Maria Sharapova Sails to Fourth Round of French Open

Maria Sharapova easily handled the big serve of No. 6-seeded Karolina Pliskova, setting her up for a 6-2, 6-1 win Saturday to move closer to a possible French Open showdown against Serena Williams.

Sharapova has won two of her five Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and is now into the fourth round for the 12th time in 14 appearances at the clay-court major.

The 31-year-old Russian, who is seeded 28th after missing the French Open the past two years, will next play the winner of the third-rounder between 23-time major champion Williams and 11th-seeded Julia Goerges. Williams has won 19 of 21 head-to-head matchups against Sharapova, including the past 18 in a row.

Against Pliskova, Sharapova held an 18-5 edge in winners and broke the 2016 US Open runner-up in five of her seven service games. Pliskova has led the WTA in aces the past three seasons — and is No. 2 in that category this year — but managed only one on Saturday.

The match lasted just 59 minutes.

Third-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain lost her serve just once to Australian Samantha Stosur in a 6-0, 6-2 rout to reach the fourth round.

Muguruza, the 2016 champion at Roland Garros and three-time semifinalist here, faced no break points in winning the first set in 26 minutes.

Facing three break points in the fourth game of the second set, she served a double fault, allowing Stosur to level at 2-2. But she then rattled off the next four games for the match.

Muguruza next faces 39th-ranked Lesia Tsurenko, who upset 19th-seeded Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-4.

Sloane Stephens, the 10th seed, also is through to the fourth round for a fifth time in her seven visits to Roland Garros after beating Camila Giorgi of Italy 4-6, 6-1, 8-6.

Stephens, the US Open champion in 2017, next plays Anett Kontaveit, who advanced by beating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4).

Stephens failed to reach round four at Roland Garros in 2011, when she lost in the first round at her first French Open, and in 2016, when she lost in the third round, Espn reports.




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