Madrid: Francesca Schiavone won her first clay court match of the season here Sunday, the French Open holder defeating China's Peng Shuai 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) to reach the second round of the ATP-WTA Madrid Masters.
The Italian third seed was beaten in her clay start this month in Stuttgart by Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska. But with her Roland Garros title defence starting in three weeks, Schiavone thankfully got her game back in track in straight sets in Spain.
Schiavone spent two hours on court at the Caja Magica complex, facing only two break points from her 30th-ranked Chinese opponent who lost a semi-final on green clay in Charleston early in April.
Eighth seed Maria Sharapova got off to a struggling start in her first clay contest of the season, with the three-time grand slam champion coming through for a defeat of Alexandra Rus of the Netherlands 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The challenger saved a match point on her own serve before the Russian seed moved ahead into the second round on her second winning opportunity.
Sharapova finished with a disappointing 37 unforced errors and just 14 winners on the high-altitude clay of the capital. The eighth seed converted on seven of 14 break points against a teenaged opponent ranked 99th who lost in first round this month at Marbella and Fez, Morocco.
Slovak Daniela Hantuchova advanced over Japan's 40-year-old wonder Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 6-3 while Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja beat slumping Italian Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 7-5.
Men were beginning their concurrent event, with Spanish tenth seed Nicolas Almagro facing Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Swiss number 14 Stanislas Wawrinka playing Spanish opposition in the form of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.