Rome - In a matchup of former French Open champions, 13th-seeded Ana Ivanovic beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3 on Monday in a windy first-round match at 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 at times and the gusts of wind would come out of nowhere, but it was a good match."
Ivanovic is approaching the top 10 again after a difficult stretch in her career that included four first-round losses at Grand Slams. She attributes part of her turnaround to her coach, Nigel Sears, having started working with him 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 on to the court ... so this helps me to calm down a lot," Ivanovic said.
Italy's Francesca Schiavone, another former French Open winner, was playing Ekaterina Makarova later.
This tournament is the last major clay-court warm-up for Roland Garros, which starts in two weeks.
In men's action, 16th-ranked Fernando Verdasco 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, 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 meeting with top-ranked Novak Djokovic on Tuesday night.
Others advancing included David Nalbandian of Argentina, Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and Italian wildcard Fabio Fognini.
Results on Monday from the Italian Open on red clay at the Foro Italico (seedings in parentheses):
Gael Monfils (13), France, def. Alex Bogomolov Jr., Russia, 6-4, 6-1.
Fernando Verdasco, Spain, def. Alexandr Dolgopolov, Ukraine, 6-0, retired.
Bernard Tomic, Australia, def. Santiago Giraldo, Colombia, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
David Nalbandian, Argentina, def. Albert Ramos, Spain, 6-3, 6-4.
Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland, def. Robin Haase, Netherlands, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
Fabio Fognini, Italy, def. Marcos Baghdatis, Cyprus, 6-2, 6-2.
Radek Stepanek, Czech Republic, def. Juan Ignacio Chela, Argentina, 2-6, 6-0, 6-3.
Carlos Berlocq, Argentina, def. Blaz Kavcic, Slovenia, 6-1, 6-3.
Nicolas Almagro (12), Spain, def. Marin Cilic, Croatia, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.
John Isner (9), United States, def. Philipp Kohlscreiber, Germany, 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.
Anabel Medina Garrigues, Spain, def. Zheng Jie, China, 6-2, 6-1.
Chanelle Scheepers, South Africa, def. Jarmila Gajdosova, Australia, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).
Vania King, United States, def. Tsvetana Pironkova, Bulgaria, 6-0, 6-1.
Christina McHale, United States, def. Monica Niculescu, Romania, 6-4, 6-4.
Iveta Benesova, Czech Republic, def. Yanina Wickmayer, Belgium, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7/5).
Ana Ivanovic (13), Serbia, def. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia, 6-4, 6-3.
Julia Goerges, Germany, def. Aleksandra Wozniak, Canada, 6-1, 6-7 (1/7), 6-3.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia, def. Ksenia Pervak, Kazakhstan, 6-2, 6-4.
Shahar Peer, Israel, def. Peng Shuai, China, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 3-1, retired.
Angelique Kerber (12), Germany, def. Anastasia Rodionova, Australia, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Sofia Arvidsson, Sweden, def. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, Spain, 6-3, 6-2.
Ekaterina Makarova, Russia, def. Francesca Schiavone (10), Italy, 6-3, 6-4.