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Tennis: Sharapova sticking to own path after more upsets

Published on May 29, 2014 6:31 AM
Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a backhand to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria during their women's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris on May 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Maria Sharapova found a way to win ugly on Wednesday as she overcame difficult conditions to battle past Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5, 6-2 to reach the French Open third round.

Following the shock exit of defending champion Serena Williams and China’s second seed Li Na’s elimination 24 hours earlier, the Russian star, 27, is the leading favourite to take the 2014 title.

However the Russian four-time Grand Slam winner, who won Roland Garros in 2012, said cold, blustery conditions were difficult and a reason for her 27 unforced errors.

“I think it’s always a challenge to go into a match knowing that it’s going to be cold and might be a bit windy. So you have to mentally be prepared for that,” said Sharapova, who burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old when she won Wimbledon in 2004.

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