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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kournikova Brushes Aside Valero to Advance

TOKYO -- Anna Kournikova crushed Spaniard Cristina Torrens-Valero 6-3, 6-0 to advance to the second round of the $1.22 million Pan Pacific Open on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Russian dropped her serve in the opening game but broke back immediately and went on to dominate Torrens-Valero in a one-sided match at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Kournikova, who lost in the first round of the Australian Open earlier this month, demonstrated an improved serve as she dictated the tempo from the baseline, taking just 48 minutes to wrap up the match.

After missing eight months with a stress fracture in her left foot in 2001, Kournikova said she felt ready to return to the top 10 in the women's game after seeing her world ranking slip to No. 99.

"I felt like a beginner when I came back. It was tough being in a wheelchair, just eating popcorn and watching movies. But now I feel like a fish in water again," said Kournikova, who has been ranked as high as eight in the world.

"I still need to play more matches, then hopefully I can climb back up the rankings. I would say I am at 75 percent right now," she added.

Kournikova, who is still chasing her first singles title on the WTA Tour, will play either fellow Russian Yelena Dementieva or Japanese qualifier Saori Obata in the second round.

In other matches, No. 8 seed Amanda Coetzer of South Africa defeated American doubles specialist Lisa Raymond 7-5, 6-4, while sixth seed Magdalena Maleeva completed a comfortable 6-4, 6-4 victory over Daja Bedanova of the Czech Republic.

The Bulgarian will play Tamarine Tanasugarn in the second round after the Thai overcame Maria Emilia Salerni of Argentina 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

Earlier, Italy's Rita Grande beat Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, while Austrian Barbara Schett thrashed Spain's Magui Serna 6-1, 6-3 and will face fourth seed Sandrine Testud of France in the second round.

Top seed Martina Hingis, runner-up in Melbourne on Saturday, received a first-round bye and will play German Marlene Weingartner, who beat Japan's Rika Fujiwara 6-1, 7-6, on Wednesday.