GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) _ Wild-card Australian entrants Nicole Pratt and Kristine Kunce were beaten in the first round Monday at the Australian women's hardcourt tennis championships.

American Corina Morariu ended Nicole Pratt's hopes of a second-round berth, winning 7-5, 6-2, while Austrian qualifier Sylvia Pilschke beat Kristine Kunce 6-3, 6-2 at the Hope Island tennis complex.

Morariu, 19, who will meet top seed Brenda Schultz-McCarthy in the second round on Wednesday, said she found it difficult to concentrate early in the match after having a six-week layoff.

In other matches Monday, France's Sarah Pitkowski beat sixth seed Joanette Kruger of South Africa 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, fourth seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan beat Bulgarian Magdalena Maleeva 7-5, 6-2 and Denisa Chladkova of the Czech Republic beat Japan's Mana Endo 7-6 (10-8), 2-6, 7-6 (9-7). (djp)