|Svetlana Kuznetsova hits a return to Jill Craybas during their first round match at the Cincinnati Open. (REUTERS/John Sommers II)
Rising German Andrea Petkovic and two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova were among Monday's first-round winners at the $2.05 million Western & Southern Open, a U.S. Open Series event.
The ninth-seeded Petkovic came from behind to beat Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in 2 hours, 52 minutes, while the 14th-seeded former top- five star Kuznetsova handled 37-year-old American qualifier Jill Craybas 6-3, 6-4 on the hardcourts at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
Meanwhile, Israeli Shahar Peer doused Wimbledon semifinalist Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) and Italian Sara Errani erased American wild card Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-5.
Additional Day-1 wins came for South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers, Czechs Lucie Safarova and qualifier Petra Cetkovska, Swede Sofia Arvidsson, Croat Petra Martic, Chinese qualifier Zheng Jie, Russian Ekaterina Makarova, Aussie qualifier Anastasia Rodionova and Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko.
This week's top seeds are world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, 2010 U.S. Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva, Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon runner-up Maria Sharapova, French Open champion and Australian Open runner-up Li Na, and Wimbledon titlist Petra Kvitova, who will face Scheepers in the second round. Zvonareva will meet her fellow Russian Makarova; Azarenka will take on Peer in her first outing of the week; Sharapova will encounter Rodionova; and Li will battle Safarova in the round of 32. Zvonareva titled here in 2006 and was the runner-up in 2004.
Sharapova was last year's Cincy runner-up to Kim Clijsters, who will not defend her title this year due to injury.
Last week's Toronto titlist Serena Williams is unseeded this week, but considered among the favorites here, having won her last two tournaments, and 11 straight matches. Williams will open up against Czech Lucie Hradecka.
The 2011 Cincinnati champion will collect $360,000.