PARIS - Three former women's grand slam champions and a young British hope reached the French Open second round Tuesday as Rafael Nadal, seeking a record seventh men's crown, prepared to make his entrance.
Maria Sharapova whipped Romania's Alexandra Cadantu 6-0, 6-0 in just 48 minutes as the Russian second seed, seeking to lift the only major she has never won, cruised towards a meeting with Japan's Ayumi Morita for a place in the last 32.
Morita defeated Polona Hercog of Slovenia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Clad in black and seeking her third claycourt title of the season, Sharapova was no match for a 74th-ranked rival facing a top ten opponent for the first time in a career which stalled in 2008 amid financial problems.
On Tuesday, the outclassed Romanian failed to hit a single winner.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the fourth-seeded Czech, thrashed Australia's Ashleigh Barty 6-1, 6-2 in 54 minutes to join Sharapova in the next round where she meets either Urszula Radwanska of Poland or Pauline Parmentier of France.
Also marching on was 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, seeded 14, who defeated Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 6-1.
Schiavone, 31 and last year's beaten finalist, advanced to a meeting with either Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium or Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria after ousting Date-Krumm - a decade her elder, who could not stay the pace after breaking serve in the opening game on a sparsely-populated but sunny Philippe Chatrier show court.
Guernsey-born Briton Heather Watson, who managed to reach the second round on her debut last year, thereby entering the top 100, got off to a flier against Russian Elena Vesnina, romping through her opening set before staying her ground to win 6-2, 6-4 to earn a match-up against Germany's 25th seed Julia Goerges.
Watson said she has grown immensely as a player since a first nervous second round showing here last season and feels happy on the clay, despite her hardcourt tennis upbringing in Florida.
"I absolutely love the courts - they really suit my game. I enjoy playing long points," said Watson, who added she had been working hard on the power and accuracy of her serve.
"I've got nothing to lose," she added of facing Georges, who broke into the world top 20 last season and who made round three here 12 months ago.
Nadal was later going up against Italian journeyman Simone Bolelli while British fourth seed Andy Murray was starting his campaign against Japan's Tatsuma Ito.
An early men's winner Tuesday was Spanish sixth seed David Ferrer, who dismissed Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.
Ferrer, a potential quarter-final rival for Murray, will next meet either Albert Ramos of Spain or France's Benoit Paire.
Elsewhere in the women's tournament, Sharapova's potential quarter-final rival and 2002 champion Serena Williams, the fifth seed, was tackling France's Virginie Razzano.