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World Sport

Sharapova too hot for French rival


PARIS, France -- Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova and home hope Amelie Mauresmo put their rivals in the shade on a day of blistering temperatures at the French Open.

Second-seeded Sharapova took just 67 minutes to see off French wildcard Aravane Rezai 6-3 6-2, and now faces fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

Mauresmo, the third seed, edged 15-year-old compatriot Alize Cornet 6-0 6-2, taking just a minute longer to wrap up her second round match.

Mauresmo, so often let down by her fragile temperament in front of the Paris crowd, now takes on Serbia and Montenegro's Ana Ivanovic for a place in the fourth round.

Playing in a baking 30 degrees, Mauresmo was far from happy with her game.

"I wanted to be more aggressive out there and move in more to the net, but my serve was not functioning that well and I will have to work on that," she said.

Sharapova, a quarterfinalist last year, had fallen 3-1 down in the first set against Rezai before reeling off the next six games to take control of the tie.

"I twisted my ankle early on and I felt it a little bit. I was a little bit distracted but it got better game by game after that," said Sharapova.

Justine Henin-Hardenne, who as defending champion crashed out in the second round in 2004, scored a confident 6-1 6-4 win over 31-year-old Spaniard Virginia Ruano Pascual.

But as she looked ahead to a clash against another Spaniard, Anabel Medina Garrigues, the 22-year-old Belgian admitted she was struggling with a back injury.

"I have had a back problem for about two months now and it's something I have to deal with," said Henin-Hardenne, who called the trainer onto the court during the match.

"I think I will be fine over the rest of the tournament. I called for the trainer becasue I wanted to make sure everything was all right."

Henin-Hardenne only returned to the tour in April after a seven-month absence to cure a viral problem that affected her performances last year, and has been in fine form since winning three titles in a row in Charleston, Warsaw and Berlin.

Also progressing into the next round in the women's draw were Nadia Petrova, the Russian seventh seed, Russia's US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, seeded six, and French 17th seed Tatiana Golovin.


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