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With the pair on serve in the closely contested first set, Kuznetsova and Pennetta traded service breaks in the eighth and ninth games that gave Kuznetsova a 5-4 lead.

But on Pennetta’s service game, the Italian hit a backhand long to hand the first set to Kuznetsova.

Pennetta’s serving game was sub-par in the first set as she made just 58 percent of her first serves. But it got even worse in the set when her percentage dipped to 24. Kuznetsova took advantage and steamrolled to the win.

“It’s not my favorite shot, of course,” Pennetta said. “But when I am a little bit nervous and know I have to play really well with the serve, I start to get nervous and can’t get one in.”

Pennetta, ranked 15th in the world, is projected to drop to No. 18. Pennetta played in her tour-high 54th singles match and, overall, has played in 97 combined matches between singles and doubles.