Radwanska, Cornet Cruise in Paris
Published February 10, 2009 12:00
PARIS, France - After a demoralizing weekend down the road in Orléans, where she lost both Fed Cup singles rubbers played against Italy, French No.1 Alizé Cornet rejoined the winners' circle at the Open GDF Suez in Paris on Tuesday. The other seed in action on the second day of main draw play at the $700,000 Premier event was Agnieszka Radwanska, who also won with ease.
World No.10 Radwanska, the fourth seed, was indeed the highest-rated player to take to the court at the Stade de Coubertin, playing her first Tour match since falling in the opening round of the Australian Open. Happy to be in Paris but admitting to disappointment at not being able to defend her title in Pattaya this week, the 19-year-old Pole breezed past qualifier Oxana Lyubtsova 61 61.
Radwanska didn't make any unforced errors and restricted the young Ukrainian to just four points on serve during the 48 minute match, but she faces a much tougher test in the second round against Alisa Kleybanova, the 19-year-old Russian who upset Ana Ivanovic on her way to reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open. On Tuesday, Kleybanova held off a late surge by Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova to win, 62 76(3).
Although Latvian qualifier Anastasia Sevastova couldn't do much to counter fifth seed Cornet, who crafted a 61 63 win, two other qualifiers scored good victories against more fancied opponents. First, France's Emilie Loit set up a second round clash with Kaia Kanepi when she inflicted on Nicole Vaidisova the 19-year-old Czech's third first round loss of the season, 61 64. Perhaps more surprising was the ease with which Karolina Sprem upset Petra Kvitova, the 18-year-old Czech who won her first Tour title in Hobart last month - but may have suffered a letdown after winning both her Fed Cup matches against Spain in Brno on the weekend. Of course, Sprem is a talented former Top 20 player still finding her way back after elbow surgery in 2007.
In other matches, there was more good news for France when wildcard Nathalie Dechy recovered from a second set dip to outlast Sorana Cirstea, 62 16 62. Cirstea's fellow Romanian, Monica Niculescu, was too wily for Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky, another player coming off a tough weekend representing her nation, though without the success enjoyed by Kvitova.
In the night session, Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, fighting to retain her place in the Top 40, scored a comprehensive win over Russian Ekaterina Makarova, 62 62, in just more than an hour.