Thu, Apr 30, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Safina blasts past Errani in Stuttgart

AFP , STUTTGART, GERMANY

Russia’s Dinara Safina celebrated her first match as world No. 1 by needing just 51 minutes to blitz Italy’s Sara Errani 6-0, 6-1 in the first round of Stuttgart’s WTA tournament on Tuesday.

The Russian dominated to win the first set in just 26 minutes against Errani, ranked 37th, and it took the 21-year-old Italian 40 minutes to even win a game as the Russian hit five aces in the match.

With plenty of power at the baseline blended with some delicate dropshots Safina began her Stuttgart campaign in style at the first indoor stadium on the WTA tour to host a clay-court tournament.

Olympic champion Elena Dementieva needed more than two hours to survive a scare from Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld before winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 earlier in the day.

Having had few problems in the first set, the Russian was put under pressure in the second and could only defend one of the three break points against her, but regained control in the third set.

In the other first round matches, eighth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland needed a first set-tie break against Aleksandra Wozniak before her comfortable 7-6 (7/2), 6-0 victory over the Canadian.

China’s Na Li beat compatriot Shuai Peng 6-2, 6-3 while Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova won 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 against Italy’s Alberta Brianti.

Seventh-seed Caroline Wozniacki beat Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic in straight sets while France’s Marion Bartoli beat Croatia’s Karolina Sprem 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 just before midnight.

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