Azarenka into 3rd round in Qatar; Stephens out

Azarenka into 3rd round in Qatar; Stephens out
February 13, 2013, 11:14 am
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Sloane Stephens of the U.S. returns the ball during her match against Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic on the Third day of the WTA Qatar Ladies Open in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)


DOHA, Qatar (AP) Fresh off winning a second consecutive Australian Open, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka breezed into the third round of the Qatar Open with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Romina Oprandi on Wednesday.

The defending champion was joined by fourth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Australian qualifier Anastasia Rodionova 6-3, 6-2. But American Sloane Stephens, who upset Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinals, lost to Klara Zakopalova 6-4, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).

Azarenka, who retains her top ranking if she reaches the final and Williams fails to reach the semifinals, had a nervous start. She was broken early and quickly fell behind 2-0. But Azarenka recovered, breaking the Swiss player three times to win the first set. Azarenka then took a 3-0 lead in the second set.