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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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By MEL REISNER
AP Sports Writer


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Francesca Schiavone and Daja Bedanova, the first two seeded players to compete in the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic, advanced after first-round victories Monday night.

Schiavone, seeded seventh, defeated Elena Likhovtseva 6-4, 6-3, while No. 8 Bedanova struggled against Elena Bovina before winning, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in a 2-hour, 33-minute match.


Earlier, Nathalie Dechy beat Jennifer Hopkins 6-2, 4-6, 6-0. She will play No. 4 Meghann Shaughnessy, who reached last year's final against Lindsay Davenport.

Davenport did not return, but the three other seeded players who received a bye to the second round of the $585,000 tournament -- Australian Open champion Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis and Serena Williams -- rank in the WTA's top nine.

Venus Williams, No. 1 for the first time this week, is taking a three-week rest after being upset by Sandrine Testud in the Dubai Open on Friday.

Schiavone rattled Likhovtseva by playing against the grain, using off-speed shots and half-lobs to control the tempo.

``It's important to control how you want to beat her,'' Schiavone said. ``She played not bad, but not special. I played like she doesn't want -- top-spin, sometimes short. It is like this that you could win this match.''

Schiavone, a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros last year, won when Likhovtseva double-faulted on match point.

It was Schiavone's second straight service break. In the seventh game, Schiavone won a long rally to go ahead 40-30. Likhovtseva lingered over the ball, missed with the first serve and then returned a volley into the net to send Schiavone ahead, 4-3.

Bovina fought off two break points in the sixth game of the third set and two match points in the 10th.

The 11th game went to deuce before Bovina was wide with a return, and Bedanova won it with an ace. She broke Bovina in the next game, winning the last three points.
 
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