Sharapova, Venus easily advance in Aussie openers

Updated: January 14, 2013

Former champion Maria Sharapova and 7- time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams both cruised in their first-round matches as play commenced at the 2013 Australian Open on Monday.

The second-seeded Sharapova, who captured this prestigious event back in 2008 and lost to Victoria Azarenka in last year’s final of the season’s first major, didn’t drop a game in dusting fellow Russian Olga Puchkova 6-0, 6-0 at Rod Laver Arena in a match that took a mere 55 minutes to complete.

Williams, seeded 25th and still in search of her first Aussie Open title, had an easy time as well in dispatching Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva 6-1, 6-0 in exactly one hour.

Fourth-seeded Agniezka Radwanska, fresh off a victory at the Sydney Inviational, overcame some early struggles to post a 7-5, 6-0 triumph over Australian Bojana Bobusic and advance to the second round. The 2012 Wimbledon finalist has reached the quarters in Melbourne in each of the last two years.

Crowd favorite and ninth seed Samantha Stosur was also a straight-set winner in her opening match, with the Aussie veteran taking care of Chinese Taipei’s Kai-Chen Chang by a 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 score.

Other seeded players who prevailed on Monday’s opening day include No. 6 seed Li Na, with the 2011 French Open champ besting Kazakhstan’s Sesil Karatantcheva 6-1, 6-3, and No. 5 Angelique Kerber, who ousted Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4.

No. 11 Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, 18th-seeded German Julia Goerges, No. 19 Russian Ekaterina Makarova, 22nd-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic, 23rd- seeded Czech Klara Zakopalova and No. 27 Sorana Cirstea of Romania were also among Monday’s victors.