Top seed Victoria Azarenka kicked off her Mutua Madrid Open campaign with a 7-6(5) 6-4 victory over claycourt specialist Svetlana Kuznetsova who entered the first round match with a 4-2 head-to-head record against the world No.1. Kuznetsova is a very intimidating opponent for an opener, but Azarenka, defeated only two times this season, took the first set in a tiebreak, then the players exchanged breaks in the beginning of the second set, and in the end Azarenka prevented another tiebreak by breaking Kuznetsova for the victory.
Fresh off her high-profile win on Stuttgart clay, second seed Maria Sharapova needed an hour and a minute to win her first encounter with Irina-Camelia Begu 6-0 6-3. It took Sharapova just 21 minutes to win the first set, while in the closer second set a break in the sixth game was enough for her to ensure victory.
Sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki is also through, but after more than three hours of battling against Ksenia Pervak. Final score: 7-6(7) 3-6 6-4. (photo: sr_cranks)