Serena, Sharapova among Madrid winners; Halep, Venus out

Madrid, Spain ( – Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova were
among the first-round winners Sunday at the Madrid Open, while second-seeded
Simona Halep was shown a quick exit.

Williams, the top seed and Madrid champion in 2012 and 2013, needed just 55
minutes in a 6-0, 6-1 pounding of fellow American Madison Brengle, while the
third-seeded Sharapova also had an easy opener with a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over
Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky.

France’s Alize Cornet knocked off Halep in straight sets, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, for
the first major upset of this French Open tune-up.

Williams won the first set in 21 minutes, then grudgingly ceded a game to
Brengle before quickly regaining focus. Brengle saved five break points in the
first game of the second set.

“I was able to win good today, but she’s been playing really well,” Williams
said. “I’ve been following her results. She got to the semifinals of her last
clay-court event and she’s been having some good wins.”

Next up for Williams will be another fellow American in Sloane Stephens, who
won her first-round match on Saturday in three sets against countrymate
Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Venus Williams was not as fortunate as her sister. She had a tough first-round
match with Victoria Azarenka and the former world No. 1 from Belarus notched a
6-3, 7-5 victory. Azarenka could face Serena Williams in the third round.

Other seeded winners Sunday included 2011 champion Petra Kvitova and Caroline
Wozniacki. The fourth-seeded Kvitova had to rally for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over
qualifier Olga Govortsova of Belarus, while the fifth-seed Wozniacki made
short work of Australia’s Jarmila Gajdosova, 6-3, 6-0.

Canada’s Genie Bouchard and Germany’s Angelique Kerber were also upset victims
on Day 2 at the Magic Box. Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic rebounded
from an awful first set to claim a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over the sixth-seeded
Bouchard, while former U.S. Open champ Samantha Stosur of Australia took out
the 12th-seeded Kerber, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, Karolina Pliskova of
the Czech Republic and Italy’s Sara Errani were other seeded winners.

The 10th-seeded Suarez Navarro topped Zarina Diyas, 6-4, 6-4, the 11th-seeded
Petkovic edged Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, 6-3, 7-5 and the 14th-seeded Pliskova,
coming off a title Saturday in Prague, blasted Spain’s Silvia Soler Espinoza,
6-1, 6-2. Errani, the 15th seed, had won the first three games of her match
against Paula Badosa Gibert when the Spanish qualifier retired.

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine followed up her Marrakech title from Saturday
with a 6-0, 6-3 rout of Slovak veteran Daniela Hantuchova to earn a second-
round matchup with Ana Ivanovic, a Saturday first-round winner.

Second-round play begins Monday with Serena Williams and Stephens set to open
the night session. Daytime matches feature Wozniacki against American
qualifier Christine McHale, a 6-3, 6-2 winner Sunday against Germany’s Mona
Barthel, and ninth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland against Australia’s
Casey Dellacqua — both of whom won Saturday.