Top seeds Cirstea, Svitolina win Baku openers

Baku, Azerbaijan ( - Top seeds Sorana Cirstea of Romania and defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine won first-round matches Tuesday at the Baku Cup.

The top-seeded Cirstea earned a 6-3, 6-3 win over Tunisian wild card Ons Jabeur, while the second-seeded Svitolina cruised to a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Uzbekistan qualifier Nigina Abduraimova.

Svitolina won her first WTA title at this event last year, beating Shahar Peer in the final. She is coming off a quarterfinal finish last week in Istanbul.

Other winners Tuesday included former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone of Italy and eighth-seeded Slovakian Jana Cepelova. Schiavone, a first-round loser in 12 of her first 18 events of 2014, eliminated fourth-seeded Kurumi Nara of Japan in a 6-2, 6-2 thumping, while Cepelova dominated Azerbaijan wild card Nazrin Jafarova, 6-1, 6-0.

Two other seeded players, Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia and Britain's Heather Watson, were shown early exits Tuesday. Japanese qualifier Misa Eguchi knocked out the third-seeded Rybarikova in a 6-4, 7-6 (9-7) triumph, while France's Kristina Mladenovic went the distance in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 victory over the seventh-seeded Watson.

Spain's Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Serbian qualifier Vesna Dolonc, Israel's Julia Glushko and Croatia's Donna Vekic also won first-round matches Tuesday.

The 2014 Baku champ will claim $43,000.