Sharapova, Kvitova through in Montreal

Published by Matt Trollope

Maria Sharapova got off to a winning start at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal; Getty Images
Maria Sharapova returns on Tuesday to win a rain-delayed first-round match at Montreal’s Coupe Rogers, while Petra Kvitova seals a spot in the last 16.

Maria Sharapova won her first match in more than two months at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal on Tuesday.

In a rain-affected match held over from Monday night, Sharapova returned with a 4-1 lead and resumed her dominance, beating qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva 6-1 6-2 to reach the second round.

Eighth seed Petra Kvitova went a step further, defeating Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-4 to seal a spot in the last 16.

She was joined there by German 10th seed Julia Goerges, who won her second straight three-set match with a 2-6 6-4 6-3 truimph over qualifier Lucie Safarova, a former world No.5.

Meanwhile, seventh seed Garbine Muguruza withdrew from the tournament, still suffering from the arm injury that forced her withdrawal from San Jose.

Sharapova had not tasted victory since beating Karolina Pliskova in the third around at Roland Garros on 2 June.

She missed a shot at Serena Williams in the fourth round when the American withdrew from the tournament before getting crushed by Muguruza in a lopsided quarterfinal.

Sharapova did not play a grass-court tune-up event before Wimbledon – she withdrew from Birmingham – and once at the All England Club she blew a set and 5-2 lead to crash out to qualifier

She hadn’t played since, until Tuesday.

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“I was aggressive, I served well throughout the match. I think I did everything a little bit better, especially towards the end of the match,” Sharapova said.

“I haven’t played in a few weeks. No matter what tournament or who you’re playing against, you have to figure things out as you go. I think I did a good job of that today.

“I would have loved to finish last night to get a break today, but that’s not how things work. You have to adjust. I think I did a good job of finishing the job today.”

Sharapova, who is verging on a return to the world’s top 20, faces a potential second-round meeting with 12th seed Daria Kasatkina, who faces Maria Sakkari – a finalist in San Jose last week – in her first match.

Kvitova, like Sharapova, was making her first appearance on court since a shock first-round loss at Wimbledon.

The Czech had lost to Kontaveit the last time they met in the third round of the French Open, but turned the tables on Tuesday with victory in less than 90 minutes.

Kvitova, a champion in Montreal six years ago, could face compatriot Karolina Pliskova should the ninth seed beat Kiki Bertens.

“Overall, was a great match for me. I’m pretty happy with my transition from grass to hard court,” Kvitova said.

“We play always pretty tough matches. I lost to her in Roland Garros. It was a nice revenge today. I’m happy with my performance. I think from the beginning of the match I felt good on the court. I really enjoyed the stadium, which I do have the best memories in Montreal. It was great to be back and play.”

In other results, 43rd-ranked Brit Johanna Konta beat 11th seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-7(6) 6-1 6-2 while qualifier Carla Suarez Navarro got the better of No.16 seed Naomi Osaka.

Konta is a former world No.4, while Suarez Navarro was once ranked as high as No.6.

Seeds Elise Mertens (14) and Ashleigh Barty (15) moved on to the second round, with Mertens swatting aside former top-five star Eugenie Bouchard 6-2 6-4 in Bouchard’s home town.

Barty held on to beat Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3 1-6 7-5.

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