LINZ, Austria, Oct 25 (Reuters) Nadia Petrova began the defence of her Linz Open title with an emphatic 6-1 6-1 victory over Israel's Shahar Peer today.
There was also a victory for fifth-seeded Serbian Ana Ivanovic, although she had to fight off four set points in the 6-1 7-6 win over Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands.
Petrova faced a potentially challenging task against Peer, who has won three titles in 2006 and defeated opponents such as Elena Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina.
Instead, the second-seeded Russian hardly raised a sweat as she reached the quarter-finals, playing a solid game with a serve that produced seven aces backed up by accurate groundstrokes.
Peer managed to salvage only three points from the first three games, Petrova breaking for 2-0 when the Israeli netted a forehand.
A double-fault gave Petrova a second break to lead 5-1 and she served out to love, hitting her fourth ace on set point.
Peer briefly threatened in the second set, twice taking Petrova to deuce before the Russian held for 1-1.
Petrova's response was to break Peer twice to lead 4-1 and she wrapped up the match by dropping one point in the last three games.
Krajicek has inherited the serving prowess of her brother, former Wimbledon champion Richard, but found it counted for nothing against Ivanovic, who dominated the first set with some stunning returns.
She broke Krajicek to love in the opening game and went on to lead 4-0 despite two double-faults. A crosscourt backhand earned her a further break for the set.
The second set was a different story, as Ivanovic lost some of her pace on the returns and Krajicek settled into trading groundstrokes.
After four consecutive breaks early in the set, Krajicek held off two match points at 4-5 and broke to lead 6-5. But she was unable to convert the four set points she earned in a lengthy game that stretched to deuce six times. Ivanovic swept the tiebreak for the loss of just two points.
Greek qualifier Eleni Daniilidou earned a second round clash with top seeded Russian Maria Sharapova by beating American Chanda Rubin 6-1 6-2.
REUTERS AY KP2015