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Las Vegas Wild Card Asia Muhammad Wins First Round at Party Rock Open

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Local wild card Asia Muhammad used the home-court and crowd to her advantage on Wednesday night, beating qualifier Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, in the first round of the Party Rock Open, a women's $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event sponsored by Redfoo of the hit group LMFAO and being played at the Darling Tennis Center.

Redfoo watched from the stands as Muhammad got through the match, setting up a second-round showdown with No. 2-seeded American Lauren Davis, who Muhammad lost to last year in their only professional meeting. The match will be the featured night match on Stadium Court Thursday night beginning at 6 p.m.

"There was a time not long ago when I would have just folded in that third set and my whole game would have gone south, when I wanted to get off the court as fast as I could," Muhammad said. "But I've been working on my mental game and once I hit the third set tonight I just felt so refreshed and was able to push through."

Muhammad, 21, was a finalist at this event in 2008 as a 17-year-old, but says it doesn't really feel that long ago. "Because we've been to different venues, it doesn't even really feel like the same tournament," she said. "It can be nerve-wracking at times being the local favorite because people want to see me do well, and I want to do well."

Earlier in the day, Davis avenged a recent defeat to American Maria Sanchez, who she lost to on Sunday 6-1, 6-1, in the finals at Albuquerque $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit event. Davis dropped the first set, 6-2, but the heat seemed to get to the fatigued Sanchez, who dropped the next two sets, 6-2, 6-3.

Playing in her first match since winning the U.S. Open Junior singles title, USTA wild card Samantha Crawford fell in her opening match to No. 4-seeded Anastasia Rodionova, a Russian representing Australia, 6-4, 6-3.

"It does feel a little different that people may know me a little more now," said the Atlanta native Crawford, 17. "Even now after a few weeks I still can't believe I won the Junior US Open."

Rodionova next plays her sister and doubles partner Arina in a second-round singles match. Later in the day, the two play doubles and are the tournament's top-seeded team.

A day after losing the No. 1 and 3 seeds, the tournament on Wednesday also lost the No. 5 seed as Maria Abramovic of Croatia defeated Irina Falconi, 7-5, 6-1.

Jessica Pegula, U.S., def. Chelsey Gullickson (wc), U.S., 5-2, retired (illness)
Heidi El Tabakh (8), Canada, def. Ashley Weinhold, U.S., 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Shelby Rogers, U.S., def. Grace Min, U.S., 6-4, 6-0
Elena Bovina, Russia, def. Julia Bosserup, U.S., 1-6, 6-4, 7-5
Maria Abramovic, Croatia, def. Irina Falconi (5), U.S., 7-5, 6-1
Lauren Davis (2), U.S., def. Maria Sanchez, U.S., 2-6, 6-2, 6-3
Arina Rodionova (q), Russia, def. Ksenia Lykina, Russia, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (2)
Anastasia Rodionova (4), Australia, def. Samantha Crawford (wc), U.S., 6-4, 6-3
Marie-Eve Pelletier, Canada, def. Jennifer Elie (q), U.S., 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2
Stephanie Dubois, Canada, def. Alison Riske (6), U.S., 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (3)
Arina Rodionova (q), Russia, def. Ksenia Lykina, Russia, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (2)
Madison Brengle, U.S. def. Allie Will (wc), U.S., 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3
Adriana Perez (q), Venezuela, def. Veronica Cepede Royg (Paraguay), 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
Asia Muhammad (wc), U.S., def. Gabriela Dabrowski (q), Canada, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2