Published: Mon, May 08, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Grudge match: Sharapova to play Bouchard in Madrid

Grudge match: Sharapova to play Bouchard in Madrid

Fifth seed Garbine Muguruza was dumped out of the Madrid Open in miserable fashion on Sunday, going down 6-1 6-3 to Timea Bacsinszky just three weeks before the start of her French Open defence.

Sharapova, the 2014 victor in Madrid, had 16 winners and only 10 unforced errors in her opening-round victory, her fourth since a controversial return to tennis.

"My goal here is to play as many matches as I can", said Sharapova, 30, whose immediate return after her ban has gone down badly with some of her fellow players.

Opening her campaign with a win over Roberta Vinci, the Russian progressed to the semi-final, in which she lost to Kristina Mladenovic in three sets. The Russian also displayed a lot of fighting skills when she came back from being a set down to take the opening round match against Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 yesterday. But it's very important, once I step on the court, no matter who is on the other side, to focus on the tennis.

"I mean, look, I would love to be in a position to compete in that event", she said on Sunday.

With the tide now turned back in her favour, Sharapova began to rediscover the form that catapulted her into the semifinals of her comeback tournament at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix a week ago and wasted no time in getting the early break before pressing home the commanding advantage.

Sharapova was coy in her response to the Canadian's comments: "I don't have anything to say".

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"I hope I can play Maria... inside myself, I think I'll have a bit more motivation".

She arrived this year with more wins in Madrid than anyone else in the draw-19 of them-and with 11 clay titles to her name.

If Sharapova's three-set match proved a stern examination, Caroline Wozniacki faced an even tougher test before finally booking her place in round two. "All the things that hopefully I can improve from today's match and take it against her". "I don't know how to explain it", said Sharapova.

"When you're out of the game for a long time, you just want to play as many games as possible".

"I was just so happy to be back out here, to have the opportunity to play against a really tough opponent and come out and be a victor in three sets. If everything affects you on and off the court, I think that would be a really challenging position to be in", Sport24 quoted Sharapova as saying.

Meanwhile, world No. 2 Angelique Kerber eased into round two with a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win over Hungary's Timea Babos.

No. 8-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova needed just 72 minutes to dismiss Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-4, 6-3, setting up a round of 32 meeting with American Alison Riske. She takes the match 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

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