|Maria Sharapova serves to Alexandra Cadantu during the French Open in Paris on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. (Regis Duvignau/Reuters)
PARIS - Three-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova and reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova posted first-round victories Tuesday at the 2012 French Open.
The second-seeded Sharapova dropped only 18 points in a 6-0, 6-0 double- bagel pasting of Romania's Alexandra Cadantu, while the fourth-seeded Kvitova also had little trouble in a 6-1, 6-2 thumping of Australia's Ashleigh Barty.
"No matter how good or bad they're playing, you still have to win that match," Sharapova said after destroying the helpless Cadantu. "It's always about who takes their chances."
And Kvitova may have whipped Barty, but liked what she saw in the Aussie's game.
"She has a big serve with kicks and good forehand," Kvitova said. "She has very good touch."
Sharapova needs only a title at Roland Garros to complete a career Grand Slam. The Russian star has won each of the other three major championships once and last year reached the semifinals in Paris for the second time in nine visits.
"I feel like with every year I have improved and I enjoy it much more," Sharapova said. "I think I learn a lot more about the game and the point construction. I feel like I'm moving a lot better than I did years previously, which has helped me a lot in the recovery process within the point."
Kvitova denied Sharapova a second Wimbledon crown in last year's finale at the All England Club for her first career Grand Slam title and is trying to better her fourth-round result from last year in Paris.
Sharapova's second-round opponent will be Japan's Ayumi Morita, while Kvitova will encounter Poland's Urszula Radwanska.
Also winning on Tuesday was former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone. Seeded 14th this year after winning the title in 2010 and finishing as runner-up to Li Na last year, Schiavone eased past 41-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 6-1.
In other action involving seeds, No. 22 Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova topped Hungarian Greta Arn 6-4, 6-4, No. 23 Estonian Kaia Kanepi dismissed Russian Alexandra Panova, 6-3, 6-3, and No. 25 German Julia Goerges got past Czech Lucie Hradecka 7-6 (7-1), 6-4.
Several other women notched opening-round wins, including the aforementioned Morita and Radwanska, Czech Klara Zakopalova, and Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova. Radwanska is the younger sister of world No. 3 star Agnieszka Radwanska.