Sharapova, Hantuchova through to Pacific Life Open third round

March 15th, 2008 - 2:14 pm ICT by admin  

Indian Wells (California), March 15 (DPA) Maria Sharapova and Daniela Hantuchova, the last two edition champions of the Pacific Life Open here, have shot off to storming starts, with ease victories in their respective second round matches. Fourth seed Sharapova, who is the 2006 winner here, has yet to lose a match this season. She crushed Stephanie Cohen-Aloro of France 6-1, 6-0 in 58 minutes Friday, while fifth seed Hantuchova was equally lethal against American Angela Haynes hammering her 6-1, 6-2.

Other seeds also went about their work in the second round without much trouble. Eight seed Dinara Safina defeated American Jill Craybas 7-6, 7-5 while Israeli Shahar Peer, seeded ninth, stopped Uzbek Akgul Amanmuradova 6-1, 6-4.

Tenth and 15th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Alona Bondarenko also advanced into the third round.

Sharapova, this season already had two titles under her belt, the Australian Open and Doha, before withdrawing from Dubai with a virus. Now fully fit after a short holiday, the Russian is keen to make another winning impression.

“I had a really good off-season with no injuries. I had no worries of hurting myself or feeling that I’m going to start the year injured,” said Sharapova.

“Last year was probably one of the toughest times in my career but I came back strongly.”

Hantuchova was delighted to return to the courts here, where she pocketed her two greatest tournament triumphs in 2002 and last year.

“This is the court for me,” proclaimed the fifth-seeded Slovak. “I wish I could play every match of the year on this court.

“I don’t know what it is. I guess it’s the bounce, which is not too slow, not too fast. It feels great to be playing out there.”

Hantuchova never faced a break point against her American opponent Friday, advancing to the third round in 66 minutes with five breaks of serve.

“I definitely feel like it’s my home out there. It feels like it’s the best court in the world for me. I was having a lot of fun, even though the conditions were tough,” she said.

She had earlier withdrawn from the Gulf events in Doha and Dubai due to respiratory illness.

Meanwhile, in the men’s section, American wildcard John Isner unleashed 16 aces to edge past Italian Simone Bolelli 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 in the first round, while Austrian Jurgen Melzer beat former world number one Marat Safin of Russia 7-6, 2-6, 6-2.

Two-time Grand Slam winner, Safin, won his only ATP match of the season in the first round of the Australian Open

Chile’s Nicolas Massu battled past Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 and American Sam Querrey, who won his maiden ATP title at last week’s Las Vegas Open, defeated Chile’s Luis Horna 7-5, 6-3 to set up a second-round encounter with twice champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia.

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