Maria Sharapova does not enjoy the freezing European weather, although the smiling face next to a Paris Christmas tree still surviving in February could make your believe otherwise. However, the extreme cold didn't stop the Open GDF Suez top seed to beat world No.44 Chanelle Scheepers 6-3 6-1 and move into the quarterfinals after a first round bye. And that's not all, the victory has assured Sharapova's rise to No.2 in the WTA rankings as of Monday, February 13.
I may be hard to believe, but the experienced Russian is playing the Paris tournament for the first time. It's not that she was skipping it on purpose, but complicated scheduling, injuries and sickness got in the way on so many occasions.
Sharapova's quarterfinal will be on Friday and she will play either ninth seed Angelique Kerber or Monica Niculescu. Against Kerber Sharapova had a 6-1 6-2 victory at the recent Australian Open and it's been their one and only encounter, while she has never faced Monica Niculescu. (photo via Sharapova's Facebook page)