A day after the tournament was left without power and its star attraction when rising Canadian star and Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard suffered a shock opening-match loss, the event enjoyed a return to normalcy as the electricity was back on and Sharapova moved onto the third round.
"It's been a few weeks since I've been in that competitive atmosphere," said Sharapova, back in action for the first time since her fourth round loss at Wimbledon. "It's always quite different, no matter how much you train, you try to prepare for that.
"Once you step on the court, you feel a little bit more from the crowd, the energy. You get inspired by everything. But you're ultimately a bit rusty."
The French Open champion certainly was far from sharp in her return as the promising young Spaniard took advantage of several errors by the Russian to grab the opening set.
But Sharapova, a three-time winner this season, was able to convert on the big points to stay on track for a first ever title on the Canadian hard courts.
"I didn't feel good, I made a lot of errors in the first set," said Sharapova. "When you're able to finish stronger than your start, that's always a positive because you give yourself an opportunity to keep playing in the tournament.
"When you're in that position, there's always another chance to work in another match to improve and get better."
Sixth seeded German Angelique Kerber, who has four runner-up finishes this season, had no trouble taming Caroline Garcia easing past the Frenchwoman 6-4 6-1.
Kerber has had a solid start to her North American hard court campaign after reaching the final in Stanford last week but has in four visits to Canada has never advanced past the third round.
Eleventh seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, the 2010 Canadian champion, thrashed Czech Klara Koukalova 6-1 6-2 while qualifier Heather Watson provided an early upset when the Briton shocked 10th seeded and Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova of Russia 6-2 6-7 (3) 7-6 (5).
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
- Sports & Recreation
- Maria Sharapova