Defending champ Schiavone off to superb start

Updated: 23 May 2011 18:35 IST

Defending champion Francesca Schiavone bounced back to her winning ways at the French Open, beating Melanie Oudin of the United States 6-2, 6-0 Monday in the first round.

Defending champ Schiavone off to superb start
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Paris:

Defending champion Francesca Schiavone bounced back to her winning ways at the French Open, beating Melanie Oudin of the United States 6-2, 6-0 Monday in the first round.

Schiavone, who last year became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title, won four straight games in the first set after being broken early by her 19-year-old American opponent. Schiavone, who had 25 winners to Oudin's six, then won seven straight games to reach the second round.

The French Open is the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments to begin on Sunday, and not everyone likes it all that much.

"It's very weird playing on Sunday," said 13th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion who reached the second round by beating Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3 on Day 1.

"For me, it's the first time. But I believe it's more money to Grand Slam so it's more spectators, probably."

Besides Kuznetsova, 2010 finalist Sam Stosur advanced on a warm day in Paris. The eighth-seeded Australian was broken in the opening game but then had little trouble beating Iveta Benesova 6-2, 6-3.

Stosur also thought it was strange to start on Sunday.

"It's just different," Stosur said. "You've got an extra day, but I think with all the others not doing it, it definitely is a bit of, not a shock, but it's just weird knowing that, OK, my tournament starts on Sunday and then I think you get two days off now."

No. 10 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, No. 14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, No. 17 Julia Goerges of Germany, and No. 32 Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria also advanced.

Two seeded women lost, No. 19 Shahar Peer of Israel and No. 18 Flavia Pennetta of Italy, and one man, No. 19 Marin Cilic of Croatia.

The 19th-seeded Cilic, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, is a former top-10 player. But he had 67 unforced errors in the match and was broken five times in losing to Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4.

For Ramirez Hidalgo, it was only his fourth win in 15 Grand Slam tournaments. Besides reaching the fourth round at the 2006 French Open, the Spaniard lost in the first round in each of his other 13 appearances at the four biggest tournaments on the tennis circuit.

"It's my greatest victory this season, that's for sure," the 33-year-old Ramirez Hidalgo said. "I would not say this is the beginning of a new career, because I'm too old for this, but it's a kind of relief."

Other men's winners included No. 7 David Ferrer of Spain, No. 14 Stanislas Wawrinka, No. 17 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, No. 30 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain and No. 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine.

"I expected, like every year, the first match not to be too easy," said Wawrinka, who beat Augustin Gensse of France 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. "I was a bit slow. I took some time before I got into the match. In the first round it's never so easy."

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