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Pennetta, Pironkova Win Openers In Palermo

Flavia Pennetta and Tsvetana Pironkova hit the ground running on the red clay of the XXIV SNAI Open.

Published July 11, 2011 08:26

Pennetta, Pironkova Win Openers In Palermo
Tsvetana Pironkova

PALERMO, Italy - Flavia Pennetta's quest for a second Palermo title got off to a sound start on Monday, the top seed at the $220,000 XXIV SNAI Open winning her opener in straight sets.

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Pennetta, the champion here in 2009 - it was her first title on home soil - and runner-up to Kaia Kanepi last year, was given a workout in the first set of her match, however. Italian wildcard Anastassia Grymalska broke her more celebrated compatriot twice, converting both break points to keep things close. But they would prove to be the only breaks she would secure while dropping serve six times; the world No.21's experience told, 64 61.

The difference in experience, if not age, was also evident when sixth seeded Tsvetana Pironkova took on Anna Tatishvili. The 21-year-old Georgian has cracked the Top 100 in recent weeks but Pironkova, whose season picked up considerably when she reached the quarters at Wimbledon, overcame a second set first service percentage of just 44% to hold on for victory, 62 75.

Later, Italian veteran Alberta Brianti swept past wildcard Silvia Albano in exactly one hour, 61 60. The other singles winner of the day was Brianti's doubles partner, Akgul Amanmuradova, who had too much firepower for Romania's Madalina Gojnea, 76(4) 62.

In the doubles, No.2 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Klara Zakopalova beat Gojnea and Liana Ungur, 64 64; third-seeded Maria Kondratieva and Sophie Lefèvre also advanced in straight sets over Kristina Mladenovic and Katarzyna Piter, 64 61.

The final round of qualifying was also completed on Monday, with Sesil Karatantcheva, Karin Knapp, Elena Bovina and Ani Mijacika all securing places in the main draw.

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