- Associated Press - Monday, July 30, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) - No. 3 Sloane Stephens survived a three-set fight in her opening match. Fellow American Brian Baker didn’t.

Stephens defeated Sesil Karatantcheva 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, but No. 2 Chanelle Scheepers and fifth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova both lost first-round matches at the Citi Open on Monday.

Baker, a shocking participant in the round of 16 at Wimbledon earlier this summer, dropped the final two sets to Florent Serra and was eliminated, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Scheepers, ranked No. 42 in the world, fell 6-2, 6-1 to Magdalena Rybarikova. Zahlavova Strycova was beaten by Edina Gallovits-Hall, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

After losing the final three games of the second set, including two on her own serve, Stephens opened the third by breaking Karatantcheva twice for a 3-0 lead. The 19-year-old American, who reached the fourth round at the French Open and the third round at Wimbledon this year, tacked on two more breaks of serve to advance.

No. 7 seed Coco Vandeweghe avoided an upset by defeating Olga Govortsova 6-4, 6-1. Eighth-seeded Olga Govortsova topped Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-2, and Leonardo Mayer beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8) to advance to the second round.

The Washington tournament, a staple on the ATP schedule, is combining with the WTA Tour for the first time.

Mardy Fish, the top-seeded men’s player, is scheduled to play his opening match on Tuesday. Fish, the No. 13 ranked player, skipped the Olympics after missing several weeks on tour earlier this year following a procedure to correct a heart problem.

Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is the top seed in the women’s draw.

The 27-year-old Baker started the year ranked No. 456, but his stunning result at Wimbledon combined with solid performances on clay courts helped propel the former juniors star and injury-plagued American into the top 100 this month. Since then, he has had three straight opening-round losses, all on hard courts.

Baker broke Serra’s serve twice in the opening to take a commanding 5-2 lead, but lost his own serve at 3-4 in the second en route to losing that set. In the third, Serra needed just five points on Baker’s serve for a 1-0 lead and broke again to make it 4-1.

Scheepers committed five double faults and won only 48 percent of the points on her first serve. That paled in comparison to Rybarikova, the 102nd ranked player this week.

Rybarikova won 20 of 23 points on her first serve, had the only five aces in the match, and jumped out to a 5-0 second-set lead.



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