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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stevenson Downs Zvonareva in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tennessee -- Fourth-seeded Alexandra Stevenson of the United States needed three sets and two hours Monday to beat Russian qualifier Vera Zvonareva in the first round of the Kroger St. Jude Classic.

Stevenson, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 1999, won tiebreakers in the first and third sets for a 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) victory.

In other action, fourth-seeded Xavier Malisse of Belgium, the only seeded men's player in action Monday, was taken to a tiebreaker in the opening set before defeating Spain's Juan Balcells 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.

Stevenson dropped the second set when Zvonareva broke her after a lengthy 10th game to even the match at a set each.

"I was really mad after I lost the second set because I wanted to win it, obviously, and get out of there," Stevenson said.

Stevenson had a number of unforced errors, hitting both backhands and forehands long. But the 1.85 meter American was also amazed at Zvonareva's sometimes successful strategy to rely on lobs for winners.

"She passed me so many times at the net," Stevenson said. "I'm not used to that. A lot of people don't usually lob like 20 times and make them in. It was pretty amazing."

Zvonareva, aged 17, said her inability to serve cost her the match, particularly in the two tiebreaker sets.

"The tiebreakers were too close and one or two points decided everything," Zvonareva said.