Maria Sharapova through to last-16 of Mutua Madrid Open

Tennis
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova

Former world number one Maria Sharapova recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since January to book her place in the last 16 of the Mutua Madrid Open.

The Russian cruised to a 7-5 6-1 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu and afterwards spoke of the readjustments she has had to make following injury and a change of coach.

"It just took time for me re-evaluate where I was, where my body was," Sharapova, who returned to former coach Thomas Hogstedt after splitting with Sven Groeneveld, told her post-match press conference.

"I also made changes within my team; especially in that period of time, it was not easy.

"There's never a bad time to make a good change. You do hope that those changes lead to better things and good things.

"It's not because the past necessarily wasn't working, but because you believe that there could be better things to come."

Sharapova now faces Kristina Mladenovic, who was runner-up in Madrid last year and victorious over the Russian in the semi-final of the 2017 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Sharapova's first tournament following a 15-month ban due to an anti-doping rule violation.

Second seed Caroline Wozniacki staged a thrilling late comeback to beat Ashleigh Barty 6-2 4-6 6-4.

The Australian Open champion found herself staring at defeat at 4-2 in the final set but won four in a row to prevail in two hours and five minutes and will face former French Open semi-finalist Kiki Bertens, who beat Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-4.

Mladenovic was taken to three sets by Shuai Zhang, eventually winning 6-4 4-6 6-3.

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