SYDNEY - Gritty Italian Francesca Schiavone took out fifth-seeded Aussie favorite Samantha Stosur in the first round of the $637,000 Sydney International tennis tournament on Monday.
The 2006 Sydney runner-up Schiavone upended Stosur 6-2, 6-4 in a rematch of the 2010 French Open final, which was also won by Schiavone. Stosur, the reigning U.S. Open champ, dropped her second straight match after falling in the second round in Brisbane last week.
"You do all the work leading up and you feel OK and then today all of a sudden it's just like a bombshell hits you," a disappointed Stosur said. "The whole emotional side of things really took over."
"Melbourne is coming up and I want to start playing well. Being in Australia and playing in Australia, I want to play the best I can play and do it all here this month," Stosur added.
Stosur was a Sydney runner-up back in 2005.
In another minor upset, sixth-seeded Vera Zvonareva was sent home by two-time Grand Slam titlist, 2008 Sydney runner-up and fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-1, 6-2.
Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Chinese Li Na, looking to win this event for a second straight year, cruised past Russian qualifier Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 6-3 and third-seeded Belarusian Victoria Azarenka blasted Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-2, 6-1 on the hardcourts at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre. Li beat reigning Aussie Open champ and two-time Sydney titlist Kim Clijsters in last year's finale in Sydney.
Up next for Azarenka will be former world No. 1 and 2007 Sydney runner-up Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.
Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded seventh, whipped her qualifier sister Urszula Radwanska 6-1, 6-1, while eighth-seeded Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli trounced Slovenian lucky-loser Polona Hercog 6-3, 6-3 and unseeded world No. 10 Andrea Petkovic of Germany leveled Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3.
Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova bested Chinese Peng Shuai 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, in match that was suspended because of rain on Sunday.
Also moving into the second round were the aforementioned Jankovic, Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru, Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova and South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers. Jankovic advanced when German Julia Goerges retired in the second set, trailing 1-6, 1-3.
The lucky-loser Dulgheru should have her hands full with Li here on Tuesday, while Hantuchova will meet Schiavone in the round of 16.
Also here on Tuesday, current world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will open her 2012 season against Cibulkova and second-seeded Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will encounter Scheepers.
Sweeting a lucky loser in Sydney
SYDNEY, Australia - Ryan Sweeting took advantage of an injury to Florian Mayer and bested Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5, in the first round at the $434,250 Apia International Sydney tennis event, a final Australian Open tune-up.
The American Sweeting lost in the last round of qualifying, but entered the tournament when the German Mayer withdrew due to a right hip injury.
In an other surprising result, Aussie wild card Matthew Ebden outlasted seventh-seeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 on the hardcourts at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.
Also advancing to the second round were qualifier Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, qualifier Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, American qualifier Bobby Reynolds and Poland's Lukasz Kubot -- all straight-set winners.
France's Gilles Simon, who is not defending his title this week, beat Serb Viktor Troicki in last year's Sydney finale. A fifth-seeded Troicki will battle Aussie hero Lleyton Hewitt, a wild card this week, on Tuesday. The former world No. 1 Hewitt is a four-time Sydney champion.
This week's top seeds are former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina and 6-foot-9 American John Isner. Del Potro will face Kubot here on Wednesday, while Isner will take on his fellow American Reynolds in the round of 16.
Wickmayer eases into second round
HOBART, Australia - Top-seeded Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium earned a 7-5, 6-4 win over New Zealand's Marina Erakovic in first-round action at the $220,000 Moorilla Hobart International on Monday.
Fourth-seeded German Angelique Kerber topped Russian Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4, while fifth-seeded Aussie crowd favorite Jarmila Gajdosova handled Japanese Ayumi Morita 6-3, 6-4 on the hardcourts at Domain Tennis Centre.
Gajdosova beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in last year's Hobart finale.
Mattek-Sands was also among the Day-2 winners in Hobart as she drilled Aussie wild card Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-2. Up next for the American will be Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
Also moving on in this final Australian Open tuneup were Italian Sara Errani, German qualifier Mona Barthel, Aussie wild card Casey Dellacqua and Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova. Dellacqua will meet Wickmayer in the round of 16.
Young falls in first round at Heineken Open
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Colombian Alejandro Falla dismissed seventh-seeded American Donald Young 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round at the $398,250 Heineken Open, a final Australian Open tuneup.
Meanwhile, sixth-seeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci advanced with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Portuguese Rui Machado and another Colombian, Santiago Giraldo, downed wild card Michael Venus of New Zealand 6-4, 6-3 on the hardcourts at ASB Tennis Centre. Giraldo will meet second-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro here on Wednesday.
Two-time Auckland titlist David Ferrer of Spain bested Argentine star David Nalbandian in last year's finale here. The world No. 5 Ferrer is this week's top seed.