Azarenka and Sharapova Kick Off China Open With Victories

Victoria Azarenka, back in action after withdrawing from last week's Toray Pan Pacific Open due to dizziness, took a little over an hour to defeat her fellow countrywoman Alizé Cornet 6-1, 6-0 at the China Open
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Goldberg
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Both world number one-ranked Victoria Azarenka and number two-ranked Maria Sharapova were first round winners at the 2012 China Open on Monday. Azarenka, back in action after withdrawing from last week's Toray Pan Pacific Open due to dizziness, took a little over an hour to defeat her fellow countrywoman Alizé Cornet 6-1, 6-0. Sharapova needed nearly two hours to defeat Romanian Simona Halep, 7-5, 7-5. Tenth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki needed nearly three hours in her opening round match in Beijing to defeat Chanelle Scheepers in three sets, 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-2. Also advancing to the second round were Sabine Lisicki, Sorana Cirstea, and qualifiers Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino and Polona Hercog.

"I hadn't really been practicing at all. I knew when I went out there I wouldn't be playing perfectly," Azarenka said. "I was just trying to find my rhythm, feel the atmosphere and go for my shots, and I think I responded pretty well after dropping that game. I bounced back really well. Everything worked for me."

Sharapova said, "Certainly the score line was quite difficult, but I was up in those two sets and let her get back into it. I put myself in a position in both sets, going up a break, and it wasn't the best thing to let her back in—but the good thing was I regained my focus and won that match, no matter how well she was playing and coming back. At the end of the day I'm happy I won in two sets."