News & Press

Monday, January 21, 2008

Kleybanova qualified and upset #45 in the world in her first grand slam event

Kleybanova outlasts Peng

By Bren O'Brien

China's Shuai Peng has failed in her bid to get through to the second round of the Australian Open for the third time, overpowered in a three-hour epic by Russia's Alisa Kleybanova.

Kleybanova prevailed 7-5 5-6 9-7 in a match which had the crowd out on Court 21 on the edge of their seats for much of the epic contest. The Russian world No.154 now plays compatriot Anna Chakvetadze, who had a walkover in her earlier match.

The first set saw Kleybanova take the early initiative, establishing a break before handing it back with a double fault in the sixth game. But the Russian dug seep to get another break in the 12th game and take the opener.

It was Peng who began the better in the second, racing to a 2-0 lead before Kleybanova broke back to level it up. Games went with serve until the tenth game, when Peng set up a set point and capitalised, levelling the match.

An epic third set saw Kleybanova grab the early running, leading 2-0, but Peng kept herself in the contest with a break back. Neither player was able to land the killer blow until Kleybanova broke the world No.45 in the 15th game of the set. She saw off a break point and then created a match point of her own. She took that and booked a spot in the final 64 at her first Grand Slam event.

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