Sloane Stephens stuns Sharapova as Federer claims yet another win
AFPCINCINNATI, Ohio -- American Sloane Stephens snatched her second major scalp of the season as she toppled former champion Maria Sharapova in the second round at Cincinnti on Tuesday.
August 15, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
Stephens rallied to beat the world number three from Russia 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, bringing Sharapova's injury return to an abrupt end in this combined WTA and ATP Masters hard-court tournament.
While Sharapova — who enjoyed a first-round bye — was struggling with her game, Roger Federer made a smoother comeback after dealing with back pain in recent weeks.
The five-time champion who is defending the title and needs as many matches as possible before the August 26 start of the US Open, won his seventh career match against German friend Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (9/7).
The fifth-ranked Swiss felt in his element as he played the tournament for the 13th time, improving his record to 31-10 this season.
Spanish third seed David Ferrer joined Federer in the third round with a 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-4 victory over American Ryan Harrison.
Montreal finalist Milos Raonic struggled in the opening set against Jack Sock, but found his rhythm for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win and a date on Wednesday with Janko Tipsarevic.
Sharapova was making her return to tennis seven weeks after her last match, a shock second-round Wimbledon defeat.
Since then she had sacked her coach and begun working with Jimmy Connors, all while she battled to get over a hip injury.
The four-time Grand Slam champion was bedeviled by more than 60 unforced errors.
A nervous Stephens, who stunned Serena Williams at the Australian Open, double-faulted on two match points before finally claiming the victory on a third.
“I started the match off pretty well, but when you put yourself in a really good position you can't let it go. That's what I did tonight,” Sharapova said.
“I didn't continue what I was doing well for the first set and a half, and that hurt me.
“I stopped being patient, I started making a lot more errors, especially off the first ball. Just errors that I shouldn't make.”
Second seed Victoria Azarenka reached the third round, beating American Vania King 6-1, 7-6 (8/6).
Azarenka was playing for the first time since losing the Carlsbad final to Samantha Stosur, then withdrawing injured from Toronto.