French Open: Simona Halep & Maria Sharapova into round three

Simona Halep
Simona Halep was a beaten French Open finalist in 2014 and 2017
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

Top seed Simona Halep and two-time champion Maria Sharapova both progressed to the third round of the French Open.

Halep, twice a runner-up in Paris, saw off American Taylor Townsend 6-3 6-1, with the Romanian now facing Germany's Andrea Petkovic in the next round.

Russian Sharapova, the 28th seed, beat Croatia's Donna Vekic 7-5 6-4.

She will play Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova next, with Serena Williams potentially awaiting in last 16.

American three-time winner Williams faces Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the second round later on Thursday.

Sharapova is playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, having been refused a wildcard entry in 2017 after serving a doping ban the previous year.

Serving for the first set at 5-3, the 31-year-old allowed world number 52 Vekic to break back before eventually getting over the line 7-5.

The former world number one dropped serve early in the second, and failed again to serve out the match at 5-3 before taking it 6-4.

Another former French Open champion, Garbine Muguruza, enjoyed a more comfortable route into round three.

The Spaniard was rarely troubled in a 6-4 6-3 victory over French wildcard Fiona Ferro that sets up a meeting with Australia's Sam Stosur.

"It's always tricky when you face a young, talented French player," said Muguruza. "It probably wasn't the best tennis out there but I'm happy that I managed to fight and to win."

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