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Saturday March 10, 2012

Swift Indian Wells progress for Dulko, Larsson and Falcone as opponents retire

INDIAN WELLS: Gisela Dulko, Joh­anna Larsson and Irina Falconi all advanced to the second round of the Indian Wells WTA tournament in speedy fashion on Thursday when their opponents retired hurt.

Argentina’s Dulko, a quarter-finalist here in 2004 and 2006, breezed through the opening round after winning just one game before Australian Jelena Dokic pulled out with a right wrist injury.       

Dulko will next face Russian world number two and 2006 champion Maria Sharapova, who was handed a first-round bye as the second seed.

Swede Larsson advanced when Hungarian qualifier Greta Arn withdrew due to a neck injury while trailing 4-1 and American wild card Falconi moved past Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru, who retired hurt at 4-6, 5-2 because of a right knee injury.       

Larsson will next meet 15th-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic while Falconi, one of 10 players competing in the main draw here for the first time, takes on US Open champion Sam Stosur of Australia, the sixth seed.       Russian Ekaterina Makarova, having recovered from a wrist injury since her surprise quarter-final run at the Australian Open in January, lost serve just once on the way to a 6-2, 6-3 win over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.       

Makarova’s reward is a second-round encounter with defending champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.       

In other matches on Thursday, South African Chanelle Scheepers brushed aside Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson 6-3, 6-3 while Spaniard Silvia Soler Espinosa scraped past Italy’s Alberta Brianti 6-3, 1-6, 7-6. — Agencies       

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