Russia’s Maria Kirilenko defeated her compatriot and wild card Elena Vesnina in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Wednesday.
Seventh seed Kirilenko had to survive a set point in the first set before surging back with two breaks of Vesnina's serve. She raced through the second for a 7-5, 6-1 victory.
“I feel great. The match was very difficult, Lena played very well in the first set.” Kirilenko said. “But then I clicked into the match, started to play more aggressively and changed the course of the game. The second set was pretty easy.”
Vesnina, who stays at the tournament to play doubles with Ekaterina Makarova, bemoaned a loss of focus.
“The match was very intense, we both wanted to win a lot. When I was serving for a set I felt that I lost my concentration and it didn’t return to me till the end of the match.”
Kirilenko, who is having the best season of her career, is seeking a first Kremlin Cup title and hopes to go one better than 2010, when she lost the final to current world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-4.
Kirilenko next plays Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova, who had ended the hopes of another Russian player in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round.
Earlier, Klara Zakopalova ousted eighth seed and Czech compatriot Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-4.
Russia's Valeria Solovieva won a battle of two qualifiers against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, prevailing 6-4, 6-2 to set up a second-round match with fourth seed Ana Ivanovic.
Sam Stosur is the top seed for the $740,000 hard-court event, which runs through Sunday in the Russian capital.