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Tennis | WTA

Kiki Bertens © Gallo Images

Bertens, Pironkova progress in Morocco



Defending champion Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and third-seeded Alize Cornet of France won in straight sets on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the Grand Prix SAR.

Cornet cruised past Moroccan wild card Fatima Zahrae El Allami 6-1, 6-1 while fifth-seeded Bertens rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the first set to beat Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos 7-5, 6-2.

Two-time runner-up Simona Halep of Romania, Kristina Mladenovic of France, Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria and Kaia Kanepi of Estonia also won their first-round matches.

Pironkova, a 2010 Wimbledon semifinalist, broke twice in each set to dismiss Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-1, while the fourth-seeded Kanepi knocked out 2009 champion Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Halep dominated Nina Bratchikova of Russia 6-1, 6-3, and the seventh-seeded Mladenovic edged Alexandra Cadantu of Romania 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a match with 13 breaks of serve.

Cadantu replaced Dominika Cibulkova in the main draw after the top-seeded Slovakian withdrew because of an injury.

Mandy Minella of Luxembourg, Italian qualifier Karin Knapp and Spaniards Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Lourdes Dominguez Lino also moved into the second round.

Dominguez Lino jumped to 4-0 in the final set to oust Misaki Doi of Japan 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 while Soler-Espinosa saved eight break points to defeat Slovakian qualifier Michaela Honcova 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Knapp won the first 11 games in her 6-0, 6-1 rout of Moroccan wild card Lina Qostal and Minella outlasted Spanish qualifier Estrella Cabeza Candela 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-5.

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