Sharapova, Bartoli, 3 other seeds advance
Russian Maria Sharapova made a triumphant return to hard courts with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Japan's Jie Zheng in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic yesterday.india Updated: Jul 28, 2010 11:12 IST
Russian Maria Sharapova made a triumphant return to hard courts with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Japan's Jie Zheng in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic on Tuesday.
Sharapova reversed a loss to Zheng the last time she played on hard courts at Indian Wells in March.
The fifth-seeded and 15th-ranked Sharapova, who missed six weeks with a right elbow injury, won for the 15th time in her last 18 matches.
Defending champion Marion Bartoli was another of the five seeds to advance, beating American Ashley Harkleroad 6-1, 6-4. The fourth-seeded Frenchwoman, ranked 14th, beat Harkleroad for the first time in three meetings, though it was their first meeting in six years.
"She played really well, especially in the second set," Bartoli said. "For someone who hasn't played that much lately, she was giving me a hard time out there."
Bartoli, who faces wildcard Ana Ivanovic in the second round, won 81 percent of her first serve points to overwhelm the American, who played her second match on the WTA Tour in two years.
In other first-round matches, sixth-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel beat Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3; No. 7 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium downed Taiwan's Chan Yung-jan 6-3, 6-4; Belarus' Victoria Azarenka, the eighth seed, topped Japan's Ayumi Morita, 6-0, 6-2; Ukrainian qualifier Olga Savchuk knocked off American Jill Craybas, 6-3, 6-3; Christina McHale of the United States defeated Taiwan's Chang Kai-chen 3-6, 6-0, 6-2, in a match featuring a pair of qualifiers; and Russian Maria Kirilenko beat qualifier Mirjana Lucic of Croatia, 6-1, 6-4.