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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Fourth-seeded Alexandra Stevenson needed three sets and more than two hours to beat qualifier Vera Zvonareva in the first round of the Kroger St. Jude Classic on Monday night.

Stevenson, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 1999, won tiebreakers in the first and third sets for a 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5) victory.

In other action, fourth-seeded Xavier Malisse of Belgium, the only seeded player on the men's side in action Monday, was taken to a tiebreaker in the opening set before defeating Juan Balcells of Spain, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Stevenson dropped the second set when Zvonareva broke her after a lengthy 10th game to even the match at a set each.

``I was really mad after I lost the second set because I wanted to win it, obviously, and get out of there,'' Stevenson said.

Stevenson had a number of unforced errors, hitting both backhands and forehands long. But the 6-foot-1 Stevenson also was amazed at Zvonareva's sometimes successful strategy to rely on lobs for winners.

``She passed me so many times at the net,'' Stevenson said. ``I'm not used to that. A lot of people don't usually lob like 20 times and make them in. It was pretty amazing.''

Zvonareva, a 17-year-old from Russia, said her inability to serve cost her the match, particularly in the two tiebreaker sets.

``The tiebreakers were too close, and one or two points decided everything,'' Zvonareva said.
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