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Dominika Cibulkova beats Tsvetana Pironkova in 1st round of Connecticut Open


NEW HAVEN, Connecticut — Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova overcame the heat and a three-hour match with Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova on Sunday in the first round of the Connecticut Open.

The 26-year-old Cibulkova won 7-6 (6) 6-7 (5) 6-3 as she continues her comeback from left Achilles surgery that sidelined her for more than four months this year.

"The sun wasn't so strong, but it was really, really humid," Cibulkova said. "I was sweating a lot and in the end I was cramping a lot. I could feel it in my body I was getting really tired, but I knew I had to stay strong. "I said to myself 'OK, I'm here for three hours now I'm not going to give it up.'"

The tournament lost its top seed when Simona Halep withdrew because of a left thigh injury after losing to Serena Williams in the Western & Southern Open championship in Cincinnati earlier in the day. She was replaced in the draw by lucky loser Lesia Tsurenko.

"I have had a tough few weeks that have left me with pain in my left leg and unfortunately I can't force myself to play so close to the U.S. Open," Halep said in a statement.

In other matches at Yale Tennis Center, Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu beat Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, and the Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova topped Italy's Camila Giorgi 6-2, 7-5.

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