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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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LINZ, AUSTRIA (TICKER) -- Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria overcame a tough opening set Monday to defeat Paola Suarez of Argentina, 7-5, 6-1, in the first round of the $565,000 Generali Ladies Open.

Croatian Iva Majoli rallied past Austrian wild card Evelyn Fauth, 5-7, 6-4, 6-0, and 1997 winner Chanda Rubin of the United States routed Henrieta Nagyova of Slovakia, 6-2, 6-1, in other first-round matches on Monday.

Lindsay Davenport seeks her third consecutive tournament win and tries to defend her title at the Design Center Linz this week.

Maleeva, the seventh seed, has reached three WTA finals this year. But the 26-year-old's lone success came at the Budapest Open claycourt event in April, when she captured her eighth career title.

"The first match of a tournament is always difficult," Maleeva said. "We were both a bit nervous and I don't think we both played so well. I guess the difference was that I was better on the important points."

Maleeva awaits the winner of Tuesday's first-round encounter between local favorite Barbara Schett and Japan's Ai Sugiyama.

Majoli trailed 5-7, 1-4 before reeling off 11 straight games to get past the 147th ranked women in the world. She will meet the winner between American qualifier Alexandra Stevenson and Spaniard Cristina Torrens Valero.

Despite having won seven career singles crowns, Majoli advanced to her only final of the year at the Bell Challenge hardcourt tournament in Quebec last month.

Davenport, the top seed at this indoor event, defeated Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia in Sunday's final of the Swisscom Challenge in Zurich.

Sunday's triumph was the sixth tournament win of the season and 36th in the career of Davenport, who claimed the Porsche Grand Prix two weeks ago.

The 25-year-old American has not lost before the quarterfinals of any of the 15 tournaments she has played, despite missing three months in the middle of the season with a right knee bone bruise.

Davenport defeated Venus Williams in three sets to claim last year's event. Williams was to have been the second seed this week but withdrew with an irritated left wrist. She has not played since winning the U.S. Open due to concerns following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Moving into the second spot in the draw is Wimbledon runner-up Justine Henin of Belgium, who has reached the final in two of her last three tournaments. She has won three titles this year.

Seeded third, Dokic also owns three tournament victories this season. She has advanced to the final at four of her last five events, winning the Kremlin Cup three weeks ago.

Nathalie Tauziat, the fourth seed from France, will play her last regular tour singles tournament this week. Tauziat, who will play a limited doubles schedule in 2002, qualified for the WTA Tour Championships next week.

The top four seeds earned first-round byes.

Russia's Elena Dementieva is seeded fifth followed by 1999 finalist Sandrine Testud of France, Maleeva, and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of Spain.
 
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