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Kleybanova wins in Grand Slam return after cancer

Monday - 8/26/2013, 9:10pm  ET

Alisa Kleybanova, of Russia, pumps her fist during her match against Monica Puig, of Puerto Rico, during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, in New York. Kleybanova, a former top-20 player who is recovering from cancer, beat Puig. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alisa Kleybanova of Russia won her first Grand Slam match since being treated for cancer, beating 44th-ranked Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 Monday at the U.S. Open.

The 24-year-old Kleybanova was ranked as high as 20th, but after missing much of the last two seasons because of her illness is now 363rd. She entered the main draw at Flushing Meadows thanks to the WTA's special ranking rule.

Until Monday, she hadn't played in a Grand Slam in 2½ years.

After being diagnosed in the spring of 2011 with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, Kleybanova announced via the WTA's website on July 15 that year -- her 22nd birthday -- she was sick. She underwent chemotherapy until December 2011.


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