Japan Open: Azarenka thrashes Paszek, Sharapova stretched
Tokyo: World No.1 Victoria Azarenka faced little difficulty in the second round of the Japan Open tennis tournament Tuesday when she demolished Austria`s Tamira Paszek in straight sets.
The Belarusian won 6-1, 6-1 on the hard court in Tokyo, although Eastbourne champion Paszek did break her opponent in the first set.
The match was Azarenka`s first at the tournament after receiving a first-round bye due to her ranking status.
Azarenka now faces 14th seed Roberta Vinci in the third round after the Italian recorded a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 win over France`s Pauline Parmentier.
Russian World No.2 Maria Sharapova was pushed to the limit as she beat Britain`s Heather Watson in a three-hour epic clash.
Sharapova 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-4 in a match that saw the Russian`s serve broken six times. The Russian`s next opponent is Lucie Safarova, who reached the third-round with a walkover when her opponent Klara Zakopalova withdrew from the tournament.
Elsewhere, eighth seed Sam Stosur had a tough time against former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, eventually winning 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 against the 32-year-old veteran. Stosur next plays Slovakia`s Dominika Cibulkova, who routed China`s Jie Zheng 6-0, 6-3.
World No.5 Petra Kvitova suffered a surprise second-round exit, losing to World No.73 Petra Martic in straight sets.
Kvitova went down 6-4, 6-4 to Martic in her first match of the tournament after the Czech received a first-round bye.
Martic will now play Russia`s Nadia Petrova in the third round after Petrova defeated Romania`s Simona Halep 7-6(4), 6-0.
World No.8 Li Na battled through a tough second-round match against Russia`s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, eventually prevailing 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, and will now play either Caroline Wozniacki or Daniela Hantuchova.
World No.10 Marion Bartoli moved into the third round with a win over Germany`s Julia Goerges, triumphing 6-2, 7-5, and will now face Sara Errani.
French Open finalist Errani secured her passage to the third round with a 6-3, 7-6(1) win over Johanna Larsson of Sweden.
World No.15 Kaia Kanepi was knocked out 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 by unseeded American Jamie Hampton, just two days after the Estonian had played in the final of the Korea Open, losing to Wozniacki in Seoul.
Hampton`s next opponent will be either world No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska or former U.S. Open champion Jelena Jankovic, who play later Tuesday.
Radwanska`s younger sister Urszula reached the third round with a surprise 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win against Serbia`s Ana Ivanovic, a former French Open champion.
Her next opponent is Germany`s Angelique Kerber, who ended Japanese No.1 Ayumi Morita`s run with a 6-3, 6-4 win.