BARCELONA, Spain - Three seeds were on the Day 1 menu at the Barcelona Ladies Open, and all three of them were made to work to reach the second round of the International event - including defending champion Roberta Vinci.
Vinci, the No.4 seed, got off to a rocky start, dropping the first set 6-1; but she was never in trouble again, racing out to a 4-0 lead in the second set and 5-0 in the third to make it past Mathilde Johansson under the lights, 16 61 61.
"I was nervous in the match today," Vinci said. "It was my first match back on clay so I had to adjust, but then the second set was much better for me. I started being more aggressive and played with much more confidence."
Barcelona has been a very successful venue for Vinci, who won the title in 2009, reached the final again in 2010 (falling to Francesca Schiavone) and won the title again in 2011. With her first round win this year she is now 15-1 here - she has more match wins here than at any other tournament by far (her next-highest number of wins at an event is nine, at both Palermo and Luxembourg).
"I'm very happy to be here again," the No.18-ranked Italian added.
No.6 seed Petra Cetkovska was also pushed to three sets, finally edging Shahar Peer in almost two and a half hours, 61 57 75. Peer didn't go down easily, fighting back as Cetkovska served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and even after she had triple match point serving for the match again in the third set, 5-2, 40-0; but Cetkovska eventually put the former World No.11 away.
No.7 seed Sara Errani needed just over two hours to beat Irina-Camelia Begu, 76(5) 64, rallying from 3-0 down in the first set tie-break and coming from a break down to win the second set. Begu blasted five aces in the match.
Four more seeds open their Barcelona campaigns on Tuesday, namely No.1 seed Schiavone, No.2 seed Julia Goerges, No.3 seed Dominika Cibulkova and No.5 seed Flavia Pennetta. No.8 seed Polona Hercog, fresh off her first Premier semifinal in Charleston, will play her first round match Wednesday.