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Li & Bartoli Cruise Through Openers

Li Na and Marion Bartoli came out swinging for the fences in their first matches since Wimbledon, defeating some very talented opponents in straight sets in their openers at the Rogers Cup.

Published August 07, 2013 12:00

Li & Bartoli Cruise Through Openers
Li Na

TORONTO, Canada - Li Na and Marion Bartoli came out swinging for the fences in their first matches since Wimbledon, beating some very talented opponents in straight sets in their Rogers Cup openers.

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The No.4-seeded Li was the first of the pair to advance, storming out to a 61 31 lead then falling into a holding pattern en route to a 61 64 win against former Top 15 player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

"Of course the first match is always tough, especially here because I didn't play any tournaments for three or four weeks after Wimbledon, but I was feeling pretty good," Li said. "I was still a little bit nervous out there, which is natural, but I was fighting a lot on the court and I'm happy to win today."

What's the biggest difference between the practice matches she has been playing and these matches?

"In practice, if you make a mistake, you say, 'Okay, who cares? It's practice,'" Li said. "But in a match, if you miss a shot, they take a point. Sometimes I feel like I'm playing very well in practice but then I'll come to a match and get nervous, and I'll only play 60% or 80% of what I can play. So it's tough."

Bartoli, who won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and is the No.7 seed here, won the first seven games of her match with Lauren Davis and eventually dusted off the American qualifier, 60 63.

"I was surprised I started so well, honestly - I hadn't played on hardcourt for a while, and also the last two times I played in Toronto I lost first round," Bartoli told reporters. "So I just wanted to enjoy myself on the court and try my hardest, and being able to win 60 63 was obviously pretty good for me. I think I played well, and I'm very pleased with the way I handled everything on the court today."

Bartoli was actually scheduled to play the last two weeks in California, but had to pull out of both events with a hamstring injury. "My hamstring is getting better and better," she said. "I just need to take care of it every day. I was able to work with my physio back home and do some rehabilitation and strength work on it so it gets stronger. The summer season is a grueling season - you have to be really fit and ready - so I'm working on it on a daily basis to make sure I'm getting stronger and stronger."

Also among the seeded winners were No.5 seed Sara Errani, who rallied from 4-2 down in the second set to close Klara Zakopalova out in straight sets, 62 76(2); No.10 seed Roberta Vinci, who also rallied from 4-2 down in the second set to win her match in straight sets, beating Ekaterina Makarova, 60 64; No.14 seed Sloane Stephens, who beat Mona Barthel, 63 46 63; and No.15 seed Jelena Jankovic, who saved two set points in the second set to edge Canadian wildcard Sharon Fichman, 64 76(6).

There was one upset, as Alizé Cornet picked off No.11 seed Maria Kirilenko in a tight one, 75 75.

Washington DC champion Magdalena Rybarikova also moved through over Varvara Lepchenko, 64 62.

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