Top seed and fan favorite Maria Sharapova overcame feisty first round challenger Alberta Brianti 6-2 6-3. Brianti was a lucky loser who found herself in the main draw after Carla Suarez Navarro withdrew. Nonetheless, she came out trying to hit shot for shot with Sharapova, playing like she had nothing to lose. While that did serve to push the top seed a bit more than expected, Sharapova just had too much firepower for Brianti.
Fellow Russian star Svetlana Kuznetsova powered her way through Sacha Jones of New Zealand 6-4 6-2. It’s not surprising to see some tight, close sets from Sharapova and Kuznetsova early, as they get their legs under them at the start of the year, having no tournament recent tournament match play. Sharapova’s Monterrey exhibition with Vera Zvonareva was not under the pressure of tournament conditions. Not escaping the first round, however, was Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm, whose year began with a 4-6 3-6 loss to wildcard Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Singles – First Round
(1) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (LL) Alberta Brianti (ITA) 62 63
(3) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. (WC) Sacha Jones (NZL) 64 62
(WC) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. (6) Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) 64 63
Peng Shuai (CHN) d. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 61 63
Anne Keothavong (GBR) d. Edina Gallovits (ROU) 67(4) 64 60
Renata Voracova (CZE) d. Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP) 46 76(8) 60