Serena and Sharapova through

The world No 1 did endure a few moments of concern, despite the dominant scoreline, as she was broken once and saved four more break points before sealing victory in just over an hour.

Third seed Maria Sharapova also advanced in Rome??when Jarmila Gajdosova retired with a shoulder injury while trailing??6-2 3-1.??

The Russian, who is targeting a third title in the tournament, said: “I was happy to hold my serve and look for the small opportunities on the return.

“That was my main focus today.”

In the first round matches, 10th seed Carla Suarez Navarro completed a 6-4 2-6 6-3 win over Mona Barthel, while 12th seed Lucie Safarova also progressed with a 7-6 6-7 6-4 victory against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.