Anna Kournikova, still seeking her first WTA tournament title, was ousted in the second round of the Croatian Open on Thursday by seventh-seeded Tina Pisnik of Slovenia, 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-3.
Pisnik, who won the Bol tournament two years ago, struggled early against Kournikova. The Russian, who slipped from No 8 in the world to 68 following a foot injury that kept her out of the Tour for much of last year, forced the first set to a tiebreaker which she won before dropping the next two and the match.
Kournikova, who had numerous fans in the stands, was greeted with a huge applause. Talking to reporters, she admitted disappointment, but said: â€œI still feel I made a step forward.â€
Before Bol, Kournikova was losing five consecutive times in opening matches. Referring to that, Kournikova said she obviously made a â€œgood decisionâ€ to come and play in smaller tournaments - Bol, and later Warsaw - skipping Berlin and Hamburg tournaments gathering players such as Venus Williams.
â€œMy wish, of course, is to get back to top 20, actually to where Iâ€™ve been before the injury,â€ she said.
Second-seeded Anne Kremer of Luxembourg also tumbled out of the $170,000 tournament, losing 6-2, 7-5 by Mariana Diaz Oliva of Spain, as well as Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria, who was defeated by Aasa Svensson of Sweden, 7-5, 6-3.
Maleeva led 4-1 in the first set, but Svensson pushed to 4-4 and then completely took over the match.
Fourth-seeded Iva Majoli, the winner of last weekâ€™s Charleston tournament also advanced to the quarterfinals, defeating fellow Croatian Jelena Kostanic, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Kostanic, who beat Majoli in Bol three years ago, took initiative and won the first set comfortably. But the 24-year-old Majoli then began playing more aggressively, forcing Kostanicâ€™s backhand â€“ her weaker side.
â€œIt was really tough,â€ said Majoli, who will face qualifier Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the quarterfinals. Another qualifier, Libuse Prusova of the Czech Republic, defeated Spaniard Maria Sanchez Lorenzo, 6-4, 6-3.
Kuerten advances in Mallorca Open
PALMA DE MALLORCA: Top seed Gustavo Kuerten beat Magnus Norman 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the $381,000 Mallorca Open ATP clay-court tournament.
In his next match, the Brazilian will face Argentine Gaston Gaudio, who crushed Franceâ€™s Cedric Pioline 6-1, 6-3.
In a rematch of the French Open final from 2000, Kuerten showed he has overcome the hip surgery he underwent early this year. Kuerten said he felt fine on the court, although he has room to improve as he returns to top-flight tennis after months of convalescence. â€œBut the main thing is to prove to myself that I am capable of playing at the same level two or three tournaments in a row,â€ he said.
Spainâ€™s Galo Blanco fell to Finlandâ€™s fourth-seeded Jarkko Nieminen 0-6, 3-6. Nieminen will next take on Slovak Dominik Hrbaty, who on Thursday downed Belgiumâ€™s Christophe Rochus 6-4, 6-4.
In the other two quarterfinal matches Spainâ€™s David Sanchez will face Mariano Zabaleta of Argentina and Olivier Rochus of Belgium will play Agustin Calleri of Argentina.