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WTA As it happened

This content was published 12 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.

10.30 pm: Daniela Hantuchova wins, 6-4, 6-2 over Tsvetana Pironkova. Well played Dani Hani. She’ll face the winner of Kaia Kanepi (who did almost as well as Pironkova at Wimbledon last year, going from the qualifiers right through to the quarters before losing to Petra Kvitova) and Romina Oprandi.

And that’s it from me! Thanks for reading, and don’t forget that there’s still a men’s match to come so switch over to the other “As it happens” on the homepage of this site for that one.

9.53 pm: Nadia Petrova has withdrawn and Ana Ivanovic is through, 6-0, 3-0. Nadia certainly wasn’t on top form today and we’ll find out later what was ailing her. Ana will play Yanina Wickmayer on Wednesday in the second round. Dani Hani meanwhile is a break up and leads a set and 2-0 in the final women’s match of the day.

9.43 pm: We’re either half or a third of the way through the two matches. Ana has bagelled Nadia good and proper, moving around smoothly like the Ivanovic of 2008 (or indeed Rome 2010) and finding the corner with 13 crisp winners. Dani Hantuchoker meanwhile held her nerve to serve out at the second time of asking to take it 6-4. If someone could convince her that each set was first to eight then she’d cruise to the first six games, she really would.

9.30 pm: Yanina Wickmayer is through to the second round. She beat Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, so the lucky loser wasn’t that lucky in the end. Wicky the Belgian will play the winner of Ana – Nadia, with the sculptural Serb leading 3-0 courtesy of two breaks. She’s certainly picked up where she left off here last year, when she got through to the final four only to lose to her compatriot Jelena Jankovic, who was fresh off defeated both Willliamses in consecutive days.

Dani Hani meanwhile is doing her choke thing again. She just served for the set at 5-2. Guess what? It’s 5-3. Can she return for the set?

8.50 pm: It’s going to be WTAstic out there for the next hour or two – Tsvetana Pironkova vs Daniela Hantuchova on Pietrangeli and Ana Ivanovic – Nadia Petrova on Centre. Bulgarian Pironkova is in the top 40 by dint of her run to the semis at Wimbledon last year and she made the quarters at the Foro Italico three years ago. Dani Hani meanwhile is the nearly woman of the WTA – all the talent to be a top 10 regular but not enough mental fortitude.

And then we have Ana Ivanovic, who won the clay slam at the French in 2008 then plummeted. She finally found an escape route from the spiral of defeat here last year when she made the semis, beating a host of Russians on the way so she’ll fancy her chances against Nadia Petrova, who has been firmly entrenched in the top 20 for more years than I care to remember. A good solid player, she is, in every sense…

8.20 pm: Jarmila Gajdosova defeats Corinna Dentoni 6-1, 6-2 and will face another Italian in the second round if crowd favourite Flavia Pennetta can defeat a resurgent Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who this time last year was outside the top 100 and is now fringe top 40. Dentoni fought valiantly but could not match the powerful Aussie, who like Mattek has been on a roll over the past 12 months or so.

7.00 pm: Alisa Kleybanova has beaten Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 6-2 and will face her compatriot Makarova on Wednesday. Angelique Kerber meanwhile has taken the opener off Yanina Wickmayer. And in the final women’s match of the afternoon we have Corinna Dentoni versus Jarmila no longer Groth as she’s divorced and has gone back to being called Gajdosova.

6.00 pm: Marion Bartoli beats Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-2, 6-3 and will face another double-barrelled Spanish qualifier – Anabel Medina Garrigues – in the second round. Kleybs meanwhile leads Varvara 4-1, and Yanina Wickmayer (remember her? Remember her 2009 US Open?) is about to start against Angelique Kerber, who is in as a lucky loser after Dominika Cibulkova pulled out.

5.21 pm: Austrian hearts are broken as Elena Vesnina defeats Tamira Paszek 6-4, 6-4 and the Russian streamroller marches on (that’s the entire contingent of Russians that are steamrollering the draw, I’m not saying that Elena is a steamroller, far from it). Vesnina snuck a break in the last game of the match and there was no coming back from that for poor Tammie. Elena now faces Agnieszka Radwanska in round 2 – that’ll be a tough tie against the no.8 seed who is on fine form this season.

Marion Bartoli meanwhile took the opener 6-2 against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, er… Parra Santonja, while Alisa Kleybanova and Varvara Lepchenko are about to start on court 4.

4.30 pm: The defending champion is out! Ekaterina Makarova beats Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 to the delight of the Centre Court crowd. The tall Spanish lefty got off to an awful start and left herself quite simply with the proverbial mountain to climb. She had already slipped down the rankings after her shock win here last year and with all those extra points lost, she’s now going to plummet. To think she played in both the singles and doubles finals here last year… And in the second round, it’ll be a Russian derby between Maka and Masha as Ekaterina has earned the right to take on no.7 seed and multiple Slam winner Maria Sharapova.

In yet more Russian news, blue-eyed Vera Dushevina defeated Ayumi Morita 6-3, 6-1 and could well be involved in another all-Pravda affair with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round. PUCCKI-tastic in that half of the draw.

4.03 pm: Polona Hercog has beaten Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1, 7-5 and will face the winner of tomorrow’s enticing match-up between Andrea Petkovic and Maria Kirilenko. MJMS meanwhile is a break down at 3-4 and a mere eight points from an ignominious ouster at the hands of Ekaterina Makarova. Speaking of Russians, Elena Vesnina has come right back at ya at Tammie Paszek to lead 4-2, while Marion Bartoli and Arantxa Parra Santonja are also out on court.

3.32 pm: After three hours and a raft of match points, Greta Arn (photo) defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6 (9). Oh Sveta. You won Roland Garros two years ago. Where’s it all gone wrong? Où sont les Russes d’antan? as the French would say. Well one of them’s out there but she – Makarova – has just lost the second set to MJMS, 7-5. The long-legged lefty reigning champ is stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

Elsewhere it’s on service, 3-4 in the second between Hercog and Dulgheru (Polona won the first), and one of my favourites Tamira Paszek has broken to open against Elena Vesnina. Early days in that one, but the qualifiers are doing well today…

3.02 pm: Makarova gets back to 3-3, Sveta is back to 5-all having saved a match point and Hercog has breadsticked the first set (i.e. took it 6-1).

2.45 pm: Whatever the coach said made a difference. MJMS is serving better, moving better and leads 3-0. Makarova’s time for a make-ova, i.e. a chat from the coach.

Sveta and Greta meanwhile are beyond the 2 1/2-hourn mark (shades of Sveta and Franny in Australia which took 4 1/2 hours). And Greta is serving at 4-3, her ad. And it’s 5-3!

We also have qualifier Polona Hercog who is 4-1 up over Alexandra Dulgheru, who defeated the defending champion (Dinara Safina) here last year.

2.29 pm: This battle of the tall lefties is one-way traffic and Makarova has taken the first set 6-0. The defending champion has been bagelled! Incredibile as they say over here! MJMS got less than two in five of her first services over, and won the grand total of one point on her first ‘uns. Ouch. Ay caramba. Her coach Alejo Mancidor is down having a word, as well he might. Much gesturing and hand-waving from him while MJMS cuts a forlorn figure.

2.14 pm: Defending champion Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (hereafter MJMS) is out on Centre Court and is already 2-0 down to Ekaterina Makarova, one of nine Russians in the draw. Can MJMS parlay her old-time brand of serve and volley to more success here this year?

2.02 pm: Anabel Medina Garrigues defeats Patty Schnyder 6-3, 6-2 in a mere 68 minutes. The Spaniard was a set down in the first round of the qualifiers and stared down two match points against Mirjana Lucic. And here she is, into the second round and perhaps in line to face Marion Bartoli.

More wins: Christa McHale defeats Shuai Peng 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(7). Whoosh! Peng and Patty both out. And wee Christa gets to take on Franny Schiavone tomorrow or Wednesday, doubtless on Centre Court. Sweet for her, less Shu-weet for Peng.

1.45 pm: Another 7-4 tie-break, this one in favour of the new Andrea Temeszvari. Greta Arn takes it to a decider with Sveta Kuz serving lollipops out there – they’re all going over and landing in the service box but there’s nothing on them whatsoever. No speed, no slice, no angle. Peng and McHale meanwhile are locked at 5-5.

1.40 pm: Lourdes Domingues Lino has defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 0-6, 7-6(4) to set up a second round clash with Austrlian Open finalist and no.4 seed Li Na.

1.20 pm: Babs Zahl Stryc and LourDomiLino are locked at 5-all after the Czech served for the match and faltered. Hungary’s finest Greta Arn parleyed a Sveta braincramp into a 4-1 second set lead but it’s back to 4-4, and no.1 seed from the qualifiers Anabel Medina Garrigues is 4-2 up on “will she? won’t she? retire” Parry Schnyder from Switzerland.

12.35 pm: Iveta Benesova defeats Gisela Dulko 6-2, 6-1. Great performance from the under-rated Czech lefty. She’ll now face Slammin’ Sammy Stosur, the no.6 seed, in the second round and I wouldn’t like to be in the Aussie’s shoes when she comes up against Iveta’s smooth strokeplay.

12.35 pm: Am delighted to see Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-2 up in her first round match against Greta Arn. She looked all at sea here last yaer, did Sveta, and he had a rough season overall, compared with 2009 when she and Dinara Safina were the pick of the clay-courters, winning four consecutive tournaments between them (Sveta took Stuttgart and Roland Garros, Dinara took Madrid and Rome if I remember rightly). Davai Sveta, good to see you back.

Elsewhere Babs Zahl Stryc leads LourDomiLino 3-1 in the decider, while Peng has Shuai-ed the match back in her favour and leads 4-1 in the second.

12.15 pm: Wow! After being breadsticked in the first, Babs Zahl Stryc has bagelled LourDomiLino in the secnod (the Spaniard serving up four DFs). Christa McHale meanwhile broke again to win the opener 6-3 and is a mere set away from taking on an out-of-sorts and short-of-match-practice no.2 seed Francesca Schaivone in the second round.

11.45 am: Neither player is serving well but McHale has saved three BPs to make it 3-1 and is now deucing it up on the Peng Shu-ervice. My favourite Czech lefty (but don’t tell Lucie or Petra) Iveta Benesova has broken most men’s favourite player Gisela Dulko to lead 4-2, while Lourdes Domingues Lino has drawn first blood in the battle of the long names, taking the opener 6-1 over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova – whose name is so long it gets cut off one letter before the end of the scoreboard. Hopefully that won’t make her angry as that young lady has quite a temper on her.

Ah, 3-2, Peng manages to hold. Now, what can she do on the McService?

11.30 am: Twas ever, or rather often, thus. McHale is on form, having played Saturday and Sunday in the qualifiers so she knows the courts and how they are playing. And she’s out to a 2-1 lead having broken Peng first up. Benesova – Dulko is with serve, but the Argentinean hasn’t hit her straps yet.

10.45 am: Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the start of the first round of the WTA tournament. Play gets under way at 11 am CET with young American Christa McHale playing her third match in a row, having emerged battered and bruised but with her head held high from the qualifiers. She takes on Peng Shuai, who will no doubt try to rearrange her around the court (Peng Shuai / Feng Shui? No? Please yourselves). That’s on court 10, while on 11 we have the most underrated of the three Czech lefties, Iveta Benesova, against Gisela Dulko. Those two have had more success as doubles-ers, so it should be interesting to see how they get on today.

My heart says McHale and the lovely Iveta, my head says Feng Shui and the incredible Dulk. What do you think? Tweet me @DrewLilley and give me your feedback, let me know who you think will peak at the Foro Italico and who will trough…

Oh yes, the ATP matches this afternoon will be in a separate blog so you might have to have two windows open on your computers.

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