Comeback Kournikova defeats Gagliardi

Emmanuelle Gagliardi's run in Auckland ended against Anna Kournikova Keystone Archive

Switzerland's Emmanuelle Gagliardi has failed to reach the semifinals of the Auckland WTA tennis tournament, losing in three sets to Anna Kournikova.

This content was published on January 3, 2002

Gagliardi got off to a good start against the former top-10 player, taking the first set 6-2. The Russian, who is on the comeback trail after an eight-month injury layoff, made her challenger's task easier by committing four times as many unforced errors.

Kournikova continued to struggle against Gagliardi's aggressive approach in the second set, going down 4-1 at one point. She fought back though, taking advantage of the Swiss' weak backhand shots and winning five straight games to take the set 6-4.

The Russian then took the lead in the final set, serving for the match for the first time at 5-3. She dropped the game though after losing a number of service points and a disputed line call, letting Gagliardi off the hook.

The Swiss then held serve to draw even. Her hard work was to no avail though when Kournikova broke her final service game to take the set 7-5 and the match.

Gagliardi said she was happy with the way she played, but disappointed she did not manage to close out the match in the second set."I was more aggressive than her up until the end of the second set and then she went up a gear," the Swiss player said.

"From then it was tough, but I'm really glad it was so close. It will have done Kournikova good to have a tough game." In the previous round, Gagliardi defeated American Kristina Brandi.

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