Maria Sharapova was successful in her first post-US Open match and avoided the seeds exodus on Monday to arrive in the third round of the Wuhan Open. The Russian will contest her next match against Timea Bacsinszky, whom she met just a couple of months ago in the second round of the Wimbledon Championships and leads 2-0 in the head-to-head series.
Sharapova was forced to rally back in her opening match against Svetlana Kuznetsova to defeat her fellow countrywoman 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. The reigning French open champion hit 20 unforced errors in the opening set but cleaned up her game in the second and third set to eventually close out the match.
“Svetlana is a very good player, a former Grand Slam champion, and we’ve had really tough matches in the past,” Sharapova said. “She was a very difficult first opponent for me, so I was happy with the way I played in the second and third sets. I wasn’t waiting for her to give me the match.
“I really stepped up after the first set, and that was really important.”
After working her way into the main draw with victories over Scheepers and Pliskova, Timea Bacsinszky reached opened up with a victory over Stefanie Voegele before upsetting US Open semi-finalist Ekatrina Makarova on Tuesday. It was a decisive 6-4, 6-1 victory and sets up an intriguing third round match against the five-time Grand Slam champion.
This is the third time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Sharapova leading the series 2-0. The former champion is in fine form as of late and will be keen on another quick contest come Wednesday afternoon.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova in Three Sets