Stosur shocker as Sharapova moves on in Madrid
Sam Stosur was the major casualty on Monday at the Madrid Open, but Maria Sharapova's Roland Garros preparations will continue after she advanced to the second round.
Stosur, the 2010 French Open runner-up, had been expected to go deep into this week's competition at La Caja Majica, but she was stunned 7-6(7) 6-2 by Carla Suarez Navarro.
It was a dominant performance from Suarez Navarro, who created 14 break points in the contest - converting five. By contrast, Stosur fashioned less than half that number on her opponent's delivery in a largely one-sided encounter.
The first set saw three breaks apiece, although it was Suarez Navarro who had the chance to serve for the set at 5-4. Stosur managed to level to force the tiebreaker, but she was edged out before the Spaniard took control in the second.
Maria Sharapova has never reached the final of the Madrid Open, but she is into the second round this year thanks to a 7-5 6-2 win over Alexandra Dulgheru. Victory came in an hour and 36 minutes.
Sharapova is hoping to add to her 2012 success at Roland Garros in a couple of weeks' time, but she will need to improve if she is to overcome sterner tests than world No. 334 Dulgheru over the next few days.
The pair stayed on serve for the first six games of Monday's contest but Dulgheru was always an active threat and made her impact in game seven. Establishing two break points at 15-40 she converted the second to stun the Russian, only to then see Sharapova immediately hit back.
A tiebreaker appeared on the cards, but Sharapova broke again to snatch the set 7-5 before saving two break points in the opening game of the second. That laid the platform for the world No. 2 to press ahead, penetrating the Dulgheru delivery again for 3-1 before closing out the match in comfortable fashion.
World No. 1 and Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka came through a tough two-setter against newly-crowned Portugal Open champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, with the Belarusian winning 7-6(8) 7-6(3) in under two-and-a-quarter hours.
Elsewhere, sixth seed Angelique Kerber is already into the third round after she beat Alize Cornet of France 6-4 6-2. Kerber won comfortably despite conceding a higher number of break points than her rival.