x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Cirstea poses few problems for motivated Schiavone

Francesca Schiavone was not greatly troubled as she moved into the second round with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Romania's Sorana Cirstea in Dubai.

Schiavone in action against Cirstea yesterday.
Schiavone in action against Cirstea yesterday.

DUBAI // Francesca Schiavone was not greatly troubled as she moved into the second round with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Romania's Sorana Cirstea yesterday, and said she is motivated to do well here due to the strength of the field. Only the recently injured Serena Williams and Dinara Safina are missing from the world's top 15.

The 14th-seeded Italian said: "The importance of an event like this gives you greater motivation and I like that. "Nobody gives you anything for nothing and everybody wants to play well here. But it's going to be tough for all of us." Schiavone, who next faces the winner of a first round encounter between Iveta Benesova and Olga Govortsova, is on course for a third round meeting with Venus Williams, the defending champion, providing the third seed gets past Germany's Sabine Lisicki in her opening encounter.

Also off to a winning start was the Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova, who is now down to a modest 27 in the world rankings after peaking in 2002 at No 8. She needed nearly two hours to complete her 6-4, 6-4 straight sets passage at the expense of Russian qualifier Vesna Manasieva and will be the opening opponent of Elena Dementieva, the champion here in 2008 and exempt until the second round as one of the top eight seeds.

Marion Bartoli, the 11th seed, had an easier time against another Russian qualifier - Ekaterina Makarova. Bartoli, a former Wimbledon runner-up to Venus Williams, needed just over an hour's court time and romped through the second set of her 6-2, 6-0 win in only 23 minutes. She will play either Patty Schnyder or Alexandra Dulgheru who play this afternoon on Court One after the Dubai debut of Israeli Shahar Peer. wjohnson@thenational.ae