World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka faced little difficulty in the second round of the Japan Open on Tuesday as she demolished Austria’s Tamira Paszek in straight sets.
The Belarusian won 6-1, 6-1 on the hard court in Tokyo, although Eastbourne champion Paszek did break her opponent in the first set.
The match was Azarenka’s first at the tournament after receiving a first-round bye due to her ranking status.
Azarenka now faces 14th seed Roberta Vinci in the third round after the Italian recorded a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 win over France’s Pauline Parmentier.
Elsewhere, eighth seed Sam Stosur had a tough time against former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, eventually winning 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 against the veteran, 32.
Stosur next plays Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, who routed China’s Jie Zheng 6-0, 6-3.
Russian world No. 2 Maria Sharapova was pushed to the limit as she beat Britain’s Heather Watson in a three-hour epic in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Sharapova won the Japan Open second-round tie 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-4 in a match that saw the Russian’s serve broken six times.
The Russian’s next opponent is Lucie Safarova, who reached the third-round with a walkover when her opponent Klara Zakopalova withdrew from the tournament.
World No. 5 Petra Kvitova suffered a surprise second-round exit, losing to world No. 73 Petra Martic in straight sets.
Kvitova went down 6-4, 6-4 to Martic in her first match of the tournament after the Czech received a first-round bye.
Martic will now play Russia’s Nadia Petrova in the third round after Petrova defeated Romania’s Simona Halep 7-6(4), 6-0.
Elsewhere, world No. 8 Li Na battled through a tough second-round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, eventually prevailing 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, and will now play either Caroline Wozniacki or Daniela Hantuchova.
World No. 10 Marion Bartoli moved into the third round with a win over Germany’s Julia Goerges, triumphing 6-2, 7-5, and will now face Sara Errani.
French Open finalist Errani secured her passage to the third round with a 6-3, 7-6(1) win over Johanna Larsson of Sweden.
World No. 15 Kaia Kanepi was knocked out 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 by unseeded American Jamie Hampton, just two days after the Estonian had played in the final of the Korea Open, losing to Wozniacki in Seoul.
Hampton’s next opponent will be either world No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska or former U.S. Open champion Jelena Jankovic, who play later Tuesday.
Radwanska’s younger sister Urszula reached the third round with a surprise 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win against Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic, a former French Open champion.
Her next opponent is Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who ended Japanese No. 1 Ayumi Morita’s run with a 6-3, 6-4 win.