Sharapova more disappointed to lose early than to detractor

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"The match play that I have, getting myself in these situations, getting out of them, will ultimately help me for those big events whether I'm in there or not".

Despite winning five fewer points than her Russian counterpart, the 23-year-old was not only able to maintain the level she's been searching for for months but was also able to find her best tennis when it mattered most.

When asked about Bouchard's comment two weeks ago in Stuttgart, Sharapova told reporters: "I don't have anything to say - I am way above that". "I know what the drill is", she said.

Kerber advanced with a 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 win over Katerina Siniakova earlier Monday that allowed the German star to regain the world No. 1 ranking.

Sharapova said she didn't need extra motivation to play against anybody.

Bouchard did admit that though Sharapova has impressed since her "so-called comeback" to the game. "That's what's going to win me more tournaments and more Grand Slams".

"I'm just one of the two players out on the court", Sharapova said, per the AP.

Eugenie Bouchard stretches to hit a defensive forehand during her second-round match against Maria Sharapova at the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open.

Sharapova was granted a wild-card into the WTA Premier tournament in Rome, which takes place between 14-21 May.

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That would mitigate her reliability on wild cards that a lot of her fellow tour players have opposed.

Bouchard has been more outspoken than most about Sharapova, recently labeling her former idol a "cheater".

Sharapova then lost a 12-minute service game as Bouchard broke and the Canadian eventually took the opening set 7-5 after a marathon 70 minutes.

The two exchanged a frosty handshake at the end of a thrilling almost three-hour long encounter as Bouchard registered just her second WTA Tour win since the Australian Open in January.

Bouchard was 0-4 previously against Sharapova. "I'm way above that", Sharapova said last month.

The contest was highly anticipated due to the fact that Bouchard had spoken out harshly against Sharapova's return in a recent interview in Istanbul, calling the five-time major champion a cheater and saying that she should not be allowed back in the game.

The Russian was broken three times in the first set, but only once in the rest of the match at the clay-court tournament. Nonetheless, she never earned a match point as the World No.2 ran off the last four games to ensure the tournament wouldn't see both its top two seeds fall on Monday, after Karolina Pliskova's exit at the hands of Anastasija Sevastova.

"It showed me that most people have my opinion, and they were just maybe scared to speak out", Bouchard said. The screaming and jumping up and down, at the end of the match, seemed like a validation of how much this win meant for her, and her supporters.

In the men's tournament, ninth-seeded David Goffin of Belgium defeated Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation 6-2, 7-6 (8), and Fabio Fognini of Italy beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4, 6-4 to set up a second-round match against Rafael Nadal.

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