Wozniacki, Clijsters win openers

Caroline Wozniacki celebrates defeating Anastasia Rodionova during their women's singles match at...

Caroline Wozniacki celebrates defeating Anastasia Rodionova during their women's singles match at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne)

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, Last Updated: 11:48 AM ET

MELBOURNE - World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and defending champion and former top-ranked star Kim Clijsters were among Monday's first-round victors at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the year.

The popular Danish star Wozniacki waltzed past Russian-born Aussie Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 6-1, while the 11th-seeded four-time major champion Clijsters posted her eighth straight victory at Melbourne Park with a 7-5, 6-1 decision against little-known Portuguese Maria Joao Koehler.

Wozniacki injured her left wrist in a quarterfinal match in Sydney last week, but appeared to be fine on Monday.

"I got a bit nervous about my wrist in Sydney, but I am happy I could play full-out tonight," Wozniacki said.

Clijsters, who topped Chinese Li Na in last year's finale to capture her first-ever Aussie title, said Monday's victory wasn't as easy as it looked.

"It was hard to really get a good rhythm out there," Clijsters said. "I did feel like I was seeing the ball probably not always as good as I would like to."

Up next for Wozniacki will be Georgian Anna Tatishvili, while Clijsters will meet France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon in the second round on Wednesday.

Third-seeded Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, fresh off her title in Sydney, made quick work of Britain's Heather Watson, earning a 6-1, 6-0 straight- set victory at Rod Laver Arena, while a fifth-seeded Li doused Russian Ksenia Pervak 6-3, 6-1 at Hisense Arena. Azarenka's second-round opponent will be Aussie Casey Dellacqua, while the French Open champion Li, who lost to Azarenka in last week's Sydney finale, will battle Australia's Olivia Rogowska on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, eight-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska had a slightly rougher go in her first match, posting a hard-fought 6-7 (10-12), 6-4, 6-2 win over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while 10th-seeded Italian Francesca Schiavone earned an easy 6-1, 6-3 victory over Spaniard Laura Pous-Tio and 13th-seeded former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic dismantled Brit Laura Robson 6-2, 6-0. Schiavone was the 2010 French Open champ and last year's Roland Garros runner-up to Li. The Serbian Jankovic is a former U.S. Open runner-up champ.

China's Peng Shuai, seeded 16th, notched a 6-3, 6-4 win against France's Aravane Rezai, while some mild upsets saw Russia's Nina Bratchikova take down 19th-seeded Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 and American teenager Christina McHale beat 24th-seeded Czech Lucie Safarova 6-2, 6-4.

In other action involving seeds, No. 20 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia squeezed past American Varvara Lepchenko 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; No. 22 German Julia Goerges downed Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-3, 7-6 (7-3); No. 26 Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues recorded a 6-3, 6-3 win over Czech Eva Birnerova; Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva took out 28th-seeded Belgian Yanina Wickmayer; No. 31 Romanian Monica Niculescu came back to best France's Alize Cornet 5-7, 6-0, 6-3; and No. 32 Czech Petra Cetkovska overcame Japan's Ayumi Morita 3-6, 6-1, 7-5. Wickmayer was a runner-up in Hobart last week.

Several other women posted first-round wins, including the aforementioned Dellacqua, Czech Iveta Benesova, New Zealand's Marina Erakovic, Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, and Greek Eleni Daniilidou, who dismissed 41-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 6-2. Date-Krumm was the oldest player in either singles draw here.

The first round will wrap up on Tuesday with 32 more women's matches, including ones for second-seeded Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, fourth-seeded former Aussie titlist Maria Sharapova, sixth-seeded U.S. Open champ and heavy Aussie crowd favourite Samantha Stosur, and 12th-seeded five-time Melbourne champion Serena Williams. Kvitova will face Russian Vera Dushevina, while the three-time Grand Slam winner and 2011 Wimbledon runner-up Sharapova will meet Argentine Gisela Dulko, Stosur will be opposed by Romanian Sorana Cirstea, and the 13-time major titlist Williams will open up against dangerous Austrian Tamira Paszek.

Also on the Day 2 schedule will be 18th-seeded two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and 21st-seeded former world No. 1 and 2008 Aussie runner-up Ana Ivanovic.


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