Vesna Dolonc produced one of her best performances of the season to defeat former champion Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the Kremlin Cup.
MOSCOW, Russia - Vesna Dolonc caused the first major upset of the Kremlin Cup when she knocked out 2011 champion Dominika Cibulkova in the first round on Tuesday.
Twelve months ago, Dolonc reached her first Premier-level quarterfinal in Moscow and once again she seems to have saved her best for her home event.
Despite now competing under the Serbian flag, Dolonc, who came through qualifying, was born and raised in Moscow and looked very much at home on the Olympic Stadium's Centre Court.
"I think I play well here because I finally feel at home and can relax," Dolonc said. "It's always nice because I have the whole family and friends here - I always enjoy the Kremlin Cup."
After dropping the opening set, Dolonc settled into the contest in the second, neutralizing Cibulkova's baseline aggression with some astute counterpunching.
Her consistency began to draw the errors from the No.9 seed, leveling the match up when a Cibulkova backhand drifted wide. Dolonc carried this consistency into the decider, breaking for a 4-2 lead before serving out a 36 75 63 victory a few games later.
"It was a very important match for me," Dolonc added. "I've beaten Top 20 players before so I knew I could play at this level.
"I played Dominika in the Fed Cup but she had to retire with an injury and I was not happy to win like this, so I'm happy I was able to play a good match and win it."