Estonian tennis player Elena Malõgina is through to round two of the international Tennis Federation (ITF) W25 tournament in Sozopol, Bulgaria, after defeating third seed Irina Khromacheva in two sets 6.3, 7:6 (10:8).
Malõgina, ranked 250th by the WTA, had appeared at last week's inaugural Tallinn Open, losing in round one to Swiss star Belinda Bencic, while Khromacheva, of Russian origin but playing under a neutral flag, is also Malõgina's doubles partner at the same tournament.
Khromacheva has a further link with Estonian tennis stars – she was world junior number one back in 2010 and a contemporary of Anett Kontaveit, just breaking out at the time, at the age of 14.
Khromacheva even beat Kontaveit twice in competition, including at the French Open junior quarter finals in 2011, though the pairs' fortunes have diverged since then, with Kontaveit currently third in the world in the WTA rankings, while Khromacheva still plies her trade on the ITF circuit, a feeder organization for the top ATP (men's) and WTA (women's) tournaments.
In Sozopol, played on outdoor, hard courts, Khromacheva and Malõgina broke each others' services several times in the first set, but the Estonian held on to win 6:3. The second set was even closer, when things went to a tie-break situation. Malõgina lost a 4:1 lead to see Khromacheva go ahead 6:5 a few points later later. However, she failed to go two points ahead then and after a subsequent chance, while the Estonian ultimately won 10:8 in points.
She next faces Ayla Aksu (Turkey, WTA 551.)
Khromacheva and Malõgina are also paired up in the doubles and have so far beaten local competitors and sisters, Eleonore and Verginie Tchakarova 6:1, 6:7, 10:3.
Editor: Andrew Whyte