Break points either side of a rain delay were the closest Maria Sharapova got to having her feathers ruffled before handing out a double bagel to Argentine Paula Ormaechea on Philippe Chatrier on Friday afternoon.
Unable to slow the Russian express steamrolling her, Ormaechea was able to smile in the face of the humiliation, the 6-0, 6-0 drubbing dished out in just 51 minutes. The ferocity of the 2012 champion’s return of service was telling. Ormachea did not win a point on her second delivery throughout and hit just one winner to her opponent’s 23.
The seventh seed’s weight of shot simply proved too much for the world No.75. With Sharapova holding for 5-0 after just 47 minutes, the Argentine could only close her eyes and grin; the very realisation creeping in that she could well fail to get on the board. When Ormaechea netted a nervous forehand, she looked to the skies above. Sharapova had three match points. She would need just one, taking it when the Argentine’s backhand sailed long, the Russian taking the last 13 points of the match.
It was all smooth sailing for the new tournament favourite. “Except the first game, which was a little bit tough … I started a little bit nervous, but other than that I was happy with how I played,” Sharapova said.
The competition will likely be a step up for the Russian in the fourth round where she will carry a 13-2 head-to-head record into her match with Australian Sam Stosur. She beat the 2010 Roland Garros finalist only weeks ago on clay in Madrid but is all too wary of what her opponent is capable of producing in Paris. “I believe this is one of her favorite surfaces to play on and a lot of her successes come on clay," Sharapova said. "Despite my record against her and my victory a few weeks ago, this is a new match. I'm sure she will be ready for the match against me, and so will I. I look forward to that challenge. She has a great serve, she uses the court extremely well, moves well on it. It's a good matchup."
Expect Stosur to ruffle a few more of Maria's feathers than Ormaechea.