Istanbul:Top-seeded Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams advanced at the Istanbul Cup on Tuesday to continue their preparations for next week's French Open.
Sharapova, who missed two scheduled tournaments this year because of various injuries, beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-4, 7-6 in the second round to advance to the quarterfinals.
The fourth-seeded Williams routed Tatiana Poutchek 6-1, 6-2 in the first round.
Williams, the 2005 champion, will meet Aravane Rezai of France in the second round of the $200,000 clay-court warmup for Roland Garros.
"I haven't played at any grand slams this year but that will be a great place to start," said Williams, who missed this year's Australia Open because of injury.
Patty Schnyder beat Taiwan's Chan Yung-jan 6-1, 6-1 to set up a second-round meeting with Vania King of the United States.
Catalina Castano of Colombia defeated sixth-seeded Anna-Lena Groenefeld 7-6, 6-2, while Meghann Shaughnessy of the United States beat eighth-seeded Sania Mirza India, 6-4, 6-3.