Smooth progress for Henin in Miami

Justine Henin made a confident start to her Sony Ericsson Open challenge with a straight-sets win over Angelique Kerber on Friday.

Justine Henin made a confident start to her Sony Ericsson Open challenge with a straight-sets win over Angelique Kerber on Friday.

The top-seeded Belgian, one of 32 players to receive a first-round bye at the event, outclassed her German opponent on her way to a 6-4 6-2 victory.

This is Henin’s first tournament since her surprising loss to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone in the quarter-finals of Dubai last month.

The 25-year-old, who has already claimed titles in Sydney and Antwerp this season, will face either Maria Kirilenko and Sara Errani in the third round.

Defending champion Serena Williams also eased through with a 6-1 6-2 victory over unseeded Romanian Edina Gallovits.

The eighth-seeded American, who beat Henin in last year’s final, needed just 54 minutes to overcome Gallovits and set up a meeting with either Flavia Pennetta or Anastasia Rodionova.

Third-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova was made to work hard for her place in the third round though, eventually defeating Yung-Jan Chan 6-1 3-6 6-0.

Israel’s Shahar Peer, the number 16 seed, posted a 7-6 (8/6) 6-3 win against Nathalie Dechy in their second round meeting, but other seeded players were not so lucky.

Fifteenth seed Agnes Szavay was beaten 6-2 4-6 6-1 by Elena Vesnina while 21st seed Alona Bondarenko fell to a 7-6 (9/7) 1-6 6-3 defeat against Kaia Kanepi.

Virginie Razzano was another early casualty with the 23rd-seeded Frenchwoman suffering a 6-4 6-4 loss to Ashley Harkleroad and Marina Erakovic battled past Michaella Krajicek, the number 30 seed, 6-2 3-6 6-2.

Slovenia’s Katarina Srebotnik ran out a convincing 6-2 6-2 second-round winner over Paraguayan qualifier Rossana De Los Rios.

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