Li wins opener in Rome
Rome, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Australian Open champion Li Na was an easy second-round winner at the $2.6 million Italian International tennis event, a clay court French Open tune-up at Foro Italico.
Following an opening-round bye, the second seed blew past Aussie qualifier Casey Dellacqua 6-1, 6-4 in 1 hour, 17 minutes in Tuesday's nightcap.
The former French Open champion Li was the Rome runner-up two years ago.
Also in the second round, Chinese Zhang Shuai stunned fifth-seeded former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 6-3 and Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska ousted seventh-seeded German Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In opening-round play involving seeds, rising Italian Camila Giorgi took out No. 9 Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), No. 10 former French Open finalist Sara Errani of Italy handled South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers 7-5, 6-3 and No. 13 Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro grounded German qualifier Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-2.
"The pressure is positive. It's great that the fans come to see you," said the wild card Giorgi. "Playing at home happens only once per year."
Russian Ekaterina Makarova dismissed veteran Italian favorite Roberta Vinci 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) in a first-round affair.
Additional first-round wins came for Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig, Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza and American qualifier Christina McHale, who snuck past Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 on Day 2.
In some more second-round play on Wednesday, world No. 1 Serena Williams will face former top-10 German Andrea Petkovic, third-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska will encounter Argentine lucky loser Paula Ormaechea and hot eighth-seeded former No. 1 Maria Sharapova will tangle with Puig. Sharapova has won her last two events, both on clay, including last week in Madrid.
Williams is the reigning Rome titlist, having beaten Victoria Azarenka in last year's final for her second title here. Sharapova is a two-time champion at Foro Italico.
05/13 17:05:19 ET