Published September 26. 2012 4:00AM
Pan Pacific Open
Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka eased into the third round of the Pan Pacific Open with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Austria's Tamira Paszek on Tuesday in Tokyo.
Two-time champion Maria Sharapova had a tougher time subduing British qualifier Heather Watson 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4, while 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the fourth seed, lost to Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4.
Other winners included Grand Slam champions Li Na and Sam Stosur.
Azarenka played her first match since losing a thriller in the U.S. Open final to Serena Williams.
Next up will be Roberta Vinci of Italy, who beat qualifier Pauline Parmentier of France 6-3, 6-1.
Watson pushed Sharapova to three sets in their last match at the 2011 U.S. Open, and did it again by winning a marathon tiebreaker in the first set.
Sharapova's next opponent, Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, moved on when compatriot Klara Zakopalova was unable to play because of a left wrist injury.
Also advancing were Angelique Kerber of Germany, Sara Errani of Italy, Marion Bartoli of France and Nadia Petrova of Russia.
Albert Ramos of Spain hit 14 aces on his way to beating Austrian qualifier Julian Knowle 6-1, 6-4 in the first round at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Knowle, a doubles specialist, played his first singles match on tour since 2005.
Ramos will next face third-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan.
Matthew Ebden of Australia beat Russian wild card Philip Davydenko, the nephew of Nikolay Davydenko, 6-0, 7-6 (6-3), to line up a second-round match against No. 7 seed Julien Benneteau of France, who beat Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 7-6 (2), 6-3.
Former finalists Viktor Troicki of Serbia and Finland's Jarkko Nieminen each won first-round matches at Bangkok.
Troicki, the runner-up in 2009, beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-3, while Nieminen, who was a finalist two years ago, advanced when Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita retired with an ankle injury after dropping the first set 6-1.
Fifth-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain beat Tatsuma Ito of Japan 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.
Japanese qualifier Hiroki Moriya earned his first win on the tour this year when he beat Robin Haase of the Netherlands 2-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3, and Dudi Sela of Israel beat Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4.