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Sara Errani gained a comfortable straight sets victory over fellow Italian Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Sydney International.
The number three seed bounced back from being knocked out of the Shenzen Open last week by securing a 6-4 6-2 win over Vinci in a match that lasted 85 minutes.
Errani and Vinci have won three grand slam doubles titles together, and Errani admitted it was not easy to focus on beating her friend.
“The hard thing is not the kind of play because we know each other very well – it’s more playing against your best friend that is very difficult,” she said.
“It is not easy to go there and play your best, but I think we played a good match today.”
Errani’s path to the quarters has been made easier with the news that the number eight seed Sloane Stephens has withdrawn from the tournament with a wrist injury that she hopes will improve in time for next week’s Australian Open.
Meanwhile in the top half of the draw, American teenager Madison Keys knocked out the seventh seed Simona Halep 6-1 6-4 to progress, as she bids to reach the last eight for a second time.
Her path too was made easier after the news that the experienced Daniela Hantuchova was surprisingly beaten by wildcard Aila Tomljanovic 6-4 7-5.
Not too easy though as the top seed and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska lies in wait, having enjoyed a bye in round one. She begins her defence against Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the early hours of Tuesday morning.