Azarenka, Stosur advance

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REUTERS

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus serves to Dinah Pfizenmaier of Germany.

Paris – Victoria Azarenka and Samantha Stosur moved closer to a potential quarter-final showdown at the French Open on Wednesday with both coasting to straight sets wins as the second round got underway.

Top-seeded Azarenka from Belarus defeated German qualifier Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-1, 6-1 while Australian sixth seed Stosur saw off Irina Falconi of the United States 6-1, 6-4.

It was a very different showing from the world No 1 compared to her first round struggle when she stared defeat in the face at a set and 4-0 down against Italy's Alberta Brianti before clawing her way back to win.

Up against a player who was making her Grand Slam debut at Roland Garros, Azarenka needed just 55 minutes to move through, allowing her opponent to dig her own grave with 29 unforced errors.

Azarenka won the Australian Open in January and is seeking to become the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the first two Grand Slam tournaments of the year.

Stosur was the runner-up here in 2010 when she was upset in the final by Francesca Schiavone of Italy, going on last year to defeat Serena Williams in the final of the US Open for her first Grand Slam title.

In two rounds so far at Roland Garros this year she has dropped just nine games and she looked very comfortable against Falconi, ranked 112 in the world, who reached the second round for the first time.

Other early qualifiers for the third round were 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia who beat Vania King of the United States 6-0, 6-2 and Italian 21st seed Sara Errani who ousted America's Melanie Oudin 6-2, 6-3.

One seed to fall, however was 31st seed Zheng Jie of China who went down 6-2, 6-4 to Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada.

Playing later in the day was Venus Williams, unseeded due to a long spell on the sidelines with an energy-sapping illness last year.

The 31-year-old American will be out to keep the family flag flying following the shock defeat of younger sister Serena late Tuesday at the hands of Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano. – Sapa-AFP


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