Mauresmo survives tough opener

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The Independent Online

Amelie Mauresmo of France beat the Czech Republic's Daja Bedanova 6-3, 7-6 yesterday in the only main-draw singles action at the adidas International tournament here.

Mauresmo was run ragged by Bedanova in a tough first-round match before winning on a net cord on match point.

Her next opponent will either be the Australian wildcard Jaslyn Hewitt – Lleyton's younger sister – or the South African Amanda Coetzer, but Mauresmo is looking to next week's Australian Open in Melbourne, where Venus Williams will start among the favourites.

"Venus is one of the best players anywhere, there's no question about it," said Mauresmo. "Whether she's going to be unbeatable, you don't know."

The former Australian and French Open champion Mary Pierce has been given an extra day's rest before her first round match at the Tasmanian women's international to help recover from a hamstring strain.

The Frenchwoman was due to face America's Kristina Brandi today but officials in Hobart rescheduled the match to tomorrow after Pierce strained her hamstring playing a weekend exhibition in Hong Kong.

"We've given Mary Pierce an extra day to recover, along with Virginie Razzano, who retired with an injury from her match in the Hopman Cup in Perth," said a tournament official.

Pierce was given a wild card to play the tournament after her ranking plummeted last year due to a series of injuries and is hoping to use the event to prepare for the Australian Open.

The 26-year-old arrived in Hobart on Sunday and said she was now confident of being fit enough to play tomorrow.

"I received treatment twice on Saturday on my hamstring before I left Hong Kong and I'm going to see a physio here to get some more treatment," she said.

Pierce's compatriot Razzano was also given an extra day off because of injury before her match against the eighth-seeded Australian Nicole Pratt while organisers added an extra qualifier to the main field after the third-seeded Russian Nadia Petrova pulled out with a muscle strain.

Although there were only four first round matches played yesterday, Marta Marrero managed to cause an upset by beating her fellow Spaniard, the No 4 seed Gala Leon Garcia, 7-6 7-5. Other winners were the Slovakians Martina Sucha and Janetee Husarova and Russia's Alina Jidkova.

Elsewhere in Australia, two wild cards – the American Samantha Reeves and the Australian Bryanne Stewart – upset their seeded opponents yesterday on the opening day of the Canberra Women's Classic tournament.

Reeves beat the fourth seed Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 7-6, 6-3 while Stewart defeated the third seed Cristina Torrens Valero of Spain 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

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