Kuznetsova, Schiavone advance in Miami
Key Biscayne, FL – Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was an easy opening-round winner Wednesday at the $4.196 million Sony Open.
The former top-five star and two-time Grand Slam champion doused Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-3, 6-3 on the hardcourts at Crandon Park, where the Russian titled back in 2006.
Italian Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, had a much tougher time with her first-round opponent, but survived Jana Cepelova of Slovakia with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Meanwhile, Slovakian veteran Daniela Hantuchova drubbed Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 6-4, and Romanian Simona Halep outlasted German slugger Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, on Day 2.
Americans Jamie Hampton, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Victoria Duval, Christina McHale and Madison Keys all advanced, with Keys bageling countrymate Allie Kiick in 46 minutes. The only other American in action, Mallory Burdette, lost to Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-2, 6-4.
Britain's Laura Robson won her first match since the Australian Open with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Camila Giorgi of Italy.
Others heading to the second round are Swiss Romina Oprandi and Stefanie Voegele, Czech Karolina Pliskova, Spaniards Anabel Medina Garrigues, Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Garbine Muguruza, China's Zheng Jie, Canada's Eugenie Bouchard, Belarus' Olga Govortsova, Croatia's Donna Vekic and Pole Urszula Radwanska, the younger sister of the reigning Miami champion.
The top seeds here are a trio of current and/or former world No. 1s -- Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and last week's Indian Wells champion Maria Sharapova.
The reigning Wimbledon and U.S. Open titlist Williams is a five-time Miami champ, while the Aussie Open champion Azarenka titled here in 2009 and 2011 and the French Open queen Sharapova was last year's Miami runner-up to Agnieszka Radwanska. Sharapova has lost in the last two finals at this Premier Mandatory WTA event.
All 32 seeds received opening-round byes.
The winner of this 13-day tournament will earn $724,000.