Ivanovic impresses on Rome clay to dispatch Kuznetsova

Ana Ivanovic serves during her straight sets victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Italian Open in Rome.

Story highlights

  • Ana Ivanovic through to second round of Italian Open in Rome
  • Former No.1 Ivanovic beats Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets
  • Foro Italico hosts star-studded joint ATP/WTA tournament
  • Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka head the respective fields

Ana Ivanovic won a battle of former French Open champions as she dispatched Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets at the WTA tournament in Rome Monday.

Ivanovic claimed her only grand slam win at Roland Garros in 2008 and boosted her preparation for another tilt at the title in Paris later this month with a 6-4 6-3 victory.

Windy conditions at the Foro Italico hindered both players during a 73-minute match, but it was Serbia's Ivanovic who adapted the better.

"It was hard to play, especially on the service because of the strong gusts of wind," she told the official tournament website.

"I'm achieving a good level thanks to the work I'm doing with my coach," she added.

Ivanovic took all five of her break point opportunities against Kuznetsova, who succeeded her as French Open champion in 2009.

Two breaks of service in the opener gave Ivanovic the advantage and she broke through three more times in a second set, including to love in the final game as she wrapped up victory.

She faces either Alberta Brianti of Italy or Spaniard Silvia Soler in the second round and a potential last 16 clash against Russian star Maria Sharapova awaits the 13th seed.

The joint ATP/WTA tournament has attracted a stellar field, with the men's event boasting the top four in the world, led by defending champion Novak Djokovic.

He beat the 'king of clay' Rafael Nadal in the 2011 final, but both exited early at last week's Madrid Masters on the controversial blue surface.

Roger Federer took advantage to leapfrog Nadal for second spot in the rankings with his 20th Masters Series title.

But Nadal told the official tournament website that this did not concern him.

"To be number two or three isn't going to change my game.

"I am here in Rome and it is one of my favorite tournaments. I am motivated to play my best," he added.

Women's world number one Victoria Azarenka will also be in action later in the week, coming off her final defeat in Madrid to a rejuvenated Serena Williams, who is also in the draw in Italy's premier tennis tournament.