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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stoliarov Loses, Blames Heavy Balls

APKafelnikov returning Tuesday to Sargsian in the first round of the St. Petersburg Open.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Britain's Greg Rusedski powered into the St. Petersburg Open second round on Tuesday with a crushing 6-1, 6-4 win over unhappy Russian Andrei Stoliarov, who complained the tennis balls were "anti-professional."

Stoliarov, struggling with his serve throughout the match, blamed the tennis balls for his poor performance.

A tournament official confirmed the balls used were Titanium brand rather than the Penn ones used in most tournaments.

No. 2 seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who beat Armenian Sargis Sargsian 7-6, 6-2 in the first round, agreed the balls were not ideal, and Rusedski admitted he found them "pretty heavy."

Kafelnikov said there was a greater chance of getting shoulder or wrist injuries with the heavier balls "because you have to serve with much greater force."

"They feel like hockey pucks," the Russian said.

"In Vienna two weeks ago we had almost the same situation. The organizers want to slow down play and so the players become victims because now we are more prone to getting injured."

Stoliarov said he was not able to play with the Titanium brand balls.

"If you hit them right they would go left and vice versa," Stoliarov said.

"For somebody who is almost two meters tall and who hits the ball at 200 kilometers per hour it doesn't matter, but for somebody who plays from the baseline it makes a lot of difference."

Rusedski said although he found them heavy, all the players were in the same position.

"They [the balls] fluffed up and it was hard to finish the point, but it's the same for all players," he said.

"It would be nice to have the same balls in all our indoor tournaments."

Seventh seed Rusedski said he was pleased with the way he played against Stoliarov, who had beaten him in three sets the last time they met, at the President's Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, last year.

"Finally my serve worked again today and I was also moving well and hitting the ball well," Rusedski said.

"It took me some time to get used to the change from clay courts in the Davis Cup to the indoor season."

Rusedski's powerful serve was on song as he hit seven aces to overwhelm his Russian opponent in just over an hour.

Earlier Tuesday, world No. 26 Dominik Hrbaty was upset in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 by French qualifier Michael Llodra, who is ranked 87 places below him.

src="/photos/icons/BLOB.gif">Anna Kournikova ended a five-match losing streak Tuesday with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Jana Kandarr in the first round of the $70,000 SEAT Open, The Associated Press reported.

The 20-year-old Russian won her first match since coming back last month from a stress fracture of her left foot that has kept her out of action for most of the season.

Kournikova, seeded fifth, now faces a tough second-round match with promising Slovak teenager Daniela Hantuchova, who defeated German qualifier Andrea Glass 6-4, 6-4.