Tokyo, Japan (Sports Network) - Americans Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens
were among the winners Sunday on the first day of play at the Pan Pacific
Williams cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Germany's Mona Barthel in just 64
minutes and, because of her unseeded status, will have to play top-seeded
Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka, who had a first-round bye,
has lost each of her two matches against the seven-time Grand Slam champion,
but the two haven't met since the Dubai final in 2010.
The top seed in Tokyo would have been Venus' sister Serena, but the world No.
1 withdrew last week, citing fatigue.
Stephens, seeded ninth this week, eased past Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele,
Other seeded winners Sunday were Samantha Stosur, Kirsten Flipkens, Sorana
Cirstea and Dominika Cibulkova.
The 12th-seeded Stosur rallied for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 triumph over France's Alize
Cornet, while the 14th-seeded Flipkens battled past Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
of the Czech Republic, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5. Cirstea, the 15th seed, topped German
Julia Goerges, 6-4, 6-4, and the 16th-seeded Cibulkova dumped Poland's Urszula
Radwanska, 6-3, 6-3.
Two-time Grand Slam champ Svetlana Kuznetsova was an unseeded winner, thumping
Argentina's Paula Ormaechea, 6-1, 6-2. Next up for the Russian veteran will be
third-seeded Sara Errani.
Four other unseeded winners Sunday were Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine, Lucie
Safarova of the Czech Republic, Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor and
Switzerland's Belinda Bencic.
The first round will conclude on Monday, while second-round play also begins
with matches for fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber, seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova
and eighth-seeded Roberta Vinci.
The Sports Network