Serena, Sharapova win Doha openers

Published February 12, 2013

| Sports Network

Former world No. 1 stars Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova highlighted Tuesday's winners at the $2.369 million Qatar Open.

The second-seeded U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Williams flattened Russian lucky-loser Daria Gavrilova 6-2, 6-1, while the third-seeded two-time Qatar Open titlist Sharapova improved to a perfect 10-0 lifetime in Doha with a 6-3, 6-2 handling of French qualifier Caroline Garcia in second-round action on the hardcourts at Khalifa International Tennis Complex.

"I was quite happy with the way I played, because my opponent has already played a few matches here so she's been able to get in that match atmosphere," Sharapova said. "So I wanted to start really strong. I had a tough match against her in my previous encounter where I played three sets. I really wanted to start better this time as opposed to last time."

Both Williams and the French Open champion Sharapova received opening-round byes this week.

A second-round upset came when surging German Mona Barthel whipped fifth- seeded fellow countrywoman Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-2. Barthel titled in Paris two weeks ago, was a finalist in Hobart last month, and headed to Doha ranked 32nd in the world.

The opening round wrapped up with 16 matches on Tuesday.

In first-round matches involving seeds, No. 9 Marion Bartoli beat former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 7-6 (7-5), 6-3; No. 11 Nadia Petrova erased Czech Andrea Hlavackova 6-2, 6-3; qualifier Ekaterina Bychkova toppled No. 12 fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko 3-0, retired; No. 15 Italian Roberta Vinci dismissed Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 2-1, retired; No. 16 American Sloane Stephens drubbed Georgian Anna Tatishvili 6-2, 6-2; and No. 17 Czech Lucie Safarova cruised past Greek Eleni Daniilidou 6-2, 6-3. Petrova captured the Qatar Open in 2006.

Meanwhile, Czech Klara Zakopalova was leading Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 (10-8),3-0 when the American retired on Day 2.

Several other women reached the second round, including Slovakian veteran Daniela Hantuchova, Romanian Monica Niculescu and American Christina McHale, who topped Russian qualifier Vera Dushevina 6-1, 6-2. Niculescu took down former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 6-1.

On Wednesday, current world No. 1 and reigning Australian Open and Doha champ Victoria Azarenka will meet Swiss Romina Oprandi and fourth-seeded Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska will battle Aussie qualifier Anastasia Rodionova in some more second-round action.

Azarenka beat former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur in last year's Doha finale.

The 2013 Qatar Open winner will claim $426,000.

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http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/02/12/serena-sharapova-win-doha-openers/