|Vera Zvonareva serves to Elena Vesnina during the Madrid Open May 2, 2011. (ANDREA COMAS/Reuters)
MADRID, SPAIN - Second-seeded Vera Zvonareva, surging Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova were second-round winners Monday at the $4.5 million Madrid Open.
The U.S. Open and Wimbledon runner-up Zvonareva was bageled in the first set before charging back to beat fellow Russian Elena Vesnina 0-6, 6-3, 6-3.
The fourth-seeded Azarenka dismantled Swedish qualifier Sofia Arvidsson 6-1, 6-1, while an eighth-seeded Sharapova outlasted fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 on the red clay at the Magic Box. Azarenka has now won 12 of her last 13 matches, including titles in Miami and Marbella.
A second-round upset came when Spain's Arantxa Parra Santonja knocked out 13th-seeded German Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 7-6 (7-5). Parra Santonja should have her hands full with Azarenka in her next outing.
In first-round action involving seeds, No. 6 Li Na of China handled Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) and Russian Alisa Kleybanova toppled No. 9 Israeli Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-2. Li was the Australian Open runner- up in January.
Former world No. 1 Dinara Safina, who captured this event in 2009, came back to defeat Spain's Nuria Llagostera Vives 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the second round.
Additional opening-round wins came for Czech Iveta Benesova, Italian Roberta Vinci and Czech Lucie Safarova. Vinci, fresh off her title in Barcelona, bested Belarusian qualifier Olga Govortsova 6-4, 6-0, while Safarova drove out wild card and last week's Estoril titlist Anabel Medina Garrigues, of Spain, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-3) on Day 3 in Madrid.
The 2011 Madrid winner will pocket $920,000.