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Bartoli Blitzes Safina

Dinara Safina had the misfortune to bump into a fierce Marion Bartoli on Monday night.

Published January 10, 2011 12:00

Bartoli Blitzes Safina
Marion Bartoli

HOBART, Australia - Top seed Marion Bartoli routed Dinara Safina in the first round of the Hobart International on Monday night, the world No.17 proving too match tough for the former world No.1 as she romped to a 60 61 win.

But Bartoli - who reached the semis in Brisbane last week and went into today's match with a 2-0 head-to-head record against the Russian - felt the scoreline wasn't an accurate reflection of the match. Even so, Bartoli's consistency off the ground was clear in her 55 percent success rate off Safina's first serve, which the Russian made a very respectable 71 percent of the time.

"It's not like she played badly," said the Frenchwoman. "Some games were really tight and went my way but the scoreline could have been much tighter... I thought it was really a Top 15 match, and it wasn't only my level, she was playing really well."

Of her own form in the 91-minute encounter, she added: "It's my first time in Tasmania, I didn't have time to acclimatize... it's my first time playing in these kind of conditions. The most important thing was my level and I really played well."

The two seeds right behind Bartoli, No.2 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No.3 Tsvetana Pironkova, both lost their openers, however. After conceding the first set by a 62 scoreline, Pavlyuchenkova retired against Bethanie Mattek-Sands with a hip flexor injury, while Pironkova was beaten by in-form Peng Shuai, 26 63 62.

But No.5 seed Klara Zakopalova dismissed Melanie Oudin, 63 76(3) and the highest-ranked Australian in the field, sixth-seeded Jarmila Groth, moved confidently past Johanna Larsson, 61 63.

In the second round Bartoli faces Elena Vesnina, who earlier in the day beat Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja, 62 61. British No.1 Elena Baltacha also advanced, as did Alla Kudryavtseva and three of the event's four qualifiers: Olga Govortsova, Tamira Paszek and Alberta Brianti.

The wildcard contingent was less productive, with Aussie teens Sally Peers and Olivia Rogowska stumbling, but veteran Alicia Molik notching a classy win over Sofia Arvidsson. (The victory marks Molik's first at tour level since the first round of Wimbledon last year.) Next up for Molik, who turns 30 later in the month, is No.7 seed Sara Errani.

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