Sharapova to meet Halep
Maria Sharapova advanced to the third round of the China Open after a 6-4 4-6 6-1 win over Ekaterina Makarova
The former world No.1, in just her 15th match since her comeback in April, is yet to hit top gear in Beijing but her renowned battling qualities helped her prevail against her compatriot.
"There are certain moments of the match where you have to think a little bit more as it's not coming as naturally as maybe it did in the past," admitted Sharapova after her latest three-set workout. "That takes time, but to be able to get through them physically and do the right thing when it matters is all I can ask from myself."
The crowd favourite will now take on Simona Halep in a mouth-watering last sixteen clash on Wednesday. The Romanian, who lost to Sharapova in a high quality first round clash at the US Open in August, reached the third round after her opponent, Magdalena Rybarikova, retired ill in the early stages of the second set.
Halep may have failed to register a victory against Sharapova in seven previous attempts, but she is looking forward to their latest duel. “It's just another big challenge, nothing special,” remarked the No.2 seed. “I played her many times, was close many times. Now it's a new day and we'll see. Maybe I can win. I really want to do it, so tomorrow I will give everything.”
Elsewhere on the grounds, Petra Kvitova was a 6-4 6-4 winner over Vvarara Lepchenko and Karolina Pliskova recorded the same scoreline against Andrea Petkovic. Coco Vandeweghe’s faint hopes of qualifying for Singapore are over, though, after she was forced to retire in her match with Daria Gavrilova.