Maria Sharapova expecting tricky test

Vitalia Diatchenko French Open Tennis

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Maria Sharapova says she is expecting a tough test when she takes on fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko in the second round of the French Open.

Despite being somewhat under the weather, the defending champion looked extremely sharp on Monday as she opened her campaign up with a 6-2 6-4 win over Estonian Kaia Kanepi.

Her next opponent will be compatriot Diatchenko, who showed plenty of steel to battle back from a set down to get the better of Stefanie Voegele.

The pair have previously played together for Russia in the Fed Cup and the second seed has seen first hand just how hard the 24-year-old hits the ball.

Sharapova is a huge favourite going into the match and, despite Diatchenko’s power, she will be hoping for another comfortable day as she continues to plot her route to what she hopes will be a third Roland Garros crown.

However, the 28-year-old insists she is not taking anything for granted and admits she could be in for a stern test.

“I got to know her during Fed Cup this year,” Sharapova said. “That was really the first time we spent together. I didn’t get a chance to practice with her, though.

“I saw her play doubles a little bit – maybe it was good because it was the first time I had really seen her strike the ball. She’s a big hitter.”

The world number two is the current 1.01 favourite to win the match, while her opponent is the 13.00 outsider, with the victor going on to face either Sam Stosur or home favourite Amandine Hesse in the third round.

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