Arvidsson Ousts Rezai, Sharapova Hangs On

Sofia Arvidsson beat the defending champ. Maria Sharapova overcame a first set blowout to win.

Published May 01, 2011 12:00

Arvidsson Ousts Rezai, Sharapova Hangs On
Sofia Arvidsson

MADRID, Spain - The top seeds all won their first round matches at the Mutua Madrid Open but the defending champion wasn't so lucky. Aravane Rezai, who was five spots out of the seedings this year, was dethroned by Sofia Arvidsson in a tough three-setter over on Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario court.

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Rezai, who beat Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams en route to her biggest career title here last year, couldn't conjure up the same magic as she squandered a one break lead in the third set of a 63 36 64 loss to the Swedish qualifier, who had also won the pair's only previous meeting six years ago at an ITF Women's Circuit tournament, also in three sets.

"Aravane is a good player and it's a great win for me," Arvidsson said. "I know she can be up and down and when she led in the third set I just tried to hang in there and stay aggressive. When she's in control it's tough, so I tried to be the one who took the first hit. I served well and was strong in the end."

Next up for Arvidsson is No.4 seed Victoria Azarenka, who won her first round match against Vera Dushevina on Saturday, 60 60. "My next opponent hasn't lost a game so far in the tournament, so it'll be a really tough one," Arvidsson added. "It'll be a good match. She's a Top 10 player so no pressure on me."

Coincidentally, the only time Azarenka and Arvidsson have played before came at the very same ITF event Arvidsson beat Rezai at, in Petange in 2005. Two rounds later, Azarenka edged Arvidsson in a tight two-setter, 75 76(5).

The five highest seeds in action all won, led by No.1 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who defeated Ayumi Morita in 68 minutes, 62 63. No.3 seed Francesca Schiavone won a two-hour-plus duel with Peng Shuai, 75 76(2); No.7 seed Jelena Jankovic crushed Laura Pous-Tio in 56 minutes, 62 60; No.11 seed Marion Bartoli cruised past Simona Halep, 64 61; and No.8 seed Maria Sharapova rebounded from a rough first set to beat Arantxa Rus, 26 63 62.

"Arantxa started off the match really well, really aggressive. I was the tentative one," Sharapova said. "Playing my first match on clay in a while and against a lefty, it was tough - I had the same situation last year and lost the match."

The first round wraps up and the second round begins on Monday.

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