London - World No.1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus dropped a set before beating Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu to move into the second round of the women’s tennis singles event at the Olympics here Monday.
Begu dominated in the second set, but that seemed to stir Azarenka from her lethargy as she crushed the 79th-ranked Romanian in the decider to win 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.
She faces another lowly opponent in the second round in the shape of 90th-ranked Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, who made up 28 ranking places to upset Slovenia’s Polona Hercog 6-2, 6-4 earlier Monday.
Kirilenko was leading 6-0, 1-1 when her Colombian opponent Mariana Duque-Marino withdrew. Her second round opponent will be either Britain’s Heather Watson or Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa.
Petrova scraped past China’s Jie Zheng with a 6-4, 7-6(7) win and will now play Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili.
“I had to really fight for every single point but I’m pleased with my result,” she said.
With Petrova and Kirilenko teaming up for a doubles match against a Kazakhstan pair, Petrova said she was “quite exhausted” but hoped Kirilenko would be fresh after she “didn’t waste so much energy” in her shortened match.