Just three matches into her comeback, Maria Sharapova is already looking like a Top 5 player. Today, the 30-year-old former No. 1 cruised past Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-4 in the Stuttgart quarterfinals. Sharapova hasn’t dropped a set in three matches this week.
“I thought I moved a lot better today, and was more comfortable with the ground and the surface,” Sharapova said. “Coming into the first match, I didn’t have a great sense of the court, the clay, or the atmosphere, having just had a practice in the morning.
“My footing is a lot better now, the hand-eye coordination. No matter how much you practice, you lose the reaction of being in a match, so that was better. I’m visualizing tactics better, as well, focusing on patterns. I returned better today, but I know I can still improve that tremendously.”
Sharapova will now meet Kristina Mladenovic who was a winner over Carla Suarez-Navarro.
No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova was upset by German Laura Siegemund 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3.
“It was our first meeting on clay, which is better for her, and in Stuttgart, which is even better for her,” Pliskova said. “I think I was fighting pretty well. I hadn’t practiced that much on clay, and it was absolutely different story with CoCo than today. It was tough to play two very different opponents in two days. I didn’t play well, but I still had some chances in the first two sets.
“I didn’t feel that good in the third set, didn’t have much energy anymore. If you don’t have that, she’s just going to make you run even more.”
Siegemund, who reached the Stuttgart finals last year, will face Simon Halep. Halep crushed past Anna Sevastova 6-3, 6-1.
“I feel good. I feel happy,” Halep said. “I’m positive on and off the court. These are my best feelings so far this year and I want to stay like this.”
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