Australian Open 2011 - Maria Sharapova Sails To 2nd Round

Australian Open 2011
By Hiland Doolittle, January 17th, 2011

Australian Open 2011 Day 1 – Form Holds For Women, Stylish Maria Sharapova Sails Through To 2nd Round

Maria Sharapova

Stylish Maria Sharapova Dazzles on Day 1

In fact with two exceptions, the draw committee’s seeds all held. Stylish Maria Sharapova brought all her glitter to Melbourne. They love Maria down under. She appears very fit and played more consistently in posting a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Tamarine Tanasugarn. Maria will next face France’s Virginia Razzano, who upset Russian Elena Vesnina.

Young French star Aravane Rezai, the 17th seed, was the first seeded casualty falling to Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6,0, 3-6, 7-5. Then, 28th seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia followed Aravane to the sidelines losing a long battle to Russian Regina Kulikova, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 9-7.

A bookmaker favorite, Belgium’s Justine Henin, seven-time Grand Slam Champion, had her hands full with India’s talented doubles expert, Sania Mirza.

India's Pinup Tennis Babe Sania Mirza Lost To Belgium’s Justine Henin

India's Pinup Tennis Babe Sania Mirza Lost To Belgium’s Justine Henin

At the start, Sania Mirza was on top of her game, claiming the first set before crumbling under Henin’s consistent baseline barrages 5-7, 6-3, 6-1. The eleventh seeded Henin says she is still feeling pain in her forearm but once she was in the match, she seemed looser.

Caroline Wozniacki Faced Tough Challenge

Caroline Wozniacki Faced Tough Challenge

Top seeded Caroline Wozniacki survived a difficult challenge from Argentinean beauty Gisella Dulko (6-3,6-4). In her usual style, the Dane showed great court coverage and the most consistent groundstrokes in the women’s game. The winner committed just 14 unforced errors. Dulko was competitive but lost key points in crucial situations. Wozniacki did not look like a Grand Slam power in her first outing. She will next face a dangerous young American, Vania King.

Victoria Azarenka looked every bit ready to power her way through the draw. The 6’0” blonde made quick work of German Qualifier Kathrin Woerle, 6-0, 6-2. Victoria simply had too much game for the young challenger. Her next opponent will be Andrea Hlavackova.

Venus Williams, the 4th seed, dispatched Italy’s Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-2 and seemed right at home. Venus knows how to pace herself. Li Na, last week’s winner in Sydney, continued her fine play by defeating Sofie Arvidsson of Sweeden. Li muscled through the first set before the Swede mounted a rally that came up short 6-1,7-5. Li is hot and a player top be watched.

The day’s most flawless play came from France’s Marion Bartoli. The eleventh seed posted two bagels in routing Italy’s Tathiana Gerbin. Bartoli played well before the Open and seems right on course.

Diminutive Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, the 29th seed, closed out Angelique Kerber 6-2,6-7(4), 6-6. If Cibulkova and Wozniacki both win their next matches they will face each other in round three. Cibulkova knocked Caroline out at Sydney and appears to be a confident opponent right now.

Belgium’s number three Yanina Wickmayer ralled nicely after losing the second set tiebreaker to Australian Julie Groth and her hometown entourage. Wickmayer’s concentration improved as the match progressed and her forceful play won the day.

A pair of Grand Slam Champions, Italy’s only Grand Slam Champion Francesca Schiavione and two-time Slammer Svetlana Kuzentsova moved to the second round. Kuznetsova, who has been mired in a protracted slump, looked solid against American Alison Riske 6-3,6-2. Schiavone had a more difficult time needing to come from behind against Spain’s Santonja Parra 6-7(4), 6-2,6-4.

Two of the game’s rising stars, German Andrea Petkovic and young Tsvetana Pironkova cleared the first hurdle. Petkovic did it with room to spare, ousting American veteran Jill Craybas 6-1,6-2. Pironkova had a bit more difficulty against Pauline Parmentier. These two youngsters lead a group of rising stars that will not go away easily.

The weather was very comfortable on Monday. Apparently, the players feel the courts are a little slow but has no heat issues yesterday.


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