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Tennis: Pennetta puts herself in Serena's path at Miami

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Italy's Flavia Pennetta booked herself a second round clash with World No. 1 Serena Williams at the WTA and ATP Masters Miami hardcourt event after a 6-4, 6-1 first-round victory Tuesday over Swede Johanna Larsson.

Pennetta, ranked 103rd, will meet Williams on Thursday in a second-round match at the $8.5 million event, which awarded byes to all 32 seeded players in both the men's and women's draws.

The third-round foe for Williams if she beats Pennetta will be either 31st seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium or Japan's Ayumi Morita, who outlasted Britain's Heather Watson 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Williams will try to become the first six-time winner at Miami in her first event since reaching the Dubai final to reclaim the top ranking while World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia tries to claim his fourth Miami crown.

Williams, a 15-time Grand Slam singles champion, won at Miami in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. The 31-year-old American, who also reached the final in 1999 and 2009, is the reigning US Open, Wimbledon and Olympic champion.

Defending champion and fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland will open against Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei, who downed Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 7-6 (17/15).

Chinese fifth seed Li Na learned she will open against Dutch rival Kiki Bertens, who won the first seven games before Georgia's Anna Tatishvili retired from their match.

China's Peng Shuai downed Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-2, and will face Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova in the second round.

France's Kristina Mladenovic defeated Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 7-5, 6-2, to book a second-round date with Slovakian 13th seed Dominika Cibulkova.

Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu edged New Zealand's Marina Erakovic 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 and will next face US 25th seed Varvara Lepchenko.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130319/tennis-pennetta-puts-herself-serenas-path-at-miami