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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Graf Posts Rocky Win in Berlin

BERLIN -- Steffi Graf, playing her first match after three months out with a knee injury, struggled to a three sets win over American Chanda Rubin at the German Open.


Graf, who lost her world No. 1 ranking to Swiss Martina Hingis in March, triumphed 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.


Top-seeded Graf appeared visibly stunned at losing the second set Tuesday as Rubin, unseeded and ranked 27th in the world, broke service in the eighth game and then held her own to square the match.


But with a menacing glare Graf rattled off the first four games of the decider to demonstrate that a return to full fitness may not be far off.


"I felt very uncertain out there at first," Graf said. "I gave away a lot of easy points. ... I am not very happy with my performance, but happy that I made it through my first match."


It was Graf's sixth win over Rubin in six meetings. She had received a bye into the second round and will face 15th seed Ruxandra Dragomir of Romania in her next match.


Rubin, who climbed as high as sixth in the world rankings in 1996 before injuring her right hand, beat Canada's Patricia Hy-Boulais 7-5, 6-2 in the first round on Monday.


Also on Monday, Katrina Habsudova of Slovakia coasted and Mary Joe Fernandez struggled, but both players reached the second round of a German Open boasting one of its strongest fields ever.


No. 9 Habsudova and No. 10 Fernandez of the United States were the top seeds to see action on the first day of the $927,000 German Open, which has 16 of the world's Top 20 players entered.


Habsudova beat 17-year-old wild card Sandra Kloesel of Germany 7-5, 6-3 after an erratic first set, while Fernandez needed three sets to beat Italy's Flora Perfetti, who is winless on clay this year.


Fernandez, who has twice reached the semifinals of the French Open, finally ousted the world No. 56, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.