MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti)
Eighth seed Lucie Safarova had to dig deep to reach the second round of the Kremlin Cup on Monday in the face of a strong challenge from a Russian youngster.
Wildcard entrant Margarita Gasparyan, ranked 225th in the world, took the two-hour match to a decider but faded late on as her Czech opponent won 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
Gasparyan, 18, was awarded her place at the Kremlin Cup after reaching the final of the Russian national championships.
She surprised Safarova, a semifinalist at the tournament last year, with an early break in the first set but the Czech responded quickly.
Safarova now faces either Romania's Alexandra Cadantu or fellow Czech Klara Zakopalova in the second round ahead of a possible quarterfinal meeting with top seed Sam Stosur.
Earlier, Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson beat Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski 6-2, 6-4 in their first-round match and will now face second seed Marion Bartoli.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.