Azarenka, Sharapova advance at Pan Pacific

TOKYO — Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka eased into the third round of the Pan Pacific Open with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Austria's Tamira Paszek on Tuesday.

Two-time champion Maria Sharapova had a tougher time subduing British qualifier Heather Watson 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4, while 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the fourth seed, lost to Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4.

Other winners included Grand Slam champions Li Na and Sam Stosur.

Azarenka played her first match since losing a thriller in the U.S. Open final to Serena Williams.

Next up will be Roberta Vinci of Italy, who beat qualifier Pauline Parmentier of France 6-3, 6-1.

Watson pushed Sharapova to three sets in their last match at the 2011 U.S. Open, and did it again by winning a marathon tiebreaker in the first set.

The second-seeded Sharapova, who won here in 2005 and 2009, took control of the third set when she broke Watson's serve for a 4-3 lead. She sealed the win when Watson sent a forehand return long.

Sharapova's next opponent, Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, moved on when compatriot Klara Zakopalova was unable to play because of a left wrist injury.

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