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Azarenka through in Brisbane

Victoria Azarenka got her new season under way with a convincing victory over Casey Dellacqua in Brisbane on New Year's Day.

The world number two and reigning Australian Open champion eased to a 6-3 6-1 victory on the Pat Rafter Arena.

Home hope Dellacqua was only playing thanks to a wild card from tournament organisers but she was outclassed by her Belarusian foe.

A single brerak of serve was enough for Azarenka to claim the first set and from there she raced into a 5-0 lead in the second. Victory was clinched soon after, with the match clock on just 67 minutes come the final point.

In the day's other women's match, Angelique Kerber was close to victory at 6-2 4-3 up against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova when her opponent retired due to a thigh injury.

Maria Sharapova also benefitted from a withdrawal as Ashleigh Barty could not take to the court because of a stomach problem, with the same fate striking Sabine Lisicki, with the Wimbledon finalist pulling out sick. Stefanie Voegele subsequently progressed to the last eight and will now face Azarenka.