RABAT, Morocco - 2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani showed some vintage clay court play to dismiss No.6 seed Zarina Diyas, 6-4, 6-4, edging into the second round of the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem.
A former World No.5, Errani has long played her best tennis on the terre battue, kicking off the clay court season with a run to the Volvo Car Open Round of 16 and pushing reigning Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki to three sets at last week's TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup.
Against Diyas, the veteran withstood the Kazakh's barrage of flat groundstrokes to break serve six times as she took a set and 5-3 advantage. Diyas put on a memorable performance in Serena Williams' first match of 2018 at the BNP Paribas Open, and attempted to extend the match even as Errani served for it in the next game.
Saving a break point, Errani edged through after one hour and 38 minutes on court.
Up next for the unseeded Italian is Johanna Larsson, who won a battle of Swedes against countrywoman Rebecca Peterson, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Around the grounds, main draw play got underway in Rabat as Jana Fett knocked out American Sachia Vickery, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Vickery had earned a stunning victory over Garbiñe Muguruza in Indian Wells and reached the semifinals of the Abierto Afirme Monterrey before the clay court season began.
In the longest match of the day, 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens found her footing on clay to upset No.3 seed Petra Martic, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, while Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo won an one hour and 40 minute opening set against Yulia Putintseva before cruising, 7-6(4), 6-0.