Rome, Italy (Sports Network) - Reigning two-time champion Maria Sharapova
resumed her winning ways in Rome with an easy second-round victory, while
her fellow former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka also landed in the win column
Wednesday at the $2.37 million Italian Open, a clay-court French Open tune-up.
The second-seeded Sharapova drilled Spanish qualifier Garbine Muguruza 6-2,
6-2, while a third-seeded Azarenka pasted German Julia Gorges 6-2, 6-0 on the
red clay at Foro Italico. Sharapova was last week's Madrid runner-up to the
great Serena Williams.
The French Open champion Sharapova captured a second straight Italian Open
title last year by beating Chinese star and former French Open titlist Li Na
in the final.
Up next for the Russian bomber will be American slugger Sloane Stephens, while
the Australian Open champion Azarenka will take on Japan's Ayumi Morita.
A fifth-seeded Li also reached the third round on Wednesday by blasting fellow
Chinese Zheng Jie 6-3, 6-1. The Australian Open runner-up will battle former
world No. 1, two-time Rome champion and former runner-up Jelena Jankovic on
Thursday. Jankovic whipped Serb Bojana Jovanovski 6-2, 6-0 on Day 3.
Meanwhile, seventh-seeded Italian crowd favorite Sara Errani, last year's
Roland Garros runner-up to Sharapova, defeated American Christina McHale 7-5,
5-7, 6-2 and ninth-seeded former French Open and Rome runner-up Samantha
Stosur doused China's Peng Shuai 7-6 (7-5), 6-0.
In other second-round action involving seeds, No. 12 Russian Maria Kirilenko
mauled American Varvara Lepchenko, 6-3, 6-1; No. 13 Italian Roberta Vinci
handled wild card and fellow countrywoman Nastassja Burnett 6-1, 6-4; No. 14
Slovak Dominika Cibulkova overcame American qualifier Melanie Oudin 5-7, 6-1,
6-3; and a No. 16 Stephens fought back to beat Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 4-6,
6-3, 6-2. Cibulkova is rewarded with a third-round match against the mighty
Additionally, the aforementioned Morita dismissed Pole Urszula Radwanska 6-3,
6-1, Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro leveled Swiss Romina Oprandi 6-4, 6-2, and
Spanish lucky-loser Lourdes Dominguez Lino topped Belgian Yanina Wickmayer
6-4, 6-4. Dominguez Lino replaced sixth-seeded German Angelique Kerber in the
draw, as Kerber pulled out with an abdominal injury.
The Sports Network