Maria Sharapova on Tuesday August 10, 2010

Maria Sharapova and fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova played their opening match Tuesday night on the second day of the Western & Southern Women’s Open tennis tournament.  The newly remodeled players and media facility was welcomed by both athletes, but the sweltering and muggy Cincinnati heat was less to be desired.  As the sun started to set around 7pm, Sharapova and Kuznetsova took center court at the Linder Family Tennis Center with the heat index in the high 80′s.   Sharapova would come into the match well rested and ready to take on the Ohio heat.  Unlike her opponent Kusnetsova, who had just gotten off a cross-country flight the day before.  Having just come off her win in Sunday’s final of the Mercury Insurance Open in San Diego, Kutznetsova would have problems most of the match.

Sharapova was able to capitalize on Kuznetsova’s slow and sluggish 0-5 start.  Wearing her opponent down in the oppressive heat, Sharapova battled Kuznetsova for three sets winning 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.  Kutznetsova played the entire match with a sore left leg and did her best to bounce back from the previous weekends tournament.  There is a tournament rule that allows players to take a ten minute break between the second and third set when the temperatures rise above 82 degrees.  Each player tried the make the most of this short break, and Sharapova obviously benefited most.  Coming out of the break Sharpova would later say “”I definitely felt fresher after I came back from that”.  After going up 3-0, she would go on to win the set 6-2.  Tenth-seeded Sharapova advances to play Andrea Petkovic today at 2 p.m.

Sharapova beat Kuznetsova in three sets

Kuznetsova tries to battle Sharapova and the heat

Sharapova yells during a return

Kuznetsova eyes the ball on her forehand return

Sharapova showing her intensity

Sharapova reaches for a return

Sharapova dials in her serve

Sharapova focuses on her return

Sharapova stares down the ball

Sharapova rises above the court to deliver her serve

Sharapova powers her return for a winner

Sharapova shows her strength

Tags: