Maria Sharapova (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova’s continues her competitive comeback as she meets Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens in the WTA Paris quarter-finals.
Sharapova made short work indeed of Daniela Hantuchova in the second round, having run away with the first eight games of the match and hit 10 aces in the process.
"I had a tough first opponent who can play extremely good tennis," Sharapova said. "I wanted to start the match off well. It was extremely important to put that pressure on her from the beginning. I think I did that really well today."
Coming to Paris after her loss to Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova in the fourth round, Sharapova is still settling back into the tour after taking an extended time-put for her shoulder to recover.
Flipkens broke the Top 20 for the first time last year with her best results coming during the grass season, but she had an injury strewn US summer. After a decent start to the season with a semi-final in Auckland and the quarter-finals in Hobart, it was perhaps an earlier than expected bounce out of the Australian Open for the Belgian, losing in the second round to Casey Dellacqua.
The Belgian will have an uphill task trying to stem the tide of her head-to-head against Sharapova, 0-3. She likes to come to the net, and has a decent slice backhand to mix things up, rather than just relying on out-powering her opponents. But Sharapova has worked hard on her own movement and on balance possesses more than enough weapons to match Flipkens around the court.
Sharapova and Flipkens are scheduled on Court Central not before 3:30pm (2:30pm GMT).