Rome, Italy (Sports Network) - Reigning two-time champion Maria Sharapova
resumed her winning ways in Rome with an easy second-round victory Wednesday
at the $2.37 million Italian Open, a clay-court French Open tune-up.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 star drilled Spanish qualifier
Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-2 on the red clay at Foro Italico. Sharapova was last
week's Madrid runner-up to the great Serena Williams.
The French Open champion Sharapova captured a second straight Italian Open
title last year by beating Chinese star and former French Open titlist Li Na
in the final.
Up next for Sharapova will be American slugger Sloane Stephens.
A fifth-seeded Li also reached the third round here on Wednesday by blasting
fellow Chinese Zheng Jie 6-3, 6-1. The Australian Open runner-up will
battle former world No. 1, two-time Rome champion and former runner-up Jelena
Jankovic on Thursday.
Seventh-seeded Italian crowd favorite Sara Errani, last year's Roland Garros
runner-up to Sharapova, defeated American Christina McHale 7-5, 5-7, 6-2,
while ninth-seeded former French Open and Rome runner-up Samantha Stosur
doused Chinese Peng Shuai 7-6 (7-5), 6-0.
In other second-round action involving seeds, No. 12 Russian Maria Kirilenko
mauled American Varvara Lepchenko, 6-3, 6-1; No. 13 Italian Roberta Vinci
handled wild card and fellow countrywoman Nastassja Burnett 6-1, 6-4; No. 14
Slovak Dominika Cibulkova overcame American qualifier Melanie Oudin 5-7, 6-1,
6-3; and a No. 16 Stephens fought back to beat Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 4-6,
6-3, 6-2. Cibulkova is rewarded with a third-round match against the mighty
Additionally, Spanish lucky-loser Lourdes Dominguez Lino topped Belgian Yanina
Wickmayer 6-4, 6-4 and the aforementioned Jankovic whipped Serb Bojana
Jovanovski 6-2, 6-0. Dominguez Lino replaced sixth-seeded German Angelique
Kerber in the draw. Kerber pulled out to an abdominal injury.
The Sports Network