Mallorca, June 21: Angelique Kerber's preparations for her Wimbledon title defence were boosted as she eased past the returning Maria Sharapova in clinical fashion at the Mallorca Open.
Top seed Kerber was taken to three sets by Ysaline Bonaventure in her first grass-court match of 2019, but she was a much more comfortable winner on Thursday (June 20) against a rival playing her first tournament since January.
Sharapova, whose lengthy absence had been due to a shoulder injury, simply made too many errors, enabling the consistent Kerber to triumph 6-2 6-3.
In an on-court interview, the German said: "It's always tough to play against Maria, especially in the second round.
"If you have a lot of wins before Wimbledon, this is the goal. It gives me a little bit more confidence for the next matches and the next days before I go to London."
Kerber will take on sixth seed Caroline Garcia in the quarter-finals. Garcia needed three sets to overcome Spanish wildcard Paula Badosa.
French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova, 17, faces an intriguing last-eight tie against Belinda Bencic, another player to have enjoyed notable success as a teenager.
Anisimova defeated Alize Cornet 6-2 6-4, while Bencic - who reached the 2014 US Open quarter-finals at the age of 17 - was 5-7 6-3 3-1 up on Shelby Rogers when the American was forced to retire.