WTA Tour

Maria cruises into quarters

Maria Sharapova (AFP)
Maria Sharapova (AFP)

Paris - Russian top seed Maria Sharapova has dished out a 6-0, 6-1 defeat to Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova in the second round to cruise into the WTA Paris Open quarter-finals on Wednesday.

A shock fourth-round loser at the season-opening Grand Slam the Australian Open in Melbourne earlier this month Sharapova regained the winning thread at the Stade Coubertin, serving 10 aces with just two double faults.

Sharapova's Melbourne campaign was just her second event since a shoulder injury ended the 26-year-old world number five's 2013 season in August, a setback which also ruled her out of the US Open.

However, Sharapova, the 2012 French Open champion, said that her early exit from the Australian Open -- beaten by Hantuchova's compatriot Dominika Cibulkova who went on to lose in the final to China's Li Na -- had had its positive side to it with regard to the indoor tournament.

"It's quite an adjustment coming here," she said.

"I lost quite early in Australia, so it gave me a little bit more time to get ready for this event, to catch up on jet lag and get through that.

"I've had some good practices on centre court here. It's a pretty small venue so you want to get as much centre court time as you can, and just take it a step at a time and focus on each match.

"I like playing on all types of different surfaces though, and a smaller venue is a bit more intimate too. I have enjoyed playing on these types of courts in the past."

Hantuchova had a disastrous start, picking up just one point in the first two games, then none in the fourth and fifth games to trail 5-0 after a mere 15 minutes.

She failed to convert her first three set points, clinching it on the fourth attempt to claim the opening set after 25 minutes.

It was more of the same in the second set with Sharapova racing to a 2-0 lead before, after 39 minutes play and to the delight of the crowd Hantuchova claimed her one and only game.

"I had a tough first opponent who can play extremely good tennis," said Sharapova, who was taken to three sets by Hantuchova in the 2011 Stanford WTA tournament the last time they played each other.

"I wanted to start the match off well. It was extremely important to put that pressure on her from the beginning.

"I think I did that really well today."

Sharapova next faces the winner of the second round clash between Austria's Yvonne Meusburger and Kirsten Flipkens, the eighth-seeded Belgian who knocked out defending champion Mona Barthel in three sets in the first round.

Results from the third day of the WTA Paris Open on Wednesday (x denotes seeding):

Second round:
Maria Sharapova (RUS x1) bt Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 6-0, 6-1
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) bt Carla Suarez (ESP) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

First round:
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL x8) bt Mona Barthel (GER) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Elina Svitolina (UKR) bt Roberta Vinci (ITA x6) 6-3, 0-6, 7-5
Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) bt Stefanie Vgele (SUI) 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3)

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NSW Waratahs 10
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England 219
Pakistan 326 & 137/8 (44 ov)
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England 219
Pakistan 326 & 137/8 (44 ov)
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