Hantuchova reaches second round in Rome | sports | Hindustan Times
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Hantuchova reaches second round in Rome

sports Updated: May 15, 2007 09:03 IST
James Eve

Ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova avoided a second successive first-round exit when she came from behind to beat Aravane Rezai of France 4-6 6-1 6-2 in the first round of the Italian Open.

The 24-year-old Slovakian, who was knocked out by a qualifier in the first round of last week's German Open in Berlin, made an inconsistent start and seemed at risk of another early exit.

She came back strongly, however, to set up a second-round match against the winner of the first-round match between Sybille Bammer of Austria and Argentina's Gisela Dulko.

Hantuchova was the highest ranked of three seeds in action on the opening day of the claycourt tournament. The top eight seeds have all been given byes into the second round.

Former French Open final and 10th seed Elena Dementieva also progressed, sweeping aside Italy's Maria Elena Camerin 6-1 6-2.

Eleventh seed Shahar Peer of Israel had an even easier passage through to the second round when her first-round opponent, Agnieszka Radwanska, retired injured trailing 6-0 2-0 after just 38 minutes.

The field in the Italian capital has been weakened by the withdrawal of several leading players, including world number one Justine Henin, who is resting before the French Open and world number two Maria Sharapova, who has a shoulder injury.

In their absence, Amelie Mauresmo has become top seed. The 27-year-old Frenchwoman won in Rome in 2004 and 2005 but is struggling for form after returning from a two-month layoff due to an appendicitis.

Mauresmo lost to a qualifier in the third round of the Berlin Open last week.

Asked what chance she stood of notching up a third Italian Open title, she replied: "For now I'm far from my best level."