Kleybanova beats Larsson in Miami comeback win

Alisa Kleybanova
No win this year has made me more happy than Alisa Kleybanova’s 2-6 6-3 6-2 victory over Johanna Larsson in the first round of the Sony Ericsson Open.  Kleybanova, who has fought of Hodgkins Lymphoma disease, won her first match since the Premier event in Madrid last May.  Kleybanova demonstrated her fighting spirit in the first set as she saved nine break points before Larsson comfortably came through the opening set.  However Kleybanova shook off the early and expected rust to win the second and third sets as she went to task on Larsson’s weak second serve.  Kleybanova will now play Maria Kirilenko in the second round.  I do not expect her to win this one, but it has already been a stunning week for the Russian who was a winner for just stepping back on court…
In other matches, Heather Watson staged a remarkable comeback from 5-0 in the third set to defeat Sorana Cirstea, 6-3 3-6 7-6.  Watson also saved two match points as she posted her first win of 2012, which will hopefully kick her season into touch.  She will play Lucie Safarova in the second round with the winner of that match likely to play world number one, Victoria AzarenkaMona Barthel also continued to impress as she thumped Greta Arn, 6-1 6-0.  Barthel lost just 11 points in the second set as she cruised to a second round meeting with Jelena Jankovic.  I fully anticipate Barthel to beat Jankovic and keep rising up the rankings throughout what has already been a sparkling year for the German player…

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