Mallorca (Spain): Top seed Angelique Kerber won the battle of current and former Wimbledon champions as she beat Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-3 in a heavyweight second-round clash at the Mallorca Open tennis tournament here Thursday.
Germany’s Kerber, who will arrive at Wimbledon as reigning champion, proved too solid for Sharapova as her comeback from yet more shoulder problems was cut short.
Kerber’s clay court season was hampered by an ankle injury and she bowed out in the first round of the French Open. But the 31-year-old left-hander looked sharp as she dominated Sharapova on the Santa Ponsa grass and sealed her spot in the last-eight.
“It was a good match and I felt good from the first point on the court,” Kerber, who now has four consecutive wins over Sharapova, told reporters. “I trusted my game today and just wanted to be aggressive.”
Sharapova, who returned to action this week ranked 85th after undergoing shoulder surgery in February, has spent a fortnight on the Mallorca lawns sharpening her game for her comeback but said her lack of match play showed.
“I made a few too many unforced errors,” said the 32-year-old Russian, who won Wimbledon in 2004. “I will certainly have tighten my game,” Sharapova added.
Despite having only two matches under her belt, Sharapova said it would not be ‘too smart for my shoulder’ to add another warm-up tournament to her schedule ahead of Wimbledon.
“These two matches were very important, for my arm, putting pressure on my arm and seeing how it does and it’s done pretty well so I will take that optimism to London,” said Sharapova. “Right now I have to take it one tournament at a time.”
American teenager Amanda Anisimova, who reached the French Open semifinals this month, eased past Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-4 in another match played on the day.
She will next face third seed Belinda Bencic, who also sealed her place in the quarterfinals. Bencic was leading 5-7, 6-3, 3-1 when American opponent Shelby Rogers had to retire with an injury.