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Tennis: Sharapova cruises through as Azarenka withdraws

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

On a day when rain left plenty of players waiting around Maria Sharapova didn't waste any time in a 6-2, 6-0 second-round victory over Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the Miami ATP Masters and WTA tournament.

Sharapova, seeded third even though her triumph at Indian Wells last weekend saw her jump from third to second in the world rankings, needed less than an hour to subdue the 19-year-old wild card.

Even a brief power outage that halted the match as the floodlights went out barely slowed her.

"It was a bigger surprise that it was all around the outer courts as well, not just the stadium," she said of the outage that plunged the court into darkness.

In the end however, it was just a small hurdle on a day when a three-hour rain delay had matches backing up.

"I was just trying to find a quiet corner where I could just rest and just wait it out," Sharapova said of her approach to the rain delay.

"I have been on the tour for many years and I have been part of a few delays ... you have to get out and just be ready, do a quick warmup, and be ready for the match."

Sharapova next faces Russian Elena Vesnina, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Croatian Donna Vekic.

Victoria Azarenka, the Australian Open champion who is seeded second, although she's dropped to No. 3 in the world rankings this week, withdrew before her scheduled second-round match against US wild card Madison Keys with a right ankle injury.

The injury had prompted Azarenka to pull out before her semi-final match last week at Indian Wells, but she had held out hope she'd be able to play in Miami.

"It was really obvious what the decision was couple days ago already," Azarenka said. "I just wanted to give my 100 percent possibility to play and today was my last test."

Azarenka, who like all Miami seeds received a first-round bye, is unbeaten on court this year, a 17-0 run that includes the Australian Open and a title in Doha.

But she has twice surrendered matches by walkover, the first in January at a Brisbane semi-final against Serena Williams with an infected right toe that resulted from a pedicure.

"I feel like I'm in a good tennis shape, not physical shape right now," said Azarenka. "Even though I didn't feel very good physically, I played well in Indian Wells and still won three matches pretty good."

Azarenka was replaced in the draw by lucky loser Lauren Davis, who made the most of her opportunity with a 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (9/7) victory over Keys.

Davis, 19, saved three match points in the deciding tiebreaker.

Ranked 81st, Davis admitted she never expected to even have the chance to play after watching Azarenka warm up in the morning.

"I'm so ecstatically happy," Davis said. "I came here this morning with like no hope left that I was going to get in, because I had seen Azarenka practicing and stuff, but I just hoped and I wished and I prayed that I would get in."

bb/gph

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130322/tennis-sharapova-cruises-through-azarenka-withdraws