Zvonareva eases into Italian Open second round with straight-set victory

ROME -- Tenth-seeded Vera Zvonareva extended her impressive streak of clay-court victories, cruising past Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-3 on Monday in the first round of the Italian Open.

Zvonareva won the Prague Open earlier this month after losing to Serena Williams in the final at Charleston in her previous tournament. In between, Zvonareva posted a three-set win over Vania King on clay to clinch victory for Russia in the Fed Cup semifinals against the United States.

Zvonareva improved to 32-7 overall this year.

Also Monday, 11th-seeded Agnes Szavay routed Yan Zi 6-1, 6-1 to advance on an overcast day at the Foro Italico. Virginie Razzano easily defeated Julia Vakulenko 6-1, 6-2, while Virginia Ruano Pascual eliminated Anastasia Rodionova 6-1, 6-3.

Samantha Stosur marked her return to the WTA Tour with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over 42nd-ranked Michaella Krajicek. Stosur, a former doubles No. 1, had been out for several months because of illness. She will next face seventh-seeded Venus Williams.

Two-time Rome champion Amelie Mauresmo is missing the tournament with a rib injury. Top-ranked Justine Henin also pulled out, citing fatigue, and Dinara Safina withdrew with a back injury Monday, one day after winning the German Open.

Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova are seeded Nos. 1 and 2. The top eight seeded players have first-round byes in the tournament, an important clay-court warmup for the French Open.