Updated: March 22, 2014 12:02:02 pm
Serena Williams capitalised on a critical double-fault by Yaroslava Shvedova to survive a 69-minute first set and win her opening match at the Sony Open 7-6 (7), 6-2 on Thursday. The top-ranked Williams seeks a record seventh Key Biscayne title, and her second in a row. No. 4-seeded Maria Sharapova, a five-time runner-up in the tournament, joined Williams in the third round by beating Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-4. Seeded players had first-round byes.
The 600 club
In men’s play, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt became the third active man to win 600 matches when he rallied past Robin Haase 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. The 33-year-old Hewitt also staged a comeback. With the victory, he joined Roger Federer (942 wins) and Rafael Nadal (675) in reaching the 600 match milestone.
In other women’s play, No. 5-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany won her opening match, beating Peng Shuai of China 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (5). Kerber, a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist, matched her best showing at Key Biscayne by reaching the third round. Ana Ivanovic beat American Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-1, and No. 8 Petra Kvitova defeated Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea 6-3, 6-4. Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2006 champion, lost to Croatian qualifier Donna Vekic 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Friday’s stadium court schedule features the winners of 34 Grand Slam titles in five matches. The parade of champions will include Federer, Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams, Andy Murray and Li Na playing their opening matches.
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