Azarenka, Bartoli cruise in Brisbane WTA first round


Posted at Jan 04 2009 10:37 PM | Updated as of Jan 05 2009 06:37 AM

BRISBANE, Australia – Second seeded Belarussian Victoria Azarenka and Marion Bartoli, the third seed from France, cruised into the second round of the Brisbane International with impressive straight-set wins.

Azarenka thrashed Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko 6-0, 6-2 and Bartoli was too strong for 16-year-old Australian wildcard Monica Wejnert, winning 6-1, 6-2 in 54 minutes.

Bartoli said later that playing a wildcard was a good way to start the tournament.

"It was not an easy match, she was playing really well and she obviously had nothing to lose," Bartoli, the world No.17, said.

"And she's really talented so I had to play a good match, a solid match, but I did and it was pretty good to start like that.

"It was her first match on the WTA tour and playing against me was not easy for her, and this being her home town, it was normal that she was nervous."

Azarenka will take on Australian-based Slovakian Jarmila Gajdosova in the second round after Gajdosova's surprise 6-4, 6-2 win over China's Peng Shuai.

Gajdosova, 21, has lived in Melbourne since she was 16 and is a scholarship holder with the Australian Institute of Sport.

She is to marry fellow Australian player Samuel Growth next month and has applied for citizenship, but it has still not been granted and she is listed by the WTA as Slovakian.

"As far as I know it's with the Minister for Immigration and it's up to him now to give me a passport," Gajdosova said.

"I would love to (be an Australian) - I've been waiting for two or three years... hopefully it will be in the next couple of months."

The world No.98 credits her good form to being injury free for the first time in over a year.

"I was able to play for about seven weeks straight -- I played 38 matches and lost two," Gajdosova said.

The only major upset came when Russia's Alisa Kleybanova downed sixth seeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi 6-1, 6-4. The players are six places apart on the WTA rankings, Kanepi at 27 and Kleybanova at 33.

In the day's only other result, Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria beat Romania's Monica Niculescu 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-4 in a match that lasted three hours and seven minutes.

Top seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia makes her first appearance on Monday when she takes on Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.