Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova proved once again why all that glamour isn’t just sugarcoating.
The Russian teen thrashed Maria Vento-Kabchi 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in convincing fashion.
Sharapova, the second seed who received a bye in the first round, needed 1 hour, 22 minutes to dispose of the 50th-ranked Venezuelan at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
The 17-year-old starlet struggled early in the first set to find her rhythm before bearing down to take the tiebreaker and breaking her opponent three times in the second set before closing out to love.
“I wasn’t nervous but I didn’t have the best possible preparation on this surface and it took some time to find my rhythm,” said Sharapova, who made the semifinals at the Australian Open a week ago before falling to eventual winner Serena Williams.
She said the carpet surface at the annual Tokyo meet suited her game, which became more focused with her serves and strokes as she loosened up on the court.
“This is the only event all year that I can perform on this kind of surface and it takes some getting used to because the ball moves fast and low, but it definitely suits my game,” she said.
Sharapova, who is ranked fourth in the world, had a total of six aces as she overwhelmed Vento-Kabchi, while the South American suffered from five double faults to compound her unforced errors.
Meanwhile, U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova stomped qualifier Maria-Gayanay Mikaelian of Switzerland 6-3, 6-1 to book her spot in the quarterfinals.
The third seed said her rivalry with fellow-Russian Sharapova was a definite plus to improving her own game as she shoots to repeat at the U.S. Open.
“I feel refreshed. It will be more difficult this year at the New York event since the players know a little more about my style of tennis,” said Kuznetsova.
In first-round matches, Aiko Nakamura rallied from a set down to beat Japanese compatriot Ryoko Fuda 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 while Akiko Morigami was a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Maria Sanchez Lorenzo of Spain. American Jill Craybas defeated Tatiana Panova of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.