Robson beaten but Sharapova marches on in Qatar
Laura Robson has been dumped out in the first round of the Qatar Open as defending champion Maria Sharapova opened her campaign with a comfortable win.
Robson's first serve deserted her and she saw four break point opportunities come and go against world No. 75 Daniela Hantuchova, who won 6-4 6-1 in 76 minutes in Doha.
Hantuchova broke to lead 5-3 in the first set, before dominating the second against an opponent ranked 30 places above her in the WTA standings, though Robson may still be suffering the after-effects of a gruelling Fed Cup schedule last week. Both Robson and British No. 1 Heather Watson played and won all four of their matches as Great Britain qualified for the World Group II play-offs.
Sharapova, having had a first-round bye, cruised to her 10th straight Qatar Open win with a 6-3 6-2 victory against France's Caroline Garcia in the first match of the second round.
Up next for the Russian will be either Klara Zakopalova or Sloane Stephens, who beat Robson en route to the Australian Open semi-finals. The American beat Anna Tatishvili of Georgia 6-2 6-2, while Zakopalova progressed when Varvara Lepchenko retired while trailing 7-6(8) 3-0.
Serena Williams was another big name to advance on Tuesday, easily beating Daria Gavrilova 6-2 6-1. Williams broke twice in either set to book her place in the third round.
Elsewhere in the first round Marion Bartoli beat former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 7-6(5) 6-3, but the Italian's compatriot Roberta Vinci progressed when Yanina Wickmayer withdrew while 6-2 2-1 down.
Romanian duo Monica Niculescu and Sorana Cirstea are also through to the second round. Niculescu saw off Serbian former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-4 6-1 while Cirstea came back from a set down to beat Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 2-6 6-3 6-0.
Switzerland's Romina Oprandi edged out former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova 7-6(2) 7-5 and Lucie Safarova beat Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 6-2 6-3. Christina McHale made light work of Vera Dushevina in a 6-1 6-2 win, while Poland's Urszula Radwanska found the going even easier in a 6-1 6-0 victory over Nadiya Kichenok of the Ukraine.
There were also wins for Timea Babos, Ekaterina Makarova, Nadia Petrova, Mona Barthel and Hsieh Su-Wei, all safely through to the second round in Doha.