Sharapova starts with easy win


AUCKLAND – Top seed Maria Sharapova cruised through her first round match in the Auckland Classic women’s tennis tournament Monday disposing of Italian qualifier Alberta Brianti in straight sets. Sharapova was seldom troubled as she won 6-2, 6-3 in less than 90 minutes on court with Brianti putting up her bravest showing in the second set when she saved four match points.
“This was my first match of the year and I hadn’t played a tournament in a while, so it was important to get a feel for everything,” the victorious Russian said.
“I thought I could have closed it out a bit sooner, but she definitely pushed me and I guess I wanted to play a few more games.” Former world number one Sharapova will now meet unseeded Czech Renata Voracova, who beat Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-0.