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Russia’s Sharapova clears second round of 2018 French Open with straight sets win

May 31, 19:54 UTC+3 PARIS

Last October, Sharapova won the 2017 WTA Tianjin Open in China

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© EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON

PARIS, May 31. /TASS/. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova cruised on Thursday into the third round of the 2018 French Open, the second Grand Slam tournament of the year with $45.7 million in prize money up for grabs.

Sharapova, seeded 28th, cleared the second round of the Roland-Garros tournament, held on May 21-June 10, with 7-5; 6-4 straight sets win over Donna Vekic from Croatia.

"There were definitely ups and downs," Sharapova said to the press, after the match, "Maybe that's a result of not knowing each other's games very well…," the official website of the Women Tennis Association (WTA) quoted Sharapova as saying to journalists after the match on Thursday.

"I think you always have to feel that you're improving and there are things that you're working on, because that will always make you better," Sharapova said. "There are a lot of things I feel I could have done better since the last two matches, and I hope I will have to."

The Russian tennis player, who is the 2012 and 2014 winner of the Roland Garros tournaments, will face in the next round 6-seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

"I don't expect extremely long rallies against an opponent like Pliskova," Sharapova said. "But sometimes it's not what it takes to win a match, and I think you have to kind of take care of your service games, and I have to serve better than I have been and take care of the return."

Sharapova is Russia’s most decorated tennis player having won a total of five Grand Slam tournaments, namely the Australian Open in 2008, the French Open in 2012 and 2014, Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006. She also clinched the silver in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and was the 2008 Federations Cup champion.

After the 15-month long suspension, imposed in 2016 for violating anti-doping regulations, Sharapova made her comeback to tennis in April 2017.

Last October, Sharapova won the 2017 WTA Tianjin Open in China and it was her first tournament to win since May 2015.

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