|Victoria Azarenka of Belarus reacts during the women's singles 3rd round match against Elena Vesnina of Russia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, China, on Oct. 4, 2012. Azarenka won 2-0. (Xinhua/Kong Hui)
BEIJING, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Top two seeds Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, both bidding for their first title in Beijing, eased into the last eight in straight-set victories at the China Open here on Thursday.
Belarus world No. 1 Azarenka defeated qualifier Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-3, 6-3 to set up a quarter-final tie with Switzerland's Romina Oprandi, while Sharapova cruised past world No. 90 Polona Hercog of Slovenia 6-0, 6-2 in just one hour and a half.
Azarenka, who enter the last 16 without dropping a single set, dominated her third-round match as she broke four times in all to claim the victory. However, she felt that the match was much closer than the score suggested.
"I didn't expect her to be that aggressive, she was pretty successful. It was quite challenging," said Azarenka, who increase her record against Vesnina to 3-0 after the win.
Sharapova, who survived an early-exit scare with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-5 opening victory over Simona Halep of Romania, enjoyed a much easier encounter when she face Hercog as she was only broken once.
"I had a long first round, even though it was two sets, but today and yesterday was definitely a little bit quicker," said Sharapova.
"I played really well in the beginning and got a little tense in the second set, but I felt like I really needed that challenge.
"It's nice to be in the quarter-final stage of this tournament."
Sharapova will face her first real test of the Premier Mandatory event in the next round when she meets fifth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany, winner over former world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.