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Old Feb 21st, 2005, 09:09 PM   #25
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Bovina in straight-set win at Qatar Open

By RIZWAN REHMAT, Associated Press Writer

February 21, 2005 DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- Sixth-seeded Elena Bovina of Russia returned to the court for the first time in 3 1/2 months Monday, beating Shinobu Asagoe of Japan 7-5, 7-6 (6) in the first round of the Qatar Open.

Playing chiefly from the baseline, Bovina won for the first time in three tries against Asagoe.

``I am happy that I managed to win my first match,'' said Bovina, who battled a variety of injuries last season and hadn't played since reaching the final in Linz, Austria, in October. ``I was a bit slow at the start but I am glad I did not lose the tiebreaker. I got good match practice.''

Bovina traded breaks with Asagoe to open the match, but earned two more in games four and 12 to claim the first set in 43 minutes.

Forced to a tiebreaker in the second set, the 6-foot-2 Bovina overpowered the 5-foot-7 Asagoe, establishing a 6-3 lead before finally prevailing.
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