Bertens, Pironkova cruise in Morocco
Defending champion Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and third-seeded Alize Cornet of France won in straight sets Tuesday to advance to the second round of the Grand Prix SAR.
Cornet cruised past Moroccan wild card Fatima Zahrae El Allami 6-1, 6-1, while Bertens rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the first set to beat Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos 7-5, 6-2.
Tsvetana Pironkova, a 2010 Wimbledon semifinalist, broke twice in each set to beat Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-1.
Two-time runner-up Simona Halep of Romania, Kristina Mladenovic of France and Spaniards Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Lourdes Dominguez Lino also won their first-round matches.
Halep dominated Nina Bratchikova of Russia 6-1, 6-3, and the seventh-seeded Mladenovic edged Alexandra Cadantu of Romania 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a match with 13 breaks of serve.
Cadantu replaced Dominika Cibulkova in the main draw after the top-seeded Slovakian withdrew because of an injury.