Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and second seed Maria Sharapova advanced to the second round of the Madrid Open with straight set wins on Sunday on the blue-clay courts.
Azarenka beat Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 in a tough opening match.
The Australian Open champion and Kuznetsova traded breaks in the first set. Just when it looked like the second set was going to end in another tiebreaker, Azarenka broke again to close out the match.
Azarenka, last year’s runner-up, has won four titles this year. She will play Andrea Hlavackova or Anastasia Rodionova in the next round.
Sharapova had an easier debut with a comfortable 6-0, 6-3 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu.
Sharapova stormed into an early lead by winning the first seven games. After Begu saved a match point, the Romanian player had a double break chance, but Sharapova saved both points to hold serve and secure a second-round meeting with Klara Zakopalova.
Sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki served six aces in a 7-6 (9/7), 3-6, 6-4 win over Ksenia Pervak.
Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska did not give up a single break chance in her comfortable 6-3, 6-1 win over Lara Arruabarrena-Veci.
The 12th-seeded Angelique Kerber beat Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-4 to advance to a second-round meeting with Venus Williams, while 13th seed Ana Ivanovic brushed aside Mathilde Johansson 6-4, 6-1.
Roberta Vinci of Italy defeated 14th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-2, while Varvara Lepchenko of the US upset 11th seed Francesca Schiavone 6-4, (10/8) 6-7, 6-3.
In men’s action, Nicolay Davydenko beat Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 to set up a meeting with second-seeded Rafael Nadal.
Kevin Anderson of South Africa downed Alex Bogomolov Jr of Russia, 6-3, 6-2 and he is scheduled to play sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych.