Capdeville, who had to qualify for the tournament, shocks Robredo

DUBAI: Anastasia Myskina, the 2004 French Open champion, continued her bid to rehabilitate herself as a major title contender by reaching the second round of the $1 million Dubai Open here on Monday.

The sixth-seeded Russian, who suffered from exhaustion, shoulder injury and personal problems last year, raised hopes of her third decent run in a row with a 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-1 over Zheng Jie.

Myskina reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and the semifinals of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, and now overwhelmed the highest- ranked Chinese player with her forceful service returns and powerful groundstrokes.

``Everything is getting better everything, my life, my shoulder. I'm more happy right now,'' she said.

``I want to play now. I want to do my best. Last year I didn't want to play any more. I was stepping on the court thinking when am I going to get off. Now it's different.''

Long game

Despite that, it looked for a while as though things might go wrong. Myskina had three break points to go 2-0 up in the second set and was unable to convert them in a game which went to nine deuces.

``I did get a little bit upset when I lost that game,'' she admitted, and soon she found herself 5-3 down, as her ratio of unforced errors crept up.

But two controversial line calls helped her to get back into the second set.

Myskina saved two set points at 4-6 and was within two points of the match at 7-7, but Zheng was tenacious, patient and ran a lot of balls down and squeezed out the set when Myskina slewed a forehand wide.

But in the third it was all so different, as Myskina punished Zheng's second serve a lot more and raced to a 5-0 lead.

``It was a little bit difficult to close the match today,'' she admitted. ``I have been playing indoors and it was different here, and I was a little bit nervous as well. But I'll settle down.''

Seeds fall

In Memphis (Tennessee), Tommy Robredo of Spain, and Australian Samantha Stosur were the first round casualties among seeded players at the $865,000 ATP-WTA tournament on Monday.

The third seeded Spaniard lost 4-6, 7-6(3) 6-4 to Paul Capdeville, who is ranked 127th in the world and had to qualify to play in the tournament.

In the women's draw, American Ashley Harkleroad caused the second upset of the day by quickly eliminating Stosur, 6-4, 6-3. Harkleroad's opponent in the second round will be Danish wild card Caroline Wozniacki, who recorded a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 triumph over Puerto Rican Kristina Brandi.

Davydenko advances

In Rotterdam, new tournament favourite Nikolay Davydenko almost became the 14th player to withdraw from the ABN Amro while beating Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round on Monday.

Davydenko needed a trainer to attend to his left foot during the second set. He played through the discomfort, and set up a second-round match with Britain's Greg Rusedski, who also defeated a Czech, Robin Vik, 6-3, 7-5.

Rastogi fails to qualify

Meanwhile, India's Karan Rastogi failed to qualify for the main draw after a 1-6, 4-6 loss to Alex Calatrava of Spain. Rastogi was given a qualifying draw wild card to the event after winning the ABN Amro Challenge in New Delhi in November.

The results: At Dubai (Dubai Open): First round:

Svetlana Kuznetsova bt Martina Muller 6-2, 6-0; Francesca Schiavone bt Virginie Razzano 6-4, 6-4; Kveta Peschke bt Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6(4), 6-3; Maria Kirilenko bt Nadia Petrova 6-4, 6-1.

Daniela Hantuchova bt Li Na 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(7); Vera Douchevina bt Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-1; Anastasia Myskina bt Zheng Jie 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-1; Elena Likhovtseva bt Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 7-5; Lucie Safarova bt Ai Sugiyama 6-2, 6-3.

At Memphis (ATP-WTA tournament): First round: Men: Paul Capdeville bt Tommy Robredo 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4; Cyril Saulnier bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4; Xavier Malisse bt Bjorn Phau 6-1, 6-4; Kenneth Carlsen bt Peter Luczak 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Women: Ashley Harkleroad bt Samantha Stosur 6-4, 6-3; Amy Frazier bt Meilen Tu 6-2, 6-1; Yaroslava Shvedova bt Jamea Jackson 6-3, 6-1; Shenay Perry bt Ekaterina Bychkova 6-3, 7-6(2); Caroline Wozniacki bt Kristina Brandi 6-3, 3-6, 7-5; Anna-Lena Groenefeld bt Yoon Jeong Cho 6-3, 6-2; Meng Yuan bt Varvara Lepchenko 3-6, 6-4, 6-4; Lisa Raymond bt Lina Stanciute 6-3, 6-2.

At Rotterdam (ABN AMRO tournament): First round: Gilles Simon bt Wesley Moodie 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3; Greg Rusedski bt Robin Vik 6-3, 7-5; Nikolay Davydenko bt Jan Hernych 6-3, 6-3; Dominik Meffert bt Raemon Sluiter 2-4 (retired); Taylor Dent bt Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5.

At Sao Paulo (ATP Brasil Open): First round: Jiri Vanek bt Albert Montanes 7-6(6), 6-1; Carlos Berlocq bt Fernando Vicente 6-4, 2-0 (retired); Ricardo Mello bt Juan Antonio Marin 7-6(11), 3-6, 6-0.

At Bogota (WTA tournament): First round: Bethanie Matek bt Arantxa Parra Santoja 6-2, 4-6, 6-2; Agnes Szavay bt Antonella Serra-Zanetti 6-1, 4-6, 6-3; Natalia Gussoni bt Emmanuelle Gagliardi 6-2, 6-4; Emilie Loit bt Maria Jose Argeri 6-4, 6-1; Mariana Diaz Oliva bt Eva Birnerova 6-1, 3-0, (retired). Agencies

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