No. 1 Halep cruises at French; Sharapova wins

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PARIS — Despite playing on consecutive days, top-seeded Simona Halep showed no signs of fatigue in beating wild-card entry Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1 to reach the third round of the French Open on Thursday.

The Romanian broke the 72nd-ranked American in the first game and jumped to a 5-1 lead.

Townsend dug deep in the eighth game, with Halep serving for the set, clawing back a break to slow the progress of last year’s runner-up.

Halep served out the last game to love, breaking into a smile after a winning volley at the net that brought up three match points.

Halep said in her post-match interview that she struggled initially against the left-hander’s shots with topspin. But the score didn’t show it.

Her next opponent, Andrea Petkovic of Germany, beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-0, 7-6 (5) to reach the third round.

It took her a little bit to close things out, but two-time champion Maria Sharapova improved to 13-0 in second-round matches here by beating 50th-ranked Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-5, 6-4.

Sharapova led 5-2 in the second set, then served for the win at 5-3, but was broken when she sailed an off-balance forehand wide. She broke right back to end it, though, converting her fifth match point with a forehand return winner.

“In the moments when I need to come through, I did,” Sharapova said.

Sharapova is competing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015. She missed the clay-court Grand Slam tournament in 2016 while serving a doping suspension, then was denied a wild-card entry by the French tennis federation last year, when her ranking was too low to earn automatic entry.

The 31-year-old Russian won the title in 2012 and 2014, part of her career Grand Slam. She is seeded 28th this year.

Next for Sharapova is a matchup against sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, the runner-up at the 2016 US Open and a semifinalist in Paris a year ago. Pliskova reached the third round with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over 2015 French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova.

Third-seeded Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 champion, made it into the third round with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over French wild-card entry Fiona Ferro.

As she did in her first-round match against Svetlana Kuznetsova, Muguruza again impressed with her ease of movement around the court.

Muguruza and Ferro exchanged breaks of serve at the start of the second set. But the third-seeded Spaniard broke her 257th-ranked opponent again in the seventh game to take the lead and closed out the win with her first match point on Ferro’s serve two games later.

“All I want is to go out there, compete, and win,” Muguruza said. “Doesn’t matter if my shots are not for the picture. It’s fine. I’m happy with fighting, do whatever I can, to eventually win the point. That’s all that matters.”

Muguruza will next face Samantha Stosur, who eliminated 30th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 7-6 (1).

Stosur reached the finals at Roland Garros in 2010 and was also a semifinalist in 2009, 2012 and 2016.

Only once in 11 attempts has Pavlyuchenkova reached the second week at Roland Garros, making the quarterfinals in 2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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