Sharapova sizzles; Azarenka, Wozniacki survive at Madrid Masters
Madrid, Spain (AHN Sports) – Scorching hot Maria Sharapova continued to deliver superb tennis on dirt, while Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki played a bit rusty as the initial stage of the 2012 Madrid Masters resumed Sunday.
Fresh from bagging her first title of the year a week ago in Stuttgart, Sharapova looked sharper than ever as she made a quick work of Romanian Irina Begu, 6-0, 6-3 in her first-round outing on the new blue clay-court surface at the Park Manzanares.
Sharapova won the first seven games and overcame Begu’s double break advantage in the second set to arrange a third-round clash with Czech Klára Zakopalová, who defeated compatriot Iveta Benešová 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Meanwhile, Victoria Azarenka opened up her Madrid Masters campaign in questionable form as the world’s top female netter struggled to dispatch two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Azarenka, the 2011 Madrid Masters runner-up, traded powerful serves and sleek crosscourt shots in a grueling first-round game with Kuznetsova, the 2009 French Open champion.
The Belarusian beauty also blamed the tournament’s new claycourt surface, claiming the dirt appeared to be quite slippery aside from being blue.
“It is pretty slippery. The bounce is different which changes everything completely already. It’s just a completely different thing,” Azarenka told reporters, according to TSN Sunday.
Wozniacki had to survive an even tougher first-round match as she grinded out a 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-4 victory over Russian Ksenia Pervak.
Agnieszka Radwanska pummeled Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino 6-3, 6-1; Ana Ivanovic overwhelmed Mathilde Johansson 6-4, 6-1; Varvara Lepchenko stunned former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-7, 6-3; and Maria Kirilenko nipped Jie Zheng 6-2, 7-5.