|Maria Sharapova of Russia returns the ball during the women's singles 3rd round match against Polona Hercog of Slovenia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, China, on Oct. 4, 2012. Sharapova won 2-0. (Xinhua/Gong Lei)
BEIJING, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- World No. 2 Maria Sharapova romped into the quarter-finals by defeating Polona Hercog of Slovenia in straight sets at the China Open here on Thursday.
Sharapova, who survived an early-exit scare with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-5 opening victory over Simona Halep of Romania, enjoyed a much easier encounter when she cruised past world No. 90 Hercog 6-0, 6-2 in just one hour and a half.
"I had a long first round, even though it was two sets. Today and yesterday was definitely a little bit quicker. I was happy with the way I came out today," said Sharapova, who was making her fifth appearance at Beijing with a best semi-final result in 2004.
The 25-year-old Russian dominated the match from the start, breaking three times in the opening set to give Hercog a bagel. Sharapova continued the momentum in the second and built a 2-0 lead.
Hercog held the next serve by saving two break points, and then leveled the score with a break in the fourth game. Sharapova steadied herself in the fifth, taking her serve after the score tied for several times, and never looked back.
"I played really well in the beginning and got a little tense in the second set, but I felt like I really needed that challenge. It's nice to be in the quarter-final stage," said Sharapova.
Sharapova will take on either Angelique Kerber of Germany or Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the quarter-final clash.