Maria Sharapova fired 25 winners past hapless Russian compatriot Daria Kasatkina in a 6-0, 6-2 victory at the rain-hit Montreal WTA event on Wednesday, but Angelique Kerber’s first match since capturing the Wimbledon title ended in a sobering defeat.
Sharapova needed just 66 minutes to see off 12th seeded Kasatkina in an impressive and timely display of big-hitting, with the US Open getting underway in just under three weeks’ time.
“I came on the court having a lot of respect for my opponent because she’s up and coming but has already established herself,” said the 31-year-old Sharapova, adding, “I knew I had a tough match ahead of me. I was focused from the beginning and I finished it that way”.
World number one Simona Halep will now play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second match on court central followed by a second-round match against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Venus Williams also had her second match of the tournament moved to Thursday. She beat world number 124 Caroline Dolehide in the first round but will have a tougher test against veteran Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
Sharapova next faces French sixth seed Caroline Garcia for a place in the quarter-finals.
Five-time major winner Sharapova leads the head-to-head against Garcia 4-1 but the French player won their only meeting in the last three years on clay in the Stuttg art in April.
World number four Kerber, playing for the first time since defeating Serena Williams in last month’s Wimbledon in last month’s Wimbledon final, slumped to a 4-6, 1-6 loss to Alize Cornet of France.
German left-hander Kerber committed 32 unforced errors against the 34th-ranked Cornet in her 85-minute second round exit.
Cornet, 28, goes on to face Ashleigh Barty of Australia in the third round. It was her second successive victory against Kerber having also triumphed on hard courts in Beijing last year.
“Barty, the Australian 15th seed, defeated Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 while recently-married Czech ninth seed Karoline Pliskova suffered a 6-2, 6-2 defeat at the hands of Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
From Online Sources