Bartoli Cruises Ahead, Ivanovic Advances Too
Published May 09, 2011 12:00
ROME, Italy - Marion Bartoli, who lists painting as one of her favorite hobbies, made a strong first impression in one of the artistic capitals of the world on Monday afternoon, cruising past Arantxa Parra Santonja in straight sets in the first round of the $2,050,000 Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.
Bartoli, the No.9 seed, had beaten the Spaniard in their only prior meeting at an ITF event in 2001 and prevailed again, breaking serve five times for a 62 63 win.
"She just beat Flavia Pennetta and Andrea Petkovic last week, so she's very dangerous on clay. She also plays two-handed on both sides just like me, so it was tricky," Bartoli said. "I didn't play very well the two times I played here before but I practiced very well the last few days, and I was happy with my game today, especially my groundstrokes. I was hitting the ball where I wanted to."
Although she has never won back-to-back matches at this event, Bartoli said she always feels good here. "I always felt comfortable here but I was always injured or sick. The courts are fast and hard like the French Open, which helps me, and my name sounds Italian so the crowd is always cheering for me."
The 26-year-old Frenchwoman said she was too focused on her first round match to see the city beforehand, but she will try to on Tuesday. "It's tricky before any tournament because you want to be ready for your first match, but I have a day off tomorrow and I'll be more relaxed. I have practice in the morning then in the afternoon I'll go out for lunch and a coffee. Something nice!"
Ana Ivanovic, the No.13 seed this week, won the first nine games against Nadia Petrova when the Russian retired due to a hip strain. "Winning this first match means a lot to me - it was quite a tough draw but I was ready for a challenge," Ivanovic commented after the match. "There are no easy opponents but I'm ready to take my chances. It's really good to be back in Rome."
Other first round winners included Yanina Wickmayer, Alisa Kleybanova, Jarmila Gajdosova, Daniela Hantuchova, Elena Vesnina, Lourdes Domínguez Lino, Iveta Benesova, Vera Dushevina and qualifiers Polona Hercog and Christina McHale. Domínguez Lino faced a match point at 2-5 in the third set but overcame Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 61 06 76(4).