Maria Sharapova opened her 2015 season by winning nine straight games in a 6-0, 6-1 win over Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan on Tuesday in the second round of the Brisbane International.
The top-seeded Sharapova wrapped up the first set in 23 minutes and led 3-0 in the second before Shvedova held serve, raising her arm in mock triumph. Shvedova had a break-point opportunity in the next game, but couldn't put away an overhead and Sharapova responded with a backhand winner down the line.
''I wanted to get off to a good start. Wanted to be as sharp as I could,'' said Sharapova, who advanced to the quarterfinals.
Third-seeded Angelique Kerber advanced earlier Tuesday with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Daria Gavrilova. Varvara Lepchenko progressed with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Madison Keys, who had ousted Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova in the first round.
In a men's first-round upset, Lukasz Kubot of Poland beat fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa 7-6 (3), 6-4.
At the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, Venus Williams made short work of her first match of the new year by sweeping past Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-0 in 52 minutes.
Williams, seeded third behind Caroline Wozniacki and Sara Errani, appeared fit and served 10 aces.
The seven-time major winner reached the final of the Auckland hard-court tournament last year.
''It was very nice,'' Williams said. ''I was welcomed when I came on the court and I felt like I left off right from last year. I felt comfortable right away.''
The top-seeded Wozniacki had to work hard to subdue qualifier Julia Glushko of Israel 6-3, 6-2.
Urzula Radwanska beat former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 7-5 and another qualifier, Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic, toppled fifth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4.
At the Hopman Cup in Perth, the Czech Republic beat Italy 3-0, with Lucie Safarova beating Flavia Pennetta 7-5, 6-3 and Adam Pavlasek scoring an upset win over Fabio Fognini in the men's singles. Fognini later withdrew before the mixed doubles.
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