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Two former world No. 1s will face off in a tantalising second round clash on Thursday, after Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozinacki both won their opening matches of the 2015 Australian Open.
Last year’s Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova also won, but only after given a significant scare by Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens.
Two-time champion Azarenka progressed swiftly, defeating American Sloane Stephens 6-3 6-2.
The Belarussian and former world No.1 accounted for her opponent in just 75 minutes on Hisense Arena, in what was a re-match of their controversial 2013 semi-final at the event.
The world No. 44 was pleased with her first up showing.
“I felt pretty good,” Azarenka told media post match.
“I think from the beginning I started to be pretty focused and just maintained that intensity. So that was a good opportunity to just really at the beginning take my chances because she’s the kind of player that likes to take her chances. There is still a lot to build from here
Having endured a horror 2014, and not shielded by a seeding, she is now confronted by Denmark’s Wozniacki, seeded 8th, after she escpaed from a tight first set against young American firebrand Taylor Townsend to win 7-6 6-2 on Margaret Court Arena.
11th seeded Czech Cibulkova had to come from a set down, before running away from Flipkens to win 3-6 6-3 6-1 on show court three. She will now face Tsvetana Pironkova on Thursday, after the Bulgarian eased past Briton Heather Watson 6-4 6-0.
The seeded women playing on Tuesday largely made safe passage through to the last 64.
Fourth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova made light work of Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp, rquiring merely 63 minutes to win 6-1 6-4 on Hissense Arena.
Garbine Muguruza of Spain, and Alize Cornet of France, seeded 24th and 19th respectively, both progressed to the second round after comfortable wins early, while Barbora Zhalova Strycova, the 25th seed from the Czech Republic joined them with a straight sets triumph not long after.
The biggest name casualties were German Andrea Petkovic and former world no. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia. Petkovic fell despite taking the first set againt American Madison Brengle, with the 13th seed defeated 5-7 7-6 6-43 in 2hr 22mins. 15th seeded Jankovic joined Petkovic on the scrapheap in ignominiousl fashion, downed by Switzerland’s Timea Bascinszy 6-1 6-4 on court 13.
Big names Serena Williams, sister Venus, and Agnieszka Radwanska are also on Tuesday’s card.Continue reading »