Srebotnik, Kirilenko Sail Through Openers

August 11, 2008 08:30 AM

Fourth-seeded Slovenian and 2006 finalist Katarina Srebotnik and Russian No. 3 seed Maria Kirilenko enjoyed smooth progress through to the second round of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati on Monday. Meanwhile, fellow seeds No. 7 seed Ekaterina Makarova and No. 8 Tamira Paszek did not fare so well.

World No. 31 Srebotnik fired nine aces and converted five of 11 break points as she raced to a 6-3, 6-3 win over American Amanda Fink in 1 hr., 23 mins. The Dubai resident, who finished runner-up to Vera Zvonereva in the 2006 Cincinnati final, now improves to 33-16 for the season.

The 27-year-old Srebotnik has reached the quarterfinals or better at six WTA events this season, including a runner-up finish at Strasbourg (l. to Medina Garrigues) and a semifinal exit last week in Stockholm (l. to Dushevina). The right-hander also posted an impressive straight sets victory over Serena Williams at Roland Garros en route to a fourth round exit (l. to Schnyder).

Srebotnik now goes on to face Nathalie Dechy, who defeated Olivia Sanchez 6-2, 6-2 in an all-French clash.

Kirilenko, currently ranked No. 22, won her first match in Cincinnati after defeating Chinese Taipei's Su-Wei Hsieh 6-2, 7-5. She converted on six of her ten break point opportunities during the 1 hr., 24 min. match.

The 21-year-old Kirilenko is making her first appearance in Cincinnati since losing to Marion Bartoli on her event debut four years ago. She improves to a 25-15 season match record, highlighted by titles at Estoril and Barcelona.

She next faces Canadian Stephanie Dubois, who advanced to the second round with a 6-2, 7-6(3) win over fellow qualifier Evgeniya Rodina of Russia.

France’s Camille Pin caused an upset on day one as she knocked out seventh-seeded Russian Makarova 6-2, 6-0. The 26-year-old Nice native won 72% of points on serve and converted five of eight break points to improve to 20-18 for the season.

Currently No. 78 in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings, Pin’s season has been highlighted by quarterfinal exits at the Tier IV events in Estoril (l. to Benesova) and Stockholm (ret. vs. A. Radwanksa). She goes on to face either Sabine Lisicki or Anna Tatishvili as she bids to advance past the Cincinnati second round for the first time in four visits.

World No. 57 Makarova has now lost four straight first round matches since reaching the quarterfinals as a qualifier at the Tier II event in Eastbourne (l. to Petrova).

Petra Cetkovska, currently No. 69 in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings, was granted a place in the second round when her opponent, No. 8 Paszek was forced to retire when trailing 6-4, 3-6, 1-4.

The 23-year-old Czech player reached the fourth round at Roland Garros, where she fell to eventual champion Ana Ivanovic, before going on to reach a Tier III quarterfinal at Birmingham (l. to K. Bondarenko). She had lost first round at her past two events.