Sports News:Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and former winner Maria Sharapova cruised into the third round of the Indian Wells WTA tournament with 6-2 6-0 victories on Saturday.
Denmark’s Wozniacki launched her title defense by demolishing Russian Ekaterina Makarova and Sharapova, the 2006 champion, crushed Argentina’s Gisela Dulko at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Former world number one Wozniacki took advantage of an error-strewn display by her left-handed opponent, cruising to victory in just over an hour on the showpiece stadium court.
Makarova, who reached her first grand slam quarter-final at the Australian Open in January, never once held serve as her match ended when she netted a backhand.
“I played pretty good out there,” fourth seed Wozniacki told reporters after ending the day session with her win. “It’s always pretty tough playing in your first match, and I actually felt comfortable.
“I don’t like to be out there for too long if I don’t have to. I like to play tennis and I love grinding it out, but if I have the opportunity to finish it off fast, I like that opportunity, as well.”
The 21-year-old said she was excited to be back at Indian Wells. “This is one of my favourite tournaments and I always feel at home here,” she added.
Wozniacki, who beat Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in last year’s final, will next face Swede Sofia Arvidsson, a 6-3 6-3 winner against Romanian Monica Niculescu.
Sharapova, one of six former champions in the field, broke Dulko three times in each set before ending the first match of the evening session with a crunching forehand down the line.
“I haven’t played a tournament in a few weeks and I was pretty eager to get out there tonight,” the 24-year-old Russian said after pumping her right fist in delight to celebrate the one-sided victory.
“Gisela is always tricky, because we’ve played a few times before and she’s beaten me at a major before. As a first round opponent, I just had to be really ready from the beginning against her.”
Second seed Sharapova, who has reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells four times, will take on Romania’s Simona Halep in the next round.