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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Safina Defeats Maleeva in Cup

APSafina beat reigning champion Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 Tuesday.
Defending champion Magdalena Maleeva was eliminated by Russian teenager Dinara Safina 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 on Tuesday in the first round of the Kremlin Cup.

Eleni Daniilidou of Greece also upset eighth-seeded Meghann Shaughnessy 7-5, 6-3.

Safina, the 17-year-old sister of former U.S. Open champion Marat Safin, broke the fifth-seeded Maleeva in the fifth game of the first set and opened the second set with another break.

Maleeva needed four break points in the eighth game of the second set before tying the match at one game all.

Safina saved six break points in the third game of the third set and rallied from a 3-1 deficit. In the 12th game, a cross-court forehand winner set up two match points on Maleeva's serve, and Safina converted the first on a wide Maleeva return.

"I was close to winning the match and had several chances to do it but I was not so fresh as I was last year," Maleeva said.

It was Maleeva's second first-round upset as a Kremlin defending champ. The Bulgarian won the inaugural women's Kremlin Cup in 1994 and successfully defended her title the next year. But in 1996 she lost to Karina Habsudova of Slovakia in the first round.

Maleeva won her third Kremlin title last year by beating three top-10 players: Venus Williams, Amelie Mauresmo and Lindsay Davenport.

"I really tried my best tennis today to win," Safina said. "I think it was my best match this season so far."

Safina is looking for her second career title after winning a tournament this summer in Palermo, Italy. In the second round she will face Italy's Francessca Schiavone, who dispatched Russia's Lina Krasnoroutskaya 2-6, 6-0, 6-4.

Russia's Yelena Bovina advanced to the second round eliminating Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6-4, 6-2. On Wednesday she will face top-seeded Jennifer Capriati, who received a first-round bye.

"It's a tough draw and its the first indoor tournament, so it's a little bit different," said Capriati, who made a last-minute decision to enter the event.

Capriati has not played since Sept. 6, when she lost to eventual champion Justine Henin-Hardenne in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. She withdrew from last week's Shanghai Open due to a shoulder injury.

In men's play, second-seeded Agustin Calleri marked his Kremlin debut with an easy 6-2, 6-2 victory over Russian wild card Denis Golovanov. Calleri, who won his first career title in Acapulco, Mexico, in February, is the highest seed after Igor Andreyev of Russia upset top-seeded Sjeng Schalken on Monday.