Maria Sharapova previewed her upcoming second-round match against Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati. The Russian player said: "Not an easy match and really not an easy matchup for me. I think she does a lot of things well. She's a tricky opponent.
If I had played against her best game like when I was just coming up, like a Henin or someone that sliced and diced and had a lot of variety, it was very tough for me. But I feel like I have improved, and we had a really tough one in Australia.
And ever since then she's been on a roll. She's been dominating. She's one of the few players that have really dominated and has been impressive to see. Yeah, I mean, I'm the one coming in with not a lot of match play, but I'll have to figure it out.
If not, it's going to be too late." Asked if she was surprised with Barty's French Open title, Sharapova replied: "I don't think so. I haven't really given it a good thought, but I think it seems like in Paris there is always a few surprises and maybe expectations are a little bit lower.
Some players go in there -- I think for a lot of players it happens to be one of the least-favourite slams or least-favourite surfaces at least and always the most challenging one. And sometimes you go in there, being free and loose, and that ends up being your favourite.
You win a few matches, you get a little bit more confident, and you find yourself French Open champion. But of course it takes a lot more than that, you know. A lot of things have to come together to win a slam. But am I surprised? No. You saw the type of level that she performed with."