Kvitova off to winning start in Madrid


Czech Petra Kvitova kick-started her title defence at the Madrid Masters on Monday with a 6-2, 6-3 defeat of New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic. The third-seeded Wimbledon champion, who defeated Victoria Azarenka in straight sets to lift the 2011 trophy, went through into the second round in 67 minutes, firing five acres and producing 28 winners. Erakovic, the number 39 who has lifted her game in recent months with a Memphis final and semi-final showing last week on clay in Budapest, was broken five times. American ninth seed Serena Williams, the former number one now seeded ninth, started out with a victory over Russian Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-1, the second Madrid win from four matches played for the veteran whose schedule has never been over-taxing. But the 30-year-old has picked up her pace in recent months, reaching a Miami quarter-final, winning the title in Charleston and travelling to the Ukraine for Fed Cup to insure London Olympics eligibility. Elsewhere, Czech Andrea Hlavackova out Australian Anastasia Rodionova 6-1, 6-4 while Lucie Hradecka beat China’s Peng Shuai 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. None of the women have yet voiced complaints about the new blue clay laid down at the Caja Magica, an issue which has some men led by Rafael Nadal up in arms and outraged at a change in tradition from the classic orange.