Venus Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Italy's Flavia Pennetta during their Kremlin Cup tennis match in Moscow October 7, 2008.
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Wimbledon champion Venus Williams suffered a shock first round elimination at the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday.
The sixth seeded American lost 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to Flavia Pennetta of Italy.
Pennetta and Williams traded breaks in the first set before the Italian broke decisively on her third chance in the ninth game with a lob.
Williams broke twice in the second set, but dropped serve in the first game of the third and never recovered.
Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva, two Russian seeds who have never reached the final of their home event, won their first-round matches.
Former U.S. Open champion Kuznetsova beat Li Na of China 6-4, 7-5.
Italy's Flavia Pennetta returns the ball to Venus Williams of the U.S. during their Kremlin Cup tennis match in Moscow October 7, 2008.
Li ended Serena Williams' reign as No. 1 last week in Stuttgart but had to play catch up with fifth-seeded Kuznetsova in both sets.
Kuznetsova led 4-1 in the second set and had two match points serving at 5-3 before Li evened it at 5-5.
However, the Russian broke next game and then served out the match on her fourth match point.
Kuznetsova, ranked No. 7, has lost all seven of her WTA Tour finals this season.
Seventh-seeded Zvonareva ousted Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-4 and Ekaterina Makarova beat Elena Vesnina 7-6 (4), 7-6 (1) in all-Russian matches.