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Williams, Sharapova win opening games

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

MADRID - Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova eased through their Madrid openers yesterday but Novak Djokovic withdrew with the right wrist injury which could compromise his French Open dream.

World No.1 Williams began the defence of her Madrid Open title with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win over Swiss 17-year-old Belinda Bencic while Sharapova was equally untroubled in a 6-1 6-2 victory over Czech Klara Koukalova.

Djokovic, the world No.2 who had been targeting Rafael Nadal's No.1 ranking, was forced to pull out after failing to recover from his ongoing wrist injury.

The six-time grand slam champion suffered the injury in losing to Roger Federer in the semi-final of the Monte Carlo Masters a fortnight ago.

"I am sorry for the tournament and the Spanish fans that I have to pull out of the Madrid Open," said the Serb star, the 2011 champion in the Spanish capital, in a statement.

The injury also means that Djokovic is facing a race against time to be fully fit for the French Open, the only major he has yet to win, which gets under way in three weeks' time.

Williams, a 17-time grand slam winner, was playing for the first time since suffering a shock defeat to Jana Cepelova in Charleston over a month ago.

But she showed no sign of rustiness to set up a second round meeting with China's Peng Shuai.

With Swiss compatriot Martina Hingis watching from the stands, Bencic made a bright start and had two break points to lead 2-1 in the first set.

However she was then unable to cope with Williams' powerful groundstrokes as the American raced through the rest of the first set.

Such was her dominance that Williams even racked up 21 consecutive points at one stage on Sunday.

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