Another early exit for Maria Sharapova, but Karolina Pliskova cruises

Caroline Garcia sent Maria Sharapova packing in Stuttgart on Tuesday, while Karolina Pliskova had an easy afternoon.

Three-time Porsche Tennis Grand Prix champion Sharapova looked like she was in for a straightforward match as she won the opening set without much fuss, but the sixth seed hit back and won 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.

Sharapova broke in the second game of the match and opened a 3-0 lead, but Garcia bounced back in the second through the tie-breaker.

And the Russian again had the early upper hand in the decider as she broke to go 2-0 up, but the Frenchwoman hit back immediately and then claimed the decisive break in game nine.

The fifth-seeded Pliskova had no such problems as she breezed past Kiki Bertens. The Czech player broke Bertens twice in both sets to secure a 6-2, 6-2 victory in just 60 minutes.

“I’ve been here for a week, so I know this stadium very well. I feel great today,” Pliskova said. “I know she can play a bit better than that, but it doesn’t matter for me.

“I think this is the fasted clay I’ve played on, so it’s not really behaving like a clay court outdoors. So for me, the conditions can be perfect.”

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Maria Kostyuk continued her excellent start to her tennis career as she beat Germany’s Antonia Lottner 6-4, 6-1.

The Ukrainian only made her Grand Slam debut at the start of 2018, but she reached her third round of the Australian Open.