Sharapova sweeps to 15th straight win in '08
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Maria Sharapova won her 15th straight match without a loss this year, overpowering French qualifier Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-1, 6-0 on Friday night in the wind-blown second round of the Pacific Life Open.
The fourth-seeded Sharapova, the 2006 champion, had little trouble with Cohen-Aloro, breaking her serve five times and losing only 24 points in the 58-minute match.
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"You never know what kind of tennis you're going to produce in these conditions, but against an opponent that didn't give me much pace, I think I handled it pretty well," Sharapova said.
The Russian star joined second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova and defending champion Daniela Hantuchova in the third round. Kuznetsova beat Russian countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 6-1 in 53 minutes, and the fifth-seeded Hantuchova opened her title defense with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over wild-card Angela Haynes.
Kuznetsova saved the three break points she faced and broke Makarova five times en route to her victory.
"It was tough with the wind, but I was able to play well on the key points," Kuznetsova said.
Hantuchova won 22 of 23 points on her first serves in the match and lost just 12 total points in the opening set. The 5-foot-11 right-hander, also the 2002 Indian Wells winner, didn't face a break point.
"This is the court for me. I wish I could play every match of the year on this court," the three-time tour winner said. "I don't know what it is. I guess it's the bounce -- not too slow, not too fast. It was just perfect. I feel like I can hit every time in the middle of my racket."
She was able to adapt to the gusting wind.
"There's not too much to do other than just trying to hit the ball inside the court, not going for too many crazy shots," Hantuchova said. "You are never going to have incredible rallies and beautiful shotmaking. It's about putting it inside the court, no matter how."
Eighth-seeded Dinara Safina of Russia and No. 10 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland also advanced. Safina beat Jill Craybas 7-6 (3), 7-5, and Radwanska edged Mariya Koryttseva of Ukraine 6-1, 7-6 (3). China's Shuai Peng beat No. 23 Karin Knapp of Italy, 6-1, 6-3.
In men's first-round play, American Sam Querrey, the winner last week in Las Vegas, was a 7-6 (5), 6-3 winner over Peru's Luis Horna; and 6-foot-9 John Isner outlasted Italy's Simone Bolelli, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2). Austria's Jurgen Melzer eliminated former U.S. Open champion Marat Safin of Russia 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-2. It was Safin's fourth loss in five matches this year.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press