MADRID (AP) -- Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova won first-round matches in straight sets Sunday on the new blue clay court at the Madrid Open.
Azarenka beat Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-6 (5), 6-4, and second-seeded Sharapova defeated Irina-Camelia Begu 6-0, 6-3. Azarenka, the Australian Open champion, was runner-up in this tournament last year. The Belarus star has won four titles this year.
Azarenka and Kuznetsova players traded breaks in the opening set. Just when it seemed the second set was going to another tiebreaker, Azarenka broke again to close the match. She will play Andrea Hlavackova or Anastasia Rodionova in the next round.
Sharapova stormed to an early lead, winning the first seven games. After Begu saved a match point the Romanian had a double break chance, but Sharapova saved both points to hold serve. She will play Klara Zakopalova in the second round.
In the men's first round, Nicolay Davydenko beat Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (4), 6-3 and will next face second-seeded Rafael Nadal. Kevin Anderson eliminated Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-3, 6-2.
Two seeded women lost: Roberta Vinci defeated No. 14 Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-2, and American Varvara Lepchenko upset No. 11 Francesca Schiavone 6-4, (8) 6-7, 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska eased past Lara Arruabarrena-Veci 6-3, 6-1, and sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki defeated Ksenia Pervak 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-4.
Angelique Kerber, seeded 12th, beat Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-4 and will next meet Venus Williams. No. 13 Ana Ivanovic stopped Mathilde Johansson 6-4, 6-1.
Other winners included Shahar Peer, Nadia Petrova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and local favorites Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Anabel Medina Garrigues.