MONTREAL: Maria Sharapova fired 25 winners past hapless Russian compatriot Daria Kasatkina in a 6-0, 6-2 victory at the Montreal WTA event, 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 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.
“I knew I had a tough match ahead of me. I was focused from the beginning and I finished it that way.”
Kasatkina, 21, managed just three winners in the match.
Sharapova next faces French sixth seed Caroline Garcia for a place in the quarter-finals.
World number four Kerber, playing for the first time since defeating Serena Williams in last month’s Wimbledon final, slumped to a 6-4, 6-1 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 court 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 Karolina Pliskova suffered a 6-2, 6-2 defeat at the hands of Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
Fifth seed and defending champion Elina Svitolina went through to the third round after in-form Romanian opponent Mihaela Buzarnescu was forced to retire with an ankle injury.
Svitolina was leading 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 4-3 when the weekend San Jose champion turned her ankle and was forced to leave the court in a wheelchair and in floods of tears.
US Open champion and third seed Sloane Stephens also made the third round by seeing off home hope Francoise Abanda 6-0, 6-2.
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily