French Open: Maria Sharapova shrugs off illness again to beat Sam Stosur
Photo source: channel3000.com

Maria Sharapova shrugged off her illness once again to seal her place in the last 16 on Friday afternoon. She saw off Samantha Stosur with a 6-3, 6-4 victory as the defending champion proved her power and agility was too much for the World number 26, Stosur. 

The second seed from Russia was a constant threat, and despite her coughing and spluttering as the conditions at Roland Garros got colder and dust flew around her, she shook off a gutsy performance from Stosur, who was the tournament's runner-up in 2010, as well as having been a semi-finalist in the competition twice. 

Her inconsistent serve was the only problem for Maria, who sealed a convincing win after some rather intriguing rallies, which she won the majority of. Stosur had a chance to get back into the match especially in the second set with Sharapova rattled slightly, but her impressive returns were few-and-far between as she was picked off by a better player in truth. 

The match was won with an error from Stosur as she overhit a shot during a fast-paced rally. The crowd roared as the result was confirmed, with Maria celebrating with clenched fights, and you could tell she was both emotionally and physically drained, due to her illness, which she somehow braved and was able to play on, dispatching her opponent with power and purpose too. She looked relieved too, probably because Stosur was her first real test of the tournament - and it was a decent one at that, in fairness. Maria, who'll be eager to retain her title this year, faces World number 13, Lucie Safarova, with a quarter-final spot in the second week of the competition up for grabs.

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