Sharapova hopes to stay on winning path at Sony

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Third-seeded Maria Sharapova is hoping she can keep her winning ways intact from the BNP Paribas Open last week to the Sony Open this week.

Sharapova, who won her second BNP Paribas title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday, isn't scheduled to play until Friday at the Sony Open.

All the seeded players in the men's and women's draw receive a first-round bye.

Only two players in WTA history have won back-to-back Indian Wells and Key Biscayne titles: Steffi Graf in 1994 and 1996, and Kim Clijsters in 2005.

"These tournaments are always really tough because they're close together," Sharapova said. "As soon as you're done with the first one (Indian Wells) you're onto the next one and you're here. I'm looking forward to trying to take it a step further (here) this year."

Sharapova came close to achieving the back-to-back victories in 2006, winning the Indian Wells tournament and reaching the final at Key Biscayne.

Overall, she's been in four Sony Open finals, including last year when she lost to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.

The fourth-seeded Radwanska won three titles last year and 10 overall in her career. She's never successfully defended a title, but she's hoping the Sony Open could be the first time she achieves the feat.

"It's always great to be back at a place where you have great memories and had great matches," said Radwanska, who reached her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon last year.

"There's always pressure and a lot of points to defend. But every week the top players feel a lot of pressure."

There were 10 main draw women's matches played on Tuesday. Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan beat Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa 6-2, 6-0.

Two former top 10 players — Flavia Pennetta of Italy and Andrea Petkovic of Germany — were in action. Pennetta won her first-round match 6-4, 6-1 over Johanna Larsson of Sweden. Petkovic, playing in only her second tournament of the year following a knee injury at the Hopman Cup in January, defeated Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 6-3, 6-1.


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