Sharapova, Kvitova post wins in Rome
Rome, Italy (Sports Network) - Reigning champion Maria Sharapova and Wimbledon titlist Petra Kvitova were a pair of second-round winners Tuesday at the $2.168 million Italian Open tennis event, a clay-court French Open tune-up.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 Sharapova handled rising American teenager Christina McHale 7-5, 7-5, while a fourth-seeded Kvitova overcame eight double faults to get past capable Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-4 on a sun-filled day at Foro Italico.
Sharapova titled on red clay in Stuttgart last month.
The Aussie Open and Wimbledon runner-up Sharapova beat U.S. Open winner Samantha Stosur in last year's Rome finale.
In first-round action involving seeds on Day 2, No. 14 Slovak Dominika Cibulkova whipped Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic 6-1, 6-2, while upsets came when Romanian Sorana Cirstea knocked out No. 15 Serb Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) and Italian Flavia Pennetta dismissed No. 16 Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 7-6 (7-2). The former world No. 1 Jankovic was the back-to-back Rome titlist in 2007 and 2008 and runner-up in 2010.
Additional opening-round wins came for Spanish qualifier Silvia Soler-Espinosa and American Sloane Stephens, who outlasted fellow qualifier and former top-10 Russian Anna Chakvetadze 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
The 2012 Rome titlist will collect $385,000.
05/15 10:42:29 ET