SPORT

Pennetta advances

MODENA (Italy): Second-seeded Flavia Pennetta defeated Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-7(7), 7-6(2) in the opening round of the Modena International tennis championship on Tuesday.

Pennetta improved her season's record on clay to 15-4 — including back-to-back titles in Bogota and Acapulco — only after a narrow escape from Ruano Pascual. While the Spaniard won her ninth Grand Slam doubles title at the French Open, she has also won three tour singles championships in her career, and battled with Pennetta for three hours.

Pennetta squandered a 5-3 lead and two match points in the second set before losing the tiebreaker 9-7. Then in the third, she had to rally from 4-2 down before winning the decisive tiebreaker.

Garbin took advantage of Stephanie Cohen-Aloro's foot injury to sail to a 6-4, 6-0 victory.

Also through were other seeded players, No. 5 Anna Smashnova of Israel, No. 6 Jelena Kostanic of Croatia, and No. 8 Mariana Diaz Oliva of Argentina.

The results (Modena International): Singles: First round: Flavia Pennetta bt Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-7(7), 7-6(2); Arantxa Parra Santonja bt Michaela Pastikova 6-2, 6-4; Anna Smashnova bt Adriana Serra Zanetti 6-3, 6-1; Francesca Schiavone bt Marlene Weingartner 6-3, 6-2; Mariana Diaz Oliva bt Julia Schruff 7-6(5), 6-1; Martina Sucha bt Maria Sanchez Lorenzo 6-2, 6-3. — AP

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