Maria Sharapova shook off a lackluster second set to dominate the third in a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 win over Svetlana Kuznetsova in a first-round matchup of Russians at the Cincinnati Women's Open on Tuesday.
Kuznetsova's win in San Diego last week pushed her ranking to 14, one above Sharapova, but Sharapova used a 31-11 advantage in winners to overcome 39 unforced errors in her first match at Cincinnati. Kuznetsova needed treatment from a trainer on her back and left knee, and left the court briefly after three games of the third set.
She also squandered eight of 10 break-point opportunities. Akgul Amanmuradova advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Bojana Jovanovski. In another second-round match, No. 16 Marion Bartolo beat Alona Bondarenko 7-6 (4), 6-1 All the day matches were over in straight sets. The 15th-seeded Nadia Petrova became the third seeded player to be eliminated when heat forced her to retire from her match while trailing against Christina McHale.
McHale won the first set 7-6 (4) and was leading 5-3 in the second when the 21st-ranked Petrova retired because of heat illness. In other first-round matches, 12th-seeded Yanina Wickmayer advanced 6-2, 6-2 over Greta Arn and 11th-seeded Flavia Pennetta had a 6-4, 6-1 win over Zheng Jie.
Sylbille Bammer beat Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (5), 6-2, Elena Vesnina eliminated Melanie Oudin, 6-2, 6-3, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ousted Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-1, Maria Kirilenko cruised past Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1, 6-3 and No. 46 Gisela Dulko upset Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-3.