Ashleigh Barty reached the third round of the WTA tournament in Cincinnati thanks to a victory against Maria Sharapova on Wednesday. Simona Halep and Karolína Plísková also managed to beat the second round.
Barty had remarkably little trouble with Sharapova, who won the Western & Southern Open in 2011. The Russian took only five games: 6-4 and 6-1.
The Australian number two in the world did fall behind in the first company, but quickly recovered the balance. In set two, she no longer allowed the former number one in the world.
The winner of Roland Garros fell last week in her first game since Wimbledon. She lost to the American Sofia Kenin in Toronto.
In the third round Barty awaits a confrontation with the Polish Iga Swiatek or the Estonian Anett Kontaveit.
Simona Halep had to go all out in her party. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Halep with pain and effort
Halep had a harder time against Ekatatina Alexandrova. The number four in the world had to leave the first set to the global number 43, but then recovered: 3-6, 7-5 and 6-4.
After the loss in the first company, she fell behind in the second set. As usual, Halep fought back in the game and won the set. In set three, she broke Alexandrova's service at 4-4, after which she finished it.
It was her first game for the Wimbledon winner after she gave up in the quarter finals of the Rogers Cup in Canada with a lower leg injury.
In the third round, the 27-year-old Halep meets the winner of the game between the American Madison Keys, placed sixteenth, and the Russian Daria Kasatkina.
Karolína Plísková easily reached the third round. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Plísková easily pass lucky loser
Karolína Plísková had it a lot easier in the second round. The Czech number three on the placement list was against the Chinese Wang Yafan on the track for just over an hour. The highly serving Plísková awarded the lucky loser only four games: 6-1 and 6-3.
The Czech had every chance to become the new number one in the world after this week. Then she must at least do better than Naomi Osaka and Barty, the current numbers one and two in the world.
In the third round she will find a qualifier anyway. She plays against the winner of the match between the Russian Veronika Kudermetova and the Swedish Rebecca Peterson, two women who both qualified for the tournament through qualifications.
The tournament will have a different winner than last year, as reigning champion Kiki Bertens already went down in the second round against Venus Williams on Tuesday.