Venus Williams crashes out of Kremlin Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Magdalena Maleeva staged a major upset in Moscow on Thursday, eliminating top-seeded Venus Williams 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3) in the second round of the $ 2.2 million K

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Magdalena Maleeva staged a major upset in Moscow on Thursday, eliminating top-seeded Venus Williams in the second round of the $ 2.2 million Kremlin Cup. The 27-year-old Maleeva, ranked 17th in the world, prevailed on a third-set tiebreaker to beat world No 2 Williams 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3). Williams, who had a first-round bye, could not concentrate on the court and had trouble with her returns throughout the match. She needed two breaks in the first set to take a 1-0 lead in the match. In the second set, Maleeva capitalized on Willams' poor return game and broke the American twice to win the set. She clocked her fastest ace at 145 kilometers an hour. Willams' fastest ace of 13 in the match came at 189 kilometers an hour. After trading breaks midway through the decisive third set both held their serves to force a tiebreaker. With 2-2 on the tiebreaker, Williams made her eighth double fault in the match and Maleeva won the next three points for a comfortable 6-2 lead. She closed the set and the match with a powerful serve. "I made a lot of mistakes, it wasn't always going the best from me. Playing against her I wasn't playing my best," said Williams, who was playing her first match since she lost to younger sister Serena in the finals of the US Open in September. Williams beat Maleeva in straight sets at the US Open this year. The American will skip all the remaining events before the season-ending WTA Championships in Los Angeles in November 6-11. Kournikova withdraws, Safin advances Anna Kournikova withdrew from the tournament after spraining her left ankle during her doubles match on Wednesday. Medical checks on Thursday morning revealed a partial rupture of a ligament. In the men's action Thursday, second-seeded defending champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov ousted Nicolas Kiefer of Germany 6-4, 6-2. Kafelnikov beat Kiefer in the final last year for his fifth consecutive title here. Top-seeded Marat Safin of Russia survived a tough three-setter late Thursday to beat Brazilia's Andre Sa 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-5. (AP)

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