Moscow – Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovky produced an opening day upset at the Kremlin Cup, ousting Portuguese seventh seed Joao Sousa in straight sets here on Monday.
The 98th ranked player in the world saw off the 24-year-old Sousa 6-4, 6-3 in one hour 17 minutes.
Sousa, 50th in the ATP rankings, started this first round tie confidently, clinching a comfortable 4-1 lead with a break in the fourth game.
However unseeded Stakhovsky refused to surrender and broke back twice to take the five consecutive games and the first set in 37
In the second Stakhovsky, who lives in Bratislava, Slovakia, underlined his supremacy at the hard court of Moscow's Olympic indoor arena when producing two more breaks to take the set and the match.
“I started a bit nervous and experienced certain problems in the beginning,” Stakhovsky said. “But later in the first set I managed to bring my concentration back and dominated the play in the rest of the match.”
In the next round the 27-year-old Ukrainian will face either the Czech Jiri Vesely or France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin, in action later on Monday.
Amongst the women, France's Aize Cornet, who is seeking her fourth title here, saw off Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 7-5, 6-3 in one hour 42 minutes on her way into the second round.
The opponents traded breaks throughout the opening set until the 23-year-old Cornet got her break to clinch a one-set lead in 51
In the second set Cornet, who is 26th in the WTA rankings, broke her rival's serve twice for a commanding 4-0 advantage.
The Ukrainian teenager dug deep to break in the fifth game but failed to save the day with Cornet booking a date with either seventh seed Samantha Stosur of Australia or Estonia's Kaia Kanepi in the clash for a place in the quarter-finals.
“She's a very young player but very talented,” Cornet said. “I didn't expect to play this level today because I just came back from injury but surprisingly I played really good.
“I think I was really solid especially in the most important moments and that's why I won.”
Local favourite and two-time Grand Slam title winner Svetlana
Kuznetsova, seeded eighth, advanced into the second round on the back of a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko. – Sapa-AFP