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Tennis

Sharapova powers into French Open last 16

Maria Sharapova is seeking a third French Open title.
Maria Sharapova is seeking a third French Open title. Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Maria Sharapova swept into the last 16 at Roland Garros with a 6-2 6-1 annihilation of the sixth seed Karolina Pliskova. Sharapova wrapped up the win in 59 minutes.

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The severity of the scoreline belied their world rankings. While Sharapova has slipped down the lists due to injuries and an 18 month ban for doping, Pliskova has – with a fearsome serve - become one of the forces on the women’s tour.

But Sharapova – playing on the centre court for the first time in three years – rolled back the clock to pulverize the hapless Czech.

"I knew I had to play well against a tough opponent,” said the Russian. “The return of serve was a big part of getting in the point and not giving her too many free points and giving her confidence from the baseline after that.

“I thought I did a really good job of being aggressive on the return and I was solid. I played smart. I think I did the right things, I was aggressive on the break points, I went for it.”

Sharapova is seeking her third French Open crown after wins in 2012 and 2014. She will play Serena Williams or Julia Goerges for a place in the last eight.

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