Qualifier Kateryna Bonderanko of the Ukraine upset top-seeded Tereza Smitkova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (6), 6-4 on Wednesday in the first round of the Red Rock Pro Open at Red Rock Country Club.
Bonderanko, once ranked 29th by the WTA, has career wins over Venus Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Elena Dementieva and Li Na and has won more than $2 million in prize money during her career.
In doubles, top-seeded Asia Muhammad of Las Vegas and Maria Sanchez defeated Giola Barbieri and Amandine Hesse 6-3, 6-1. Muhammad and Sanchez will face Naomi Broady and Irina Falconi today in the fourth match on Court 5. The first match is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.
At the 2012 U.S. Open, Bonderanko lost in the first round to Jelena Jankovic, winning just three games. Afterward, Bonderanko mentioned to her husband that she didn’t feel right during the match. She found out a month later back in her homeland that she was two months pregnant.
After giving birth and taking 20 months off, Bonderanko made her return this year and has used her protected world ranking of No. 137 to get into some WTA events in Europe, and she also played in the French Open qualifying.
Bonderanko, a quarterfinalist at the 2009 U.S. Open, decided not to use her protected ranking in Las Vegas and won three qualifying matches. On Wednesday in the USTA $50,000 Pro Circuit event, the 28-year-old survived two set points down 6-4 in the first-set tiebreaker to record the victory over the 19-year-old Smitkova.
Two other players making their return to tennis after an extended absence met in the first round, with wild card Nicole Vaidisova, once ranked seventh in the world, outlasting 2011 Las Vegas finalist Alexa Glatch 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Also, defending champion Melanie Oudin, seeded sixth, defeated Broady 6-3, 6-2.
In a second-round match Thursday, No. 3-seeded Anna Tatishvili will meet unseeded Falconi in a rematch of last week’s $75,000 Challenger final in Albuquerque, N.M.