Italy’s Flavia Pennetta booked herself a second-round clash with world No. 1 Serena Williams at the WTA and ATP Sony Open hard-court tournament in Miami after a 6-4, 6-1 first-round victory over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson on Tuesday, while defending champion and fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland will open against Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei, who downed Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 7-6 (17/15).
Pennetta, ranked 103rd, will meet Williams on Thursday in a second-round match at the US$8.5 million event, which awarded byes to all 32 seeded players in both the men’s and women’s draws.
The third-round foe for Williams if she beats Pennetta will be either 31st seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium or Japan’s Ayumi Morita, who outlasted Britain’s Heather Watson 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Williams will try to become the first six-time winner in Miami in her first event since reclaiming the top ranking, while men’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia tries to claim his fourth Miami crown.
Williams, a 15-time Grand Slam singles champion, won in Miami in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. The 31-year-old American, who also reached the final in 1999 and 2009, is the reigning US Open, Wimbledon and Olympic champion.
Williams’ 19th-seeded sister Venus, a former world No. 1 with seven Grand Slam singles crowns, will open against Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm, who ousted South Africa’s Chanelle Scheepers 6-2, 6-0.
Chinese fifth seed Li Na learned she will open against Dutch rival Kiki Bertens, who won the first seven games, before Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili retired from their match.
China’s Peng Shuai downed Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-2 and faces Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova in the second round.
French 10th seed Marion Bartoli opens against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, who downed Serbian Bojana Jovanovski 6-3, 6-1.
France’s Kristina Mladenovic defeated Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak 7-5, 6-2 to book a second-round date with Slovakian 13th seed Dominika Cibulkova.
Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu edged New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 and next faces 25th seed Varvara Lepchenko of the US.