Maria Sharapova reached the last 16 of the French Open yesterday, but her display against Russian compatriot Alla Kudryavtseva was far from convincing.
Sharapova won easily enough in the end 6-1, 6-4, but she had to come back from 1-4 down in the second set after her suspect serve once again let her down
The 20-year-old second seed had two months on the sidelines to recover from a severe bout of tendonitis in her right shoulder that required a cortisone injection and only returned to action at the Istanbul Cup last week.
She says the injury is still bothering her and it showed at times in a wobbly second set in which her serve was broken three times by her opponent.
Sharapova broke back in the sixth game however and from there she re-discovered her timing and put the match away by winning five games in a row.
She next plays the experienced Patty Schnyder of Switzerland who struggled to beat Italian Karin Knapp 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
Meanwhile, two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo lost to Lucie Safarova 6-3, 7-6 (3).
"I was fighting for each point," Safarova, seeded 25th in Paris, said. "I never give up."
Mauresmo led 3-0 in each set. But she double-faulted for the eighth time to fall behind 2-0 in the tiebreaker, and a long backhand gave the Czech three match points.
Safarova won when Mauresmo returned her serve into the net.
At 4-3 in the first set, tournament doctor Bernard Montalvan came on center court to treat Mauresmo, who then left for several minutes to take a medical break. When she returned, the top of her right thigh was wrapped.
Mauresmo said that she was lacking fitness after having her appendix removed in March.
Also through to the last 16 in the bottom half of the draw were third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia who beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3 and rising Serb seventh seed Ana Ivanovic who defeated Romania's Raluca Olaru 6-2, 6-0.
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