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Benesova leads Czech trio into Mexico second round

SIXTH-SEEDED Iveta Benesova celebrated her career-best ranking by defeating Shahar Peer of Israel 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the Monterrey Open in Monterrey, Mexico, on Tuesday.

Thanks to reaching the Hobart final in Australia in January and the Acapulco semifinals in Mexico last week, Benesova improved her ranking to No. 31 on Monday, surpassing the No. 33 she reached in 2005.

After starting off 0-3 down to Peer, Benesova cranked up her game and didn't give Peer another break chance, leading three more Czechs into the second round.

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova edged Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (4), and Petra Cetkovska beat Jarmila Groth of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2.

Second-seeded Marion Bartoli of France served five aces and won 72 percent of her first service points to take an easy 6-2, 6-4 victory over Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands. Bartoli will next play Romania's Edina Gallovits, who rallied to beat Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Third-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta, coming off the Acapulco final last weekend where she lost to American Venus Williams, swept past Jill Craybas of the United States 6-1, 6-0 in 56 minutes and will next meet Zahlavova Strycova in the second round.

Fifth-seeded Agnes Szavay of Hungary eliminated Pauline Parmentier of France 6-2, 6-2 and will next meet qualifier Vania King of the US, who beat another Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-1, 6-4.

Other winners included Hungarian Melinda Czink, Mariya Koryttseva of the Ukraine, and Italy's Roberta Vinci.


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