Top 10 Stars Move On, Van Uytvanck Emerges

Francesca Schiavone and Jelena Jankovic were strong in their first matches at the Brussels Open.

Published May 17, 2011 12:00

Top 10 Stars Move On, Van Uytvanck Emerges
Francesca Schiavone

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Top 10 stars Francesca Schiavone and Jelena Jankovic made winning beginnings to their Brussels Open campaigns Tuesday, beating tricky first round opponents in straight sets at the Premier-level event.

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World No.5 Schiavone had beaten Tsvetana Pironkova in all three of their previous meetings and the tides wouldn't turn this time as the Italian closed out a 62 75 victory against Bulgaria's first ever Grand Slam semifinalist.

"When it's so windy, it's not easy to adjust. But I enjoyed it anyway," Schiavone commented after the match. "I need to play matches, run and feel my energy going up right now, with the French Open coming. I need that this week."

Next for Schiavone is American Irina Falconi. "I need to be focused on me. When I have a good feeling, I can do many things," Schiavone said. "But I have to respect her and see how she plays. I'll study the tactics and go from there."

World No.10 Jankovic trailed 3-1 in the second set and three times faced a point for 1-4 but got back on track against Anastasia Rodionova, taking five games in a row to seal a 62 63 victory over the Russian-born Australian.

"The conditions were tough today - windy, cooler. It was different than what I've been used to the last few weeks," Jankovic said. "But I just tried to focus and keep my eye on the ball and I'm happy to get through to the next round."

Next up for Jankovic is Sofia Arvidsson. Jankovic has beaten Arvidsson in both previous meetings but the Swede pushed her to the limits both times, including holding five match points against her in one of those previous matches.

"I played against her a long time ago, maybe in the year 2008," Jankovic said. "Sofia's a good player. I just need to keep playing my game and we'll see."

Jankovic's younger brother has been with her in Brussels. "He arrived from Miami and has been talking about the museum of chocolate. We'd really like to go there. I really love chocolate, I'm eating it non-stop! I have a sweet tooth."

Both Schiavone and Jankovic were involved in the WTA's new ad campaign, Strong Is Beautiful, which was launched last week. What are their thoughts?

"I'm part of it because I'm 100% strong. Beautiful, that depends on the taste someone has," Schiavone joked. "But really it's good. It lets fans see us not just like players, but something else, with different clothes and hair, many things."

"I think the campaign is great. I like the whole theme," Jankovic commented. "We have strong girls who are beautiful on and off the court. It's great promotion for women's tennis. I think the WTA has done a great job with the campaign."

Check out imagery and video from Strong Is Beautiful right here.

No.6 seed Yanina Wickmayer, No.7 seed Alexandra Dulgheru and No.8 seed Peng Shuai all won as well, although they all had to go three sets.

Wickmayer edged Kaia Kanepi, who is ranked six spots above her at No.16, 61 46 75. "I knew before I started it would be tough, but I worked hard for every point and finally got the win," Wickmayer said. "I really enjoyed it. It's very nice to play in front of my home crowd, and having my family and friends come."

Other winners were Ayumi Morita, Galina Voskoboeva, Abigail Spears and Alison Van Uytvanck. Van Uytvanck, a 17-year-old Belgian qualifier, had the most surprising win of the day, taking out Patty Schnyder, 63 26 62.

"It's great to have this victory. I haven't really realized it yet - this evening it'll come," Van Uytvanck said. "It's great to play at home in Belgium. All the people are behind you, helping you during the match, especially when you're down."

Van Uytvanck, who is playing in her first WTA tournament, had gone 15-0 in juniors and 19-1 on the ITF Circuit this year, winning three titles and falling in the final of the other (to former Top 20 player Anna-Lena Groenefeld).

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