 6-3, 6-3 to Israeli teenager Shahar Peer.

Groenefeld, 21, won her first career title early this year in Acapulco and made the French Open quarter-finals in June. But it was downhill from then on, culminating in first-round losses at her last three events: New Haven, the US Open and Luxembourg.

She took the first set courtesy of a break for 5-3 but fired a ball into the net in disgust when the 150th-ranked Malek broke for 3-1 in the second.

However, the 18th-ranked Groenefeld regrouped in the final set.

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