Maria Sharapova finally found her winning ways after a rout saw her go winless for four consecutive matches for the first time since 2002. She broke her losing streak with a particularly impressive one-sided performance against the dangerous Mihaela Buzarnescu in the opening round of the Mutua Madrid Open, with her opponent just reaching the final in Prague days ago.
Sharapova claimed her first win since January after just spending an hour and 22-minutes on the court, firing 18 winners to a mere 16 unforced errors as she broke her opponent four times in the one-sided encounter. Whereas, the Romanian committed countless errors with Sharapova staying solid behind her serve throughout the match.
Sharapova overcomes late wobble to take the first set
It was an excellent start to the match for both players as they looked extremely solid on serves, making this encounter looking one-sided in the server’s favour. However, despite how bright Sharapova’s start was, her unforced errors started to overwhelm her as she gifted Buzarnescu with the golden opportunity to draw the first blood. With an ace, the Russian impressively fended off a break point to narrowly hold for 3-2, where greater things followed for the former world number one.
A stunning forehand winner from Sharapova saw her making the first breakthrough, breaking serve for a lead which she ultimately consolidated comfortably for a commanding 5-2 lead within a blink of an eye. Reflecting her tough mental strength, Buzarnescu relied on Sharapova’s nervous errors and made an unexpected comeback to return on serve, hitting two return winners in the process.
Serving to stay in the set at 4-5 down, Buzarnescu faced the pressure and Sharapova stepped up her game, converting on her sixth set point as she clinched the titanic opening set 6-4 after a marathon 47 minutes.
Sharapova strolls to take the excellent win
Riding on her unstoppable momentum, it was the determined Sharapova, who aimed to end her losing streak, taking the initiative and dictated the rallies for the majority of the second set. She started the set with a quick service hold and Buzarnescu was unable to find solutions to the Russian’s solid serving. A double-fault on break point down then put the Romanian in some deep trouble as the world number 32 found herself soon trailing by a set and a break.
However, things got complicated real quickly after a slight misfocus in Sharapova’s game saw her producing errors once more — though this time she rectified her mistakes with a powerful ace on game point, surviving an incoming onslaught from her opponent. With the hold, she extended her formidable advantage to three games, edging closer towards the win.
Charging towards the net more often than ever and moving her opponent from side to side, Sharapova’s power was helping her to do the job as she soon found herself leading 4-1 with Buzarnescu unable to find a break point. Sharapova’s unstoppable play soon resulted in a statement victory, stamping her authority across the court as she closed out the excellent win with an unreturnable serve after 82 minutes of play.