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Sharapova sets up meeting with Stosur at French Open

27 May 2015, 18:54

Paris - Maria Sharapova will get an early test in her bid for a third French Open title.

The defending champion, who has been battling a cold, limited her mistakes to just eight unforced errors as she beat Russian Fed Cup teammate Vitalia Diatchenko 6-3, 6-1 on Wednesday.

Also read: Nadal gets bid for 10th French Open off to flying start

Sharapova advanced to a third-round match against 2010 French Open finalist Samantha Stosur. The Australian swept to a 6-0, 6-1 victory over French wild card entry Amandine Hesse.

The rout extended Stosur's winning streak to seven matches after she arrived in Paris on the back of her first title this year in Strasbourg.

In men's play, second-seeded Roger Federer made light work of Marcel Granollers, winning 6-2, 7-6 (1), 6-3, while 2014 Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 defeat of Dusan Lajovic. No. 12 seed Gilles Simon eased past Martin Klizan, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.

"Playing Maria is always a big challenge for me," Stosur said. "No matter what surface it's on, I don't have a very good record at all."

The 26th-seeded Stosur has not beaten Sharapova since a match on hard court in Tokyo three years ago, with Sharapova boasting a 14-2 career record against the Australian veteran. But Stosur can take confidence from their previous match on the Parisian clay in the fourth round last year, when she led 6-3, 4-3 before Sharapova won the next nine games.

"It's one of those matches that's a tough matchup, but I know I've got the game that can trouble her, and hopefully I can do it well and we will see what happens," Stosur said.

After reuniting last month with former coach David Taylor, Stosur is hitting form at the right time. Before Strasbourg, where the 2011 U.S. Open champion won a seventh career title, Stosur had won back-to-back matches just once in 10 tournaments.

She said her good spell of form is mainly due to her renewed partnership with Taylor.

"I think going back with Dave, that's given me confidence," Stosur said. "That's probably a contribution, and then playing on a surface that I feel good on. Been able to get over a couple of injuries again. It all I guess makes for a better kind of couple of weeks."

Sharapova's main focus at the moment is to fully recover from her cold after winning the Italian Open.

"For me right now it's really about recovery and just being healthy for the next round," said Sharapova, who is bidding to become the first player to retain her title in Paris since Justine Henin in 2007. She also won in 2012.

"Fortunately I played a lot of tennis in the previous two tournaments and this is not a stage where you're trying to fix things or work on things. It's really about maintenance and recovery and getting ready for the next match," she said.

Among other seeded women to advance were No. 13 Lucie Safarova and No. 20 Sabine Lisicki

- AP


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