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By Ajay Tyagi
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Of the four seeds in action on Day 1 of the LA Women's Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife, only Flavia Pennetta, the finalist here last year too, could advance to round 2. All other seeds lost in straight sets. Maria Sharapova, who has been in and out of action of late, too proceeded further.
Number 10 seed Pennetta ousted lucky loser Varvara Lepchenko to book her berth in round 2 of the tournament. The Italian took three sets to send Lepchenko packing. She lost the second set but bounced back to wrap up the third set winning the match 6-2 5-7 6-0.
Barring Pennetta, no other seed could proceed further as Virgine Razzano, Kaia Kanepi and Francesca Schiavone, all lost in straight sets to their opponents. Anna Chakvetadze made short work of Razzano winning 7-6(5) 6-3 while number 15 seed Kanepi surrendered to Lucie Safarova 6-3 7-6(4). Qualifier Jill Craybas caused an upset when she overwhelmed number 16 seed Schiavone 7-6(7) 6-2.
Maria Sharapova blanked Jarmila Groth 6-0 in the first set only to falter and go 1-3 down in the second. The Russian bombshell, however, brought herself back into the game to win the second set 6-4.
Talking about her opponent, Sharapova said, “She was swinging away all through the match and a lot of them started to go in, but she couldn't consistently do it. Playing all of these tournaments is a great benefit for me. This is my sixth tournament back and this is going to be a process on things I want to improve and work on in my game. It has been a good ride so far."
Alona Bondarenko, Elena Vesnina, Peng Shuai, Alisa Kleybanova, Yanina Wickmayer, Shahar Peer, Ai Sugiyama and wildcards Vania King and Coco Vandeweghe too recorded victories on day 1 of the Premier level tournament.
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