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First Round Kicks Off at Indian Wells

Tsvetana Pironkova was among the winners as first round action began at the BNP Paribas Open.

Published March 11, 2009 12:00

First Round Kicks Off at Indian Wells
Tsvetana Pironkova

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Sixteen players, including five of the world's Top 50, won through to the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday afternoon.

Virginie Razzano, Li Na, Petra Kvitova, Shahar Peer and Tsvetana Pironkova, all ranked between No.40 and No.50 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings, powered past first round opponents on Day 1 of the $4.5-million tournament, all in straight sets.

Razzano, who recently made the biggest final of her career in Dubai, beat qualifier Evgeniya Rodina, 63 64; Li, a finalist in Monterrey last week, beat Tamarine Tanasugarn, 64 64; Kvitova, who won her first Tour title in Hobart in January, beat Pauline Parmentier, 63 62; Peer crushed Kateryna Bondarenko, 62 61; and Pironkova beat Marina Erakovic, 64 61.

Other winners were Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Vesnina, Olga Govortsova, Chan Yung-Jan, Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Nicole Vaidisova, Timea Bacsinszky, Jill Craybas, qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova and wildcards Urszula Radwanska and Alexa Glatch. Vaidisova had lost 11 of her last 13 matches but got off to a winning start in the desert with a 63 64 win over wildcard Michaella Krajicek; Craybas beat recent Australian Open quarterfinalist Jelena Dokic, also a wildcard, 64 62.

All of Wednesday's winners will next face seeds, who received byes in the first round. Pironkova has the unfortunate task of taking on top-seeded world No.2 Dinara Safina, although she has had Top 10 wins over Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic before. Safina is the No.1 seed at a Tour event for the second time in her career; the first time, she went all the way to the title at Prague in 2005.

The bottom half of the draw will play their first round matches on Thursday.

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