INDIAN WELLS, California, March 9 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur, relying on a strong serve, eased into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open with a commanding 6-3 6-4 victory over American teenager Madison Keys on Saturday.
Australian Stosur, seeded seventh in the elite WTA event at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, broke her opponent's serve once in each set to win the first match of the day on the showpiece Stadium Court after an hour-and-a-quarter.
In bright desert sunshine, Stosur sealed victory on her first match point when wildcard Keys netted a forehand from the baseline and will next meet China's Peng Shuai, a 6-0 4-6 6-3 winner over Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru.
"I'm happy with the way I played," Stosur, who won her only grand slam singles title at the 2011 U.S. Open, told reporters. "I thought I served very well.
"As soon as I put a little bit of pressure on her early on in her service game ... I really took a bit of a stranglehold on the match."
Stosur was lavish in her praise of the 18-year-old American, who reached her first WTA quarter-final in Sydney earlier this year.
"She's got a big game," the Australian world number nine said of Keys. "Her forehand is massive and she's got a very big serve. She's just got to put all the pieces together.
"She's only 18. I think she's got a lot of potential. She has those big weapons that win these big matches."
In other matches at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Saturday, fourth-seeded German Angelique Kerber swept past Romania's Irina Begu 6-3 6-2 while Belgian Yanina Wickmayer beat Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 3-6 6-3 6-2.
Australian Open champion and top seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus was scheduled to begin her title defence against Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova later in the day. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Gene Cherry and Nick Mulvenney)