French Open 2018: Maria Sharapova edges closer to Serena Williams clash with win; Simona Halep cruises into third round

Paris: Two-time champion Maria Sharapova edged closer to a possible French Open last-16 duel with Serena Williams by seeing off Croatia's Donna Vekic 7-5, 6-4 in the second round on Thursday.

Former World No 1 Sharapova, seeded 28 this year, will face Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova for a place in the fourth round.

 French Open 2018: Maria Sharapova edges closer to Serena Williams clash with win; Simona Halep cruises into third round

Maria Sharapova celebrates after winning her match against Donna Vekic. Reuters

Old rival Serena could be a possible opponent but the three-time champion still has her second round to play Thursday against Australia's Ashleigh Barty.

Sharapova, the champion in Paris in 2012 and 2014, is playing Roland Garros for the first time since 2015.

The 31-year-old was serving a doping ban in 2015 and was refused a wildcard by Roland Garros organisers last year.

Top seed Simona Halep reached the French Open third round on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Taylor Townsend of the United States.

Halep, twice a runner-up in Paris, will face Germany's Andrea Petkovic for a place in the last 16.

Petkovic was a semi-finalist in 2014 and was once ranked in the top 10 but has slipped to 107 after an injury-blighted few seasons.

Updated Date: May 31, 2018 20:31:30 IST