Shara­pova takes re­venge on Sev­as­tova in Bei­jing

Stabroek News Sunday - - STABROEK SPORTS -

(Reuters) - For­mer world num­ber one Maria Shara­pova avenged her U.S. Open loss to Anas­tasija Sev­as­tova with a 7-6(3) 5-7 7-6(7) vic­tory over the Lat­vian in the China Open first round on Satur­day.

The 30-year-old Rus­sian, re­turn­ing to court for the first time since her fourth-round exit at Flush­ing Mead­ows, came back from a break down three times be­fore clinch­ing the first set 7-3 in the tiebreak.

De­spite drop­ping her serve in the open­ing game of the sec­ond, Sev­as­tova, seeded 16th, ral­lied back to force a de­cider.

Shara­pova, who had never lost a third-set tiebreak, needed a brave fore­hand win­ner at 6-5 be­fore seal­ing a sec­ond-round spot in just over three hours.

She will take on the win­ner be­tween Amer­i­can qual­i­fier Jen­nifer Brady and Eka­te­rina Makarova of Rus­sia in the sec­ond round.

Ear­lier in the day, sec­ond seed Si­mona Halep snapped her three-match los­ing streak with a hard­fought 6-3 3-6 6-2 win over Amer­i­can Ali­son Riske.

The Ro­ma­nian, who had not won a match since her de­feat in the Cincin­nati fi­nal to Gar­bine Mugu­ruza, over­came a sloppy start be­fore claim­ing 12 of the fi­nal 14 points to set up a sec­ond round clash against Mag­dalena Ry­barikova or Eu­ge­nie Bouchard.

Ger­many’s An­gelique Ker­ber be­gan her cam­paign with a 6-2 7-5 win over Ja­panese teenager Naomi Osaka.

Ker­ber, the for­mer world num­ber one, came back from a break down to win five con­sec­u­tive games in the sec­ond set to seal a sec­ond-round spot.

Twice Wim­ble­don cham­pion Pe­tra Kvi­tova, seeded 12th, pro­duced an im­pres­sive ar­ray of pow­er­ful ground­strokes to beat fel­low Czech left-han­der Kristyna Pliskova 6-3 7-5 in the open­ing round. Maria Shara­pova

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