Maria Sharapova rolls in straight sets
PARIS -- With the field getting weaker and Maria Sharapova getting better, things are coming together for the seventh-seeded Russian at the French Open.
Sharapova played her best match of this year's tournament on Saturday, dominating Yung-Jan Chan of Taiwan 6-2, 6-3 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
"I felt like I was in control most of the match. I only got broken once I believe in the second set, and I served really well throughout the match," Sharapova said. "So I was quite pleased after playing a three-set match that I had a quicker one today."
In the last round, Sharapova survived a scare against French wild card Caroline Garcia. She lost the first set and then trailed 4-1 in the second before winning 11 straight games.
With 2002 French Open champion Serena Williams missing due to injury and top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and No. 2 Kim Clijsters already eliminated from the tournament, Sharapova is in position to complete a career Grand Slam.
But looking too far ahead is not on Sharapova's agenda.
"You just try to fight for every point in order to win the match. And then when you do, you have the next match ahead of you, and that keeps going," the 24-year-old Russian said. "Every day is different, and you face different opponents. And you can never be overly confident, because if you are, then I don't think you push yourself."
"It will be a really tough match because I think this is one of her best surfaces," said Sharapova, who lost to Radwanska in three sets at the 2007 U.S. Open. "She's a really good mover and moves well on clay and gets a lot of balls back."
With the two top-seeded players out before the round of 16 at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in the Open era, Sharapova is one of three remaining women with Grand Slam titles. Defending champion Francesca Schiavone and 2009 French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova are the others.
"Well, the draw is very open," Wickmayer said after losing to Radwanska. "Sharapova plays very well right now. She might win."
Also in the mix is Australian Open finalist Li Na, who this year became the first Chinese player to get to the final at a major tournament. She advanced to the fourth round Saturday by beating Sorana-Mihaela Cirstea of Romania 6-2, 6-2.
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But if Sharapova can keep controlling points like she did Saturday, she may finally add the elusive French Open to her championship titles from Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open.
King had been the last remaining American female in the draw. There are now zero U.S. women or men left in the singles draws as the tournament enters Week 2.
Kirilenko put together a 6-1, 6-1 victory that abruptly ended the surprising run of 114th-ranked Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, who stunned Clijsters in the second round by taking 11 of the last 12 games.
With Clijsters out, and the Williams sisters sidelined after health issues, Sharapova's three major titles give her the same number as the other 15 women still around combined.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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