Sharapova, Wickmayer advance

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Top-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova and defending champion Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium were a pair of second-round winners Wednesday at the season-opening ASB Classic.

The former world No. 1 and three-time major champion Sharapova handled Czech Renata Voracova 6-3, 7-5, while the second-seeded Wickmayer rebounded from a dropped second set to defeat German qualifier Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

Wickmayer bested Italian Flavia Pennetta in last year's finale here.

Up next for Sharapova will be Hungarian Greta Arn, while Wickmayer will take on Romanian Simona Halep in the quarterfinals.

China's Peng Shuai rallied to stun third-seeded former top-five Russian star Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, while fourth-seeded German Julia Goerges avoided an upset by beating France's Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-4.

Meanwhile, Halep advanced when seventh-seeded Russian Elena Vesnina retired because of an illness while trailing 2-6, 6-4, 4-0; Arn knocked out eighth-seeded Swede Sofia Arvidsson 4-6, 7-5, 7-5; and British qualifier Heather Watson drove out ninth-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.

Wild card Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine was also a second-round winner, as she handled Brit Anne Keothavong 7-5, 6-3.

Thursday's other quarters will pit Goerges against Bondarenko and Watson versus Peng.

Auckland serves as a tuneup to the Australian Open, which will commence Jan. 17 in Melbourne.


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