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Cornet knocked out in Rome

FRENCH teenager Alize Cornet, a runner up in Rome last year, was knocked out in the second round of the Italian Open yesterday.

Cornet, the 13th seed, lost 4-6, 1-6 to Kateryna Bondarenko. Bondarenko, a 22-year-old Ukrainian ranked 61 in the world.

That match was the only one to be completed at the Foro Italico before a rain storm forced a suspension of play.

Defending champion Jelena Jankovic's second-round match against Argentine Gisela Dulko was halted by the storm at 5-5 in the second set after the Serbian had won the first 6-3.

Jankovic, who has won the title for the last two years, had to save four set points in the 10th game of the second set before downpours and thunder forced the umpire to call on the covers.

The winner of the match will take on Bondarenko.

Russian world No. 1 Dinara Safina was due to take on France's Virginie Razzano later and second seed Serena Williams was to start her bid to regain the title she won in 2002, against Swiss Patty Schnyder.

On Monday, Venus Williams survived a stiff test from unseeded Czech Lucie Safarova to move into the third round with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win.

But the 28-year-old American, who won the claycourt event in 1999, said she didn't mind the extra effort.

"I was OK with the match being a little longer," the fourth seed said. "I just I want to hit balls. In a way it's not too bad to go three sets. "

In Munich, Marin Cilic of Croatia eased into the second round of the BMW Open by beating German qualifier Dieter Kindelmann 6-3, 6-2 yesterday.

Cilic is seeded second in the claycourt tournament but is the highest-ranked player in the event following the late withdrawal of defending champion Fernando Gonzalez, who was the top seed. The Chilean pulled out due to an ankle injury.


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