Madrid: Four-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova made light work of the Czech Republic's Klara Koukalova to ease into the second round of the Madrid Open 6-1, 6-2 yesterday.
Maria Sharapova after her win yesterday
Sharapova claimed her first title of the year in Stuttgart two weeks ago and continued her return to form after a difficult start to the year to seal victory in little over an hour.
Last year's finalist in Madrid will next face unseeded American Christina McHale in the second round.
It was a more difficult afternoon for fifth seed Petra Kvitova as she need a final set tie-break to overcome Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(7/4).
The former Wimbledon champion looked well on course for the second round after racing through the opening set, but was then broken four times in the second as the World No 27 levelled the match.
Both women were more stable on serve in the decider as it went to a tie-break after just one break apiece and Kvitova eventually had too much to set up a meeting with American Varvara Lepchenko.
Elsewhere, 11th seed Ana Ivanovic overcame Madison Keys in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), while Sloane Stephens, beat Monica Niculescu 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
Serena wins too
World No 1 Serena Williams began the defence of her Madrid Open title on Sunday with a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 win over Swiss 17-year-old Belinda Bencic.