Madrid Open: Sharapova survives opener, Kerber through as well

World number two edges past Dulgheru with a 7-5, 6-2 win.


Afp May 06, 2013
The stakes are high for Sharapova in Spain as she could regain the world number one spot from Serena Williams if the results go her way. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID: Maria Sharapova survived a sticky start to move into the second round of the WTA Madrid Open yesterday with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania.

The Russian, who won the French Open on clay last year, brought a 16-match winning streak on the surface into Madrid and was strongly favoured to coast past a player who has been dogged by knee injuries.

But she struggled at times in the first set before finding her range in the second.

Sharapova believed it had all been about adjusting to the dirt surface and the particular demands of playing in Madrid.

“I feel like in the last week I’ve really had to adjust to the different circumstances and the environment a bit,” said Sharapova.

“When I got here it was really cold and the ball and the court were really heavy. A few days have passed and it’s like a completely different tournament.

“For me, it’s just been about adjusting when you play indoors for over a week and you get back here and see the sun for the first time. It’s a bit of an adjustment.



“The altitude was a factor as well. So I think there are a lot of things that come into playing when you’re playing here.”

The stakes are high for Sharapova in Spain as she could regain the world number one spot from Serena Williams if the results go her way.

Williams won through in straight sets on Sunday and the two could face off in the championship match at the end of the week.

If Sharapova and Williams safely won through to the second round, the same could not be said of some of the other seeds.

Other plays in action

Both Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and China’s Li Na crashed out on Sunday and Monday saw the end for Australia’s Samantha Stosur as she lost 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 to home hope Carla Suarez Navarro.

In other matches, sixth-seeded German Angelique Kerber came safely through with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Alize Cornet of France, while former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, seeded third, was scheduled to play later against Pavlyuchenkova.

In early action in the men’s tournament, Japan’s 14th seed Kei Nishikori was too good for Jurgen Melzer of Austria winning at a canter 6-3, 6-2.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2013.

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