Azarenka beats Kuznetsova on blue clay in Madrid

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Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka beat Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-6 (5), 6-4 Sunday in a tough first-round match on the new blue clay court at the Madrid Open.

Azarenka, the Australian Open champion, was runner-up in this tournament last year. The Belarus star has won four titles this year.

The players traded breaks in the opening set. Just when it seemed the second set was going to another tiebreaker, Azarenka broke again to close the match.

Sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark defeated Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-4.