Wozniacki and Sharapova in cruise control

Indian Wells: Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and former winner Maria Sharapova cruised into the third round of the Indian Wells WTA tournament with 6-2, 6-0 victories on Saturday.

Denmark`s Wozniacki launched her title defence by demolishing Russian Ekaterina Makarova and Sharapova, the 2006 champion, crushed Argentina`s Gisela Dulko at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Former world number one Wozniacki took advantage of an error-strewn display by her left-handed opponent, cruising to victory in just over an hour on the showpiece stadium court.

Makarova, who reached her first grand slam quarter-final at the Australian Open in January, never once held serve before her match ended when she netted a backhand.

"I played pretty good out there," fourth seed Wozniacki told reporters after ending the day session with her win. "It`s always pretty tough playing in your first match, and I actually felt comfortable."

"I don`t like to be out there for too long if I don`t have to. I like to play tennis and I love grinding it out, but if I have the opportunity to finish it off fast, I like that opportunity, as well.

The 21-year-old sais he was excited to be back at Indian Wells. "This is one of my favourite tournaments and I always feel at home here," she added.

Wozniacki, who beat Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in last year`s final, will next face Swede Sofia Arvidsson, a 6-3, 6-3 winner against Romanian Monica Niculescu.

Sharapova, one of six former champions in the field, broke Dulko three times in each set before ending the first match of the evening session with a crunching forehand down the line.


"I have such good memories of this place," the 24-year-old Russian said courtside after pumping her right fist in delight to celebrate the one-sided victory. "I really enjoy this event."

Sharapova, who has reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells four times, will take on Romania`s Simona Halep in the next round.

U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur of Australia also eased into the third round, needing only 49 minutes with her attacking style to hammer American wild card Irina Falconi 6-0, 6-3.

Sixth-seeded Stosur will next play Russian Nadia Petrova, who beat American wild card Lauren Davis 6-3, 6-2.

Former champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia gained a measure of revenge for her early exit from last year`s French Open, pounding Swede Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-2.

Ivanovic, who lost to the Swede in three sets in the opening round at Roland Garros, delivered a ruthless display with her crisp ground strokes to wrap up victory in just over an hour.

In dazzling desert sunshine, the elegant Serb broke Larsson three times in the opening set and twice in the second to reach the third round of an event she won in 2008.

"I`m definitely happy about that," a beaming Ivanovic said after ending the match with consecutive aces. "I had a little bit of that (French Open) match in my mind.

"I didn`t play good at the French Open, so I knew I had a better chance this time around. I felt it was a bit of an awkward match against her but I`m still so happy to get that revenge and win."

In other matches, 10th seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy swept past Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-4 and 11th-seeded German Sabine Lisicki was upset 6-1, 6-4 by Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino.

Bureau Report