• WTA

Azarenka eases past Oprandi

ESPN staff
February 13, 2013 « World No. 1 Selby humbled at Welsh Open | Chartbeat test »
Victoria Azarenka started slowly © Getty Images
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Victoria Azarenka was a little rusty on serve but still had too much quality for Romina Oprandi in the second round of the Qatar Open.

The world No. 1 sent down two double faults in the first set and was broken early in the match, but she gradually worked her way into the contest - her first outing since winning the Australian Open.

Azarenka has Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams breathing down her neck for the world No. 1 ranking. She arrived in Doha speaking positively about keeping her position at the top of the game and went through the gears in the second set.

Her serving improved as the contest went on, she was almost 90% in terms of first serves in during the second set, and she sealed the 6-2 6-3 win in a shade over an hour and a quarter.

Christina McHale took out the 17th seed Lucie Safarova 6-4 6-2 and her reward is a meeting with Azarenka in round three.

Caroline Wozniacki remains an active threat in the competition thanks to a 7-6(7) 6-0 triumph over Sorana Cirstea. The tiebreaker proved the tipping point for Wozniacki, who raced through the second set against her downhearted rival.

Sam Stosur also advanced, although she was far from comfortable in a 6-4 1-6 6-3 victory over Monica Niculescu. The eighth seed was on court for nearly two hours.

Nadia Petrova battled back from a set down to beat Su-wei Hsieh 3-6 6-2 6-4, while Klara Zakopalova beat Sloane Stephens in a third set tiebreak.

Sara Errani is a potential fourth-round opponent for Azarenka and she limbered up with a 6-4 6-0 win over Timea Babos.

The No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska produced another solid display, taking out Anastasia Rodionova 6-3 6-2, and her reward is a third-round clash with Ana Ivanovic who cruised past Simona Halep for the loss of three games.

Elsewhere there were wins for Daniela Hantuchova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Petra Kvitova and Urszula Radwanska.

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