Schiavone falls to Lorenzo as Serna advances swiftly

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The Independent Online

Maria Sanchez Lorenzo, of Spain, caused the first upset of the Australian Women's Hardcourt Championships here yesterday with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over the sixth seed, Italy's Francesca Schiavone.

Two other seeds comfortably reached the next round on the Gold Coast in one of nine warm-up events in Australia and New Zealand over the next two weeks in preparation for the Australian Open which starts on 19 January.

The seventh seed, Magui Serna of Spain, beat the Australian wild card Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 6-4. The 1999 champion, the eighth-seeded Patty Schnyder, of Switzerland, defeated Jelena Jankovic, of Serbia-Montenegro, 6-4, 6-0.

The defending champion Natalie Dechy, of France, saw off the Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik 6-3, 6-1, while Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Elena Likhovtseva 6-4, 6-1 in an all-Russian match.

It was Dechy's first match since withdrawing from the US Open last August after suffering a left wrist injury.

"It feels perfect," said Dechy. "I was a bit nervous but happy to be able to play my game again." The right-handed Dechy relies heavily on her left wrist for her double-handed backhand returns. "Everything was fine and I was quite happy with my backhand," she said. "My wrist for me is an old story and I really feel it's strong and it's not going to bother me again." Dechy will face Schnyder in the second round.