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Rediff.com  » Sports » Rogers Cup: Sharapova advances; Raonic keeps Canadian party alive

Rogers Cup: Sharapova advances; Raonic keeps Canadian party alive

August 07, 2014 11:17 IST

Rogers Cup: Sharapova advances; Raonic keeps Canadian party alive

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Fourth seed Maria Sharapova rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 second-round win over Spain's Garbine Muguruza as order and power was restored to the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Wednesday.

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A day after the tournament was left without power and its star attraction when rising Canadian star and Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard suffered a shock opening-match loss, the event enjoyed a return to normalcy as the electricity was back on and Sharapova moved onto the third round.

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Image: Maria Sharapova of Russia
Photographs: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

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'Once you step on the court, you feel a little bit more from the crowd, the energy'

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"It's been a few weeks since I've been in that competitive atmosphere," said Sharapova, back in action for the first time since her fourth round loss at Wimbledon. "It's always quite different, no matter how much you train, you try to prepare for that.

"Once you step on the court, you feel a little bit more from the crowd, the energy. You get inspired by everything. But you're ultimately a bit rusty."

The French Open champion certainly was far from sharp in her return as the promising young Spaniard took advantage of several errors by the Russian to grab the opening set.

But Sharapova, a three-time winner this season, was able to convert on the big points to stay on track for a first ever title on the Canadian hard courts.

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Image: Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts
Photographs: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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'I didn't feel good, I made a lot of errors'

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"I didn't feel good, I made a lot of errors in the first set," said Sharapova. "When you're able to finish stronger than your start, that's always a positive because you give yourself an opportunity to keep playing in the tournament.

"When you're in that position, there's always another chance to work in another match to improve and get better."

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Image: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot
Photographs: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Tags: Sharapova

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Kerber had no trouble taming Garcia

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Sixth seeded German Angelique Kerber, who has four runner-up finishes this season, had no trouble taming Caroline Garcia easing past the Frenchwoman 6-4, 6-1.

Kerber has had a solid start to her North American hard court campaign after reaching the final in Stanford last week but has in four visits to Canada has never advanced past the third round.

Eleventh seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, the 2010 Canadian champion, thrashed Czech Klara Koukalova 6-1 6-2 while qualifier Heather Watson provided an early upset when the Briton shocked 10th seeded and Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova of Russia 6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5).

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Image: Angelique Kerber of Germany returns a shot to Caroline Garcia of France
Photographs: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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Raonic keeps Canadian party alive with nervy win

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It was last call at Canada's biggest tennis party on Wednesday until Milos Raonic delivered a nail-biting 4-6, 7-6, (2) 7-6 (4) second round win over American Jack Sock to keep home hopes alive at the Rogers Cup.

After two party-pooping days in Toronto and Montreal, where a WTA Tour event is being staged simultaneously, Raonic is the last Canadian standing in the two tournaments that had been hyped as a turning point for the sport in the Great White North.

With Raonic the toast of Toronto - sitting at a career high number six in the world rankings riding the momentum from a tournament win in Washington on Sunday - and Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, hailed as the new face of women's tennis and the belle of the ball in her native Montreal, the week was supposed to be a national tennis celebration.

But the celebration quickly turned into a funeral march with eight of the nine Canadians entered already shown the exit before Raonic had stepped onto centre court for his first match.

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Image: Milos Raonic of Canada celebrates
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Fans still reeling from Bouchard's shock exit

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With Tennis Canada officials, sponsors, television executives and fans still reeling from Bouchard's shock 6-0, 2-6 ,6-0 opening loss to American qualifier Shelby Rogers on Tuesday, a new wave of panic swept through the stadiums on Wednesday when Sock easily claimed the opening set from an unsteady Raonic.

The big-hitting Canadian, however, would not disappoint and displayed the steel, grit and heart Bouchard lacked to survive two nervy tie-breaks and leave tournament officials and fans happy.


Image: Eugenie Bouchard of Canada
Photographs: Adam Hunger/Reuters

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