Marrakesh, Morocco (Sports Network) - Third seed Alize Cornet, fourth- seeded Kaia Kanepi and reigning champion Kiki Bertens notched opening-round victories Tuesday at the $235,000 Moroccan Grand Prix.
The Frenchwoman Cornet drilled helpless Moroccan wild card Fatima Zahrae El Allami 6-1, 6-1, while the Estonian slugger Kanepi fought back to best Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and the Dutchwoman Bertens handled Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos 7-5, 6-2 at this clay-court tennis event. Medina Garrigues captured this tournament in 2009 and was the runner-up in 2008.
Bertens bested Spaniard Laura Pous Tio in last year's Moroccan Grand Prix finale, in Fes.
Meanwhile, seventh-seeded Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic held off Romanian lucky loser Alexandra Cadantu 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 and ninth-seeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova doused Czech Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-1 on Day 2.
Other first-round winners were Spaniards Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Luxembourg's Mandy Minella, Romanian Simona Halep and Italian qualifier Karin Knapp. Halep was the back-to-back Moroccan Grand Prix runner-up in 2010 and 2011.