U.S. Open champ Stephens ousts Canada’s Abanda at Rogers Cup

Sloane Stephens cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Canadian Francoise Abanda at the Rogers Cup.

MONTREAL — There are no Canadians left in women’s Rogers Cup singles play.

U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens made short work of local favourite Francoise Abanda 6-0, 6-2 in the second round on Wednesday.

After first-round losses by Eugenie Bouchard of Montreal and Carol Zhao of Richmond Hill, Ont., Abanda was the last Canadian standing. But the 191st-ranked Abanda, who got a wild card entry when Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., withdrew with an injury, proved no match for Stephens.

The 25-year-old American, seeded third, dominated from her opening-game service break, running Abanda from side to side and slamming in winners. Cheers arouse from the centre court crowd at IGA Stadium when Abanda held her serve early in the second set, but Stephens closed out the match in one hour 20 minutes.

Maria Sharapova continued her bid to climb back to the top of women’s tennis with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over 12th-seeded Daria Kasatkina.

Sharapova, the former world No. 1 who was ranked 149th a year ago after serving a 15-month doping ban, posted a second one-sided win in a row after a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva in the opening round.

"I’ve had all types of matches in my career," said Sharapova, who has climbed back to 22nd in the world. "I’ll take what I can get. As long as I’m the one getting a chance to play the next match. I think that’s what I really care about.

"But to be able to carry that focus, there are certainly a few up and downs in matches, momentum switches. That is from one perspective what makes the sport exciting, but also as a player, makes it very challenging."

The Russian will face fifth-seeded Caroline Garcia of France in the third round. Sharapova is 4-1 in previous meetings, but Garcia won their last one this year in Stuttgart.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine saw tenacious Romanian opponent Mihaela Buzarnescu retire in the third set with an apparent ankle injury for a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 4-3 win. Buzarnescu appeared to be in great pain as she was attended to on the court before being taken off in a wheelchair.

Unseeded Kiki Bertens is ranked 18th in the world so it wasn’t much of an upset when she beat ninth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-2 to advance to a third round encounter with eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova.

Alize Cornet of France defeated off-form Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-1 to advance to a third round meeting with 15th-seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia, who downed Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6 (7) 6-2.

Kerber leads her all-time series with Cornet 3-2, but the Frenchwoman has won both of their meetings on hard courts. Cornet’s last win over a player ranked in the top-5 in the world was also a hard court win over Kerber in Beijing in 2017.

Kerber led the WTA Tour in hard court wins this year with 21, but she wilted in the sticky heat at IGA Stadium in her first match since her Wimbledon triumph.

"It is one match, I know I have to learn from it," said fourth-seeded Kerber. "I took a few weeks off after Wimbledon so I knew I had to come here, play a lot of matches, and also to get used to the hard courts again.

"Of course, it was not the plan to play just one match but, at the end, this is tennis. Every tournament starts from zero. Now I’ll try to get ready for the next tournament."

The top eight seeds got a bye to the second round.

Qualifier Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, a former top-10 player, got past Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 3-2 when her Ukrainian opponent retired in the second set. Navarro will face Stephens in the third round.

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