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Tennis: Sharapova opens season with comfortable win in Brisbane

AP , Tuesday 6 Jan 2015
Maria Sharapova of Russia
Maria Sharapova of Russia serves to Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan during their women's singles second round match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, January 6, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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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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