For a brief moment it must have felt like old times for 2008
champion Nikolay Davydenko as he strolled out onto center court
under a bright morning sun to kick off the day's action.
But there was no reliving the glory days for the former world number
three, now ranked 71, who has seen his form dip as Frenchman Adrian
Mannarino dispatched the Russian 6-4 7-5 in front of handful of
Davydenko was followed onto center court by another former top-10
player in Argentine Juan Monaco and a few hours later the world
number 41 was shown to the exit by another Frenchman, falling 7-5
3-6 7-6 (7-5) to Jeremy Chardy.
But for former world number three Nadia Petrova, now languishing at
number 205 in the rankings, there were flashes of the form that
carried her to 13 career titles as the Russian saw off Poland's
Urszula Radwanska 7-5 1-6 6-4.
"For some people they might think it's hard especially being where I
am right now," the 31-year-old Petrova told Reuters.
"At this stage of my career it is kind of difficult but on the other
hand with all the experience I have and the knowledge knowing when
are the important moments, when to step in and take the initiative
it can be easier."
Sprinkled across the sprawling Crandon Park tennis complex on
Wednesday were players who were once fixtures in the top 10,
commanding big audiences and all the perks that go with being a
Czech Radek Stepanek, Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis and Germany's Andrea
Petkovic were among those on the comeback trail working up a
first-round sweat while world number ones Rafa Nadal and Serena
Williams and other members of the top-10 club enjoyed a bye and some
of the perks that go with their ranking.
Those luxuries are, for the moment at least, no longer available to
"It's humbling," admitted Petrova. "When you arrive at a tournament
(as top-ranked player) you know you have all the luxuries," said
"You can have a box of balls, you can get a rental car, you can get
an extra hotel, you can get a suite, and right now those things do
not exist for me anymore.
"You have to start from the beginning."
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For Petrova, it is almost like starting over again as she must play
qualifiers to get into tournaments or depend on the charity of a
With 13 singles and 24 doubles titles, Petrova is just one of three
active players, along with Serena Williams and Venus Williams, with
10-plus victories in both events.
She had been a fixture in the top 15 for almost a decade and ended
the 2012 season as the world number 12.
But a hip injury in 2013 followed by the death of her mother in
December forced Petrova off the WTA Tour and sent her ranking on a
"I'm just taking it match by match and at the moment I do lack
little bit of match play, it's been a long time since I've been on a
roll so it is frustrating and challenging," said Petrova. "Obviously
going back into (qualifiers) is not an exciting thing for me to do,
especially since it has been over 10 years since I have been part
"Other than that I am just focused on the game and things I need to
do on the court."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
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