CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Former world number one Ana Ivanovic showed flashes of the form that took her to the pinnacle of tennis as she upset ninth seed Victoria Azarenka 2-6 7-6 6-2 in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters on Monday.
Serb Ivanovic, a first-round casualty at San Diego last week, had appeared set for another early exit before rallying to beat the in-form Belarusian, who won the Stanford Classic earlier this month.
The 2008 French Open champion Ivanovic briefly held the world's top ranking that year, but a subsequent collapse in form and a series of niggling injuries have seen her ranking slip to 62nd.
The Serb was joined in the second round by another fallen former top-ranked player in Russia's Dinara Safina, who eased to a 7-5 6-4 win over Italy's Roberta Vinci.
Safina was also forced to dig deep, rallying from 3-5 down in the opening set before closing out her fifth win against the Italian from five matches.
The 24-year-old, now ranked 35 and yet to make a semi-final this season after returning from a back injury that sidelined her for three months, will next face Belgian Kim Clijsters.
Bartoli's compatriot Aravane Rezai was not so fortunate, however, being dumped out by Serb qualifier Bojana Jovanovski 4-6 6-3 6-4.
(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Ian Ransom)