Tennis: Vaidisova becomes first seed to fall

By Robert Lowe

Czech Nicole Vaidisova today became the first seeded casualty at the ASB Classic tennis tournament in Auckland, falling to Russian Elena Vesnina in straight sets.

In windy conditions at Stanley St, both players struggled to hold serve, but Vesnina's greater steadiness saw her through for a 6-4 6-3 victory over the No 6 seed.

Vesnina said conditions were not too bad at the beginning of the match and she was happy with her serving and shotmaking as she built an early lead.

"But then it started to be a bit more windy and we lost some confidence," she said.

"I missed a few easy shots and it started to be a little more shaky."

Vesnina's serving helped her out at times, as she sent down seven aces to one, but that was balanced by five double faults.

She also profited from attacking Vaidisova's second serve, sensing that her opponent was lacking rhythm, and she got the pivotal break in the eighth game of the second set, coming 15-40 down to go 5-3 up.

She had a great chance to close out the contest on the her first match point but put an attempted forehand winner wide.

However, Vesnina sealed the victory at her next opportunity when, with a mobile phone ringing in the crowd, Vaidisova pushed the return long.

The result was a disappointing one for Vaidisova, 19, a former world No 7 with six WTA Tour titles who is looking to come back from an injury-hit 2008.

For Vesnina, 22, victory was also consolation for missing out on seeing her family on what is Christmas Day in Russia, with the Russian Orthodox Church using the old Julian calendar.

She hasn't been able to celebrate the day at home for some years now because of her tennis career, but she did receive a call from her her family this morning.

She is planning to have a glass of champagne or two, but now until much later today.

She and compatriot Russian Dementieva are due back on court in a doubles quarterfinal in the last match of the day.


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