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Tuesday, April 30
Updated: May 1, 12:35 PM ET
After long drought, Kournikova advances

Associated Press

BOL, Croatia -- Anna Kournikova advanced to the second round Tuesday in the Croatian Bol Ladies Open after losing five consecutive times in opening matches.

Kournikova, trying to come back from a stress fracture in her foot that sidelined her for much of last year, won 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-2 despite 50 unforced errors against Julia Vakulenko, ranked 118th in the world.

"After the first set, I felt more comfortable," the 20-year-old Kournikova admitted later.

Referring to the injury and recent defeats that put her to the 68th place in the world -- down from No. 8 a year ago -- she said: "It's not that I have to come back. I just have to start playing better."

The Croats are thrilled to have the tennis cover girl playing at the tournament.

The crowd -- largest ever in the first round in Bol -- did not mind the subpar play. They were clearly on Kournikova's side, shouting support.

Reporters cover every step she makes, and the newspapers have carried her photo on the front pages for days.

In the second round, Kournikova will face seventh-seeded Tina Pisnik, who won the tournament two years ago. Pisnik defeated Zuzana Hejdova 6-2, 7-5.

Sixth-seeded Henrieta Nagyova also moved to the second round, ousting Maja Matevzic 7-6 (5), 6-2, and Jelena Kostanic beat Tatiana Poutchek 6-7 (5), 6-0, 6-4.

Kostanic will face Iva Majoli, seeded fourth, in the second round. Majoli, who won the WTA tournament in Charleston, defeated Ludmila Cervanova 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Angelique Widjaja defeated Seda Noorlander 6-2, 6-0 and will meet top-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia in the second round.

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