Sharapova cruises into Toronto second round

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TORONTO, August 18 – Former world number one Maria Sharapova cruised into the second round of the WTA hardcourt tournament here Monday with a straight sets win over compatriot Nadia Petrova.
MARIA_SHARAPOVA_The 22-year-old downed 10th seeded Petrova 6-3, 6-4, her third win over Petrova this season.

It was another step forward for Sharapova, who had shoulder surgery last October, returned to singles competition in May and is now ranked 49th in the world.

It was shortly after she won a marathon match in the second round of this event last year, when it was in Montreal, that Sharapova said she had re-injured her serving shoulder and would have to withdraw, launching her 10-month injury absence from the WTA Tour.

In the second round she’ll face Austrian Sybille Bammer, a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner over Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

The top eight seeds, led by world number one and defending champion Dinara Safina, enjoy first-round byes in the two million-dollar US Open tuneup.

Aravane Rezai booked a second-round clash with Safina with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over fellow Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.

Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko set up a clash with Wimbledon runner-up Venus Williams – seeded third behind sister Serena – with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 victory over Belgian Yanina Wickmayer.

Seeded French players Amelie Mauresmo and Marion Bartoli were both first round casualties.

Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine downed 13th-seeded Bartoli 6-4, 6-3, while Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone ousted 15th-seeded Mauresmo 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

Fourteenth-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska moved safely through, downing Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-3.

Surging Aussie Samantha Stosur held off Canadian qualifier Heidi El Tabakh 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4) to set up a meeting with French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, the sixth seed.

Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder downed Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-2, 6-1 to line up a shot at fifth-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic, who beat Safina in the final at Cincinnati on Sunday.

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