Following Serena Williams’ staggering upset in the second round of the French Open on Wednesday afternoon, many believed that the wacky results would continue to roll on throughout the day, as Maria Sharapova was forced to battle through a tough first set to defeat Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5, 6-2 to reach the third round in Paris. Sharapova dropped an early break in the set and was eventually down 4-2 before she recovered at 4-4. She would later find a break of her own and close out the set 7-5. Sharapova once again commit more unforced errors than winner (27 to 22) but ultimately produced a strong enough performance to extend her streak against Pironkova to 5-0.
“I started off quite cold, wasn’t moving my feet enough and just didn’t have a good rhythm,” Sharapova said. “Once I got the break back, I started feeling much better about my game, and I was able to hold that until the end of the match.
“You have to follow your path and concentrate on your work and who’s ahead of you and not get worried about what’s going on. Obviously when you go on court you’re aware of a lot of the upsets, not just among the women, but with the men as well. So it’s great to get a win in that type of atmosphere.”
- Sharapova is 14-1 so far this season on clay. Her only loss came to Ana Ivanovic in Rome.
Argnetina’s Paula Ormaechea began her week in Paris with a first round win over Italy’s Oprandi before arriving at the third round with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Romania’s Monica Niculescu. The world No. 75 reached the third round at Roland Garros last season as well, where she lost to Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
This is the first time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, and will likely be a contest that Sharapova dominates thoroughly. She will likely have new life breathed into her after Williams’ shocking exit on Wednesday, which will motivate her to produce a deep run in Paris.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Straight Sets