ROME – In a matchup of former French Open champions, Ana Ivanovic beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3 in the wind Monday in the first round of the Italian Open.
"It was tough out there today but it was the same for both of us," said Ivanovic, who won her only major at Roland Garros in 2008. "I just tried to move and to adjust and really tried to look at the ball and move forward. It was difficult
Ivanovic, seeded 13th, is approaching the top 10 again after a difficult stretch that included four first-round losses at Grand Slams. She attributes part of her turnaround to her coach, Nigel Sears, whom she started working with after Wimbledon last year.
"He is very calm and I am a perfectionist and sometimes I try to do too much at the same time, and so he is very reasonable when he comes onto the court. ... So this helps me to calm down a lot," Ivanovic said.
In a night match at Foro Italico, Francesca Schiavone lost before home fans, beaten by 39th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-4.
Makarova dictated play with angled baseline winners while Schiavone, the 2010 Roland Garros winner, had trouble finding her range.
This tournament is the last major clay-court warm-up for the French Open, which starts in two weeks.
Also, 12th-seeded Angelique Kerber rallied past Australian qualifier Anastasia Rodionova 4-6, 7-5, 6-2; and Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden downed 2010 champion Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-3, 6-2.
On the men's side, ninth-seeded John Isner overcame a slow start to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2. The 6-foot-9 American looked headed for an early exit before Kohlschreiber lost control when serving for the match at 5-4 in the second. Isner then broke again in the opening game of the third and cruised from there.
Fernando Verdasco, ranked No. 16, eased into the second round when Alexandr Dolgopolov retired with a stomach ache. Coming off a win over Rafael Nadal in Madrid last week, Verdasco won the first set 6-0. Dolgopolov then called for the trainer and clutched his stomach as he went over to shake Verdasco's hand and concede.
Also, 12th-seeded Nicolas Almagro defeated Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-2, 3-6, 6-0; 13th-seeded Gael Monfils beat Alex Bogomolov Jr. of Russia 6-4, 6-1; and Australian teenager Bernard Tomic rallied past Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 to set up a match with top-ranked Novak Djokovic on Tuesday night.
Others advancing included David Nalbandian of Argentina, Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and wild card Fabio Fognini of Italy.