Saturday, May 31, 2014

FRENCH OPEN 2014: Sharapova acknowledges she's the favourite

Maria Sharapova and Sam Stosur where in ruthless form on Friday as they both posted wins to set-up a fourth round blockbuster against each other, while Serena Williams conqueror Garbine Muguruza continued her dream run with victory over Anna Schmiedlova.

Sharapova hit three double faults to open her match on Philippe Chatrier before she was saved by the rain. When she returned to the court 40 minutes later, the Russian saved a break point before going on a rampage, beating Argentinean Paula Ormachea 6-0, 6-0 in 51 minutes.

The No7 seed won 54 points to just 17 for Ormachea.

With the top three seeds out of the draw, Sharapova was questioned whether she considers herself the favourite for the title.

The 2012 champion said: “If I don't have the mentality that I'm the favourite inside of myself going into a tournament like this, then I probably shouldn't be in the draw. I like to be positive yet realistic, and there is no reason why I shouldn't be the favourite at this tournament."

Meanwhile, 2010 runner-up and N019 seed Stosur gave in a solid performance to oust Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-4.

Stosur started the match striking the ball brilliantly and a big forehand winner gave her two break points in the opening game. A poorly-struck drop shot from Cibulkova handed the break to the Australian, who took eight of the first nine points of the match to go up 2-0.

The petite Slovakian struck back two games later though as she found her range, forcing the backhand error from Stosur following a long rally to get a break point. And Cibulkova broke with a massive forehand winner to draw level at 2-2.

Stosur inched ahead again breaking after a lengthy fifth game with an inside out forehand winner that clipped the sideline. The No19 seed kept pressuring Cibulkova’s serve but it was the one break that gave Stosur the set.

The second set was like a tug of war, with both players digging deep to save break points and remain on serve but again it was the powerful Stosur who broke the deadlock and got the win.

The Australian hadn’t reached the fourth round at a major since the 2012 US Open and was happy to finally make a Grand Slam second week.

“Very happy (to make the fourth round), I think it's the first time I won three matches in a row for a while, too. Yeah, it's all good. I'm really happy with the way I played today,” said the former US Open champion.

Later in the day, 20-year-old Muguruza took out Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-4 to match her best previous result at a major (2014 Australian Open) by making the fourth round.

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