Sharapova opens title defence with win
Originally published on: 28/05/13 00:00
The defending champion looked to have shaken off the illness that forced her out of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia as she fired 25 winners past her opponent from Chinese Taipei to clinch victory in just 54 minutes and set up a second-round encounter with the talented young Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.
"The most important thing after Rome was just to get my energy back," Sharapova said after the win. "Obviously it wasn't fun getting sick and having to pull out of the tournament, so I wanted to come to Paris and just try to get that energy and spark back. When I wasn't feeling well it was tough to be out on the court. It was really nice to recharge again over the last week and get back out there."
Sharapova has never defended a Grand Slam title but the four-time major champion will take confidence from her 33-2 record on clay, which dates back to her victory in Stuttgart last year.
"It does feel different [being defending champion],” said the Russian. “This morning I went to the park a little early because I knew I had a long day. I was just sitting there and I remember myself sitting in the same position there last year, thinking of where I was in my life and my career. You think back to those moments and go through the changes and the additions and the minuses and all the things you have in your life, and at the end of the day I'm still doing the same thing. And I love it just as much, which puts a big smile on my face.”