Moscow: Defending champion Dominika Cibulkova advanced to the second round of the Kremlin Cup, rallying to beat Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday.
The fifth-seeded Slovakian, who won her second career title in the United States in July, struggled in the first set, losing four consecutive games. But she broke Makarova in the 10th game of the second set to stay in the match and soon jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the third set.
"The surface is very much different from the one here last year, and it's not the best surface I would say," Cibulkova said. "Last year it was much softer and it was like a gum. But now it's very slow and very rough. It was not easy to get into the rhythm, that's why I had so many mishits in the first set."
In the second round, Cibulkova will face Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, who beat Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-0, 7-6 (3).
Also, Vesna Dolonc of Serbia made it into the final 16, rallying to eliminate Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan 1-6, 6-1, 6-4.
In the first round of the men's tournament, Konstantin Kravchuk of Russia beat Evgeny Korolev of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3, and Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands defeated Michael Berrer of Germany 7-6 (7), 6-3.