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Serena Williams of the US, in action during her singles match against Dria Gavrilova of Russia, at the Qatar Open 2013 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex Doha yesterday. Williams won 6-2, 6-1.
BY RIZWAN REHMAT
DOHA: Grand Slam star Serena Williams of the US yesterday inched closer to reclaiming the top ranking after handing out a tennis lesson to young Daria Gavrilova of Russia on day two of the Qatar Open.
Serena, who needs two more wins to dethrone Victoria Azarenka from the top ranking, won 6-2, 6-1 in just 54 minutes.
Also yesterday, third seed Maria Sharapova of Russia was just at ease in dispatching Caroline Garcia of France in straight sets. Sharapova, chasing her third title win in Doha, won 6-3, 6-2 in 76 minutes.
In an earlier match yesterday, 9th seed Marion Bartoli of France beat Francesca Schiavone of Italy to set up a clash against two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. Bartoli won 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in exactly two hours of struggle.
It was the 28-year-old’s first win over Schiavone in six matches on the Tour.
In the first match of the day on the centre court, 11th seed Nadia Petrova of Russia wasted little time in crushing Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic to reach round two.
Petrova, a two-time champion of the Qatar Open trophy, fired six aces to post a 6-2, 6-3 win in one hour and 17 minutes.
However, the easiest of outing belonged to Serena, making her debut at the event.
“Yes, I am very happy to be out here. She’s a good player. I know her very well. She’s done well at the junior level,” Serena said after the rout.
“I feel really good. I played a real tough girl. I think it was a real good match,” the 31-year-old added.
The 15-time Grand Slam champion provided ample proof of her liking at the Khalifa Tennis Complex surface by breaking the 18-year-old opponent twice in the first set - in games six and eight.
Serving powerfully and returning with precision on Gavrilova’s weak first serves, the American broke the Russian in games two and four to race to a 5-0 lead.
After a slight hiccup in game six, Serena wrapped up the match in game seven when the Russian hit a return long.
Sharapova, winner in Doha in 2005 and 2008, broke Garcia three times in the first set and then once in the second to wrap up the match in a little over an hour’s time. The Russian fired five aces in her victory.
The four-time Grand Slam champion said she was pleased with her first-round result.
“As the tournament goes on, there are some things I’d like to improve and just be a little more consistent and quicker,” Sharapova said when asked about her performance.
Bartoli, who prevailed in a tight tiebreaker in the first set against Schiavone, termed her first-round match a ‘battle’. “The first set was extremely tough,” Bartoli said after her straight-sets win. “I think we went 7-6 in the first for an hour and 20 minutes, which is extremely long for just one set,” she added.
“It was a hard battle. I knew coming from indoor clay court I wouldn’t play my best tennis for the first 30 minutes. She played also played really well at the beginning of the match ... all credit to her,” Bartoli said
“But I felt I fought really hard on the court. I didn’t show any frustration. I just kept trying and trying, and I think overall we had some great rallies. It was quite an entertaining match and I had a lot of pressure to play it,” she said.
In another match, 17th seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic eased past Eleni Danilidou of Greece. Safarova, 26, fired four aces as she won 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 24 minutes.