2014/07/31

Ana Ivanovic Upsets Maria Sharapova at Italian Open

AnaIvanovicBNPPOParty

(Mary 15, 2014) No. 11 seed Ana Ivanovic upset eighth seed Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 to move into the Italian Open quarterfinals. The win for the Serbian stopped the Russian’s win streak on clay this year and avenged her loss in the final of Stuttgart.

“Anytime you lose you talk of revenge, but I really tried to learn from the match in Stuttgart a few weeks ago,” Ivanovic told media. “I was dominating the first part of the match. I made good tactics with my coach: I took time away from her and stepped forward when I needed to. And I am really pleased with this.”

No. 1 Serena Williams set a milestone with her easy 6-1, 6-2 over Vavara Lepchenko in a battle between Americans. Serena equaled her sister Venus record in match wins at 652 – the most career match wins among active players.

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA
Rome, Italy
May 12-18, 2014
Red Clay/Outdoors

Results – Thursday, May 15, 2014
WTA Singles – Third Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 61 62
(2) Li Na (CHN) d. Samantha Stosur (AUS) 63 61
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 64 61
(6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (12) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 62 63
(11) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (8) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 61 64
(10) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (Q) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 64 76(3)
Zhang Shuai (CHN) d. (Q) Christina McHale (USA) 62 46 62

Doubles – Second Round
WTA Medina Garrigues/Shvedova (ESP/KAZ) d. (1) Hsieh Su-Wei/Peng (TPE/CHN) 64 63
(2) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. Jurak/Moulton-Levy (CRO/USA) 61 60
(3) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) d. (WC) Jankovic/Kleybanova (SRB/RUS) 75 64
(8) Goerges/Groenefeld (GER/GER) d. Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) 64 64
Dellacqua/Jans-Ignacik (AUS/POL) d. Niculescu/Zhang (ROU/CHN) w/o (Zhang: shoulder injury)
Erakovic/Parra Santonja (NZL/ESP) d. Mladenovic/Pennetta (FRA/ITA) 76(5) 60

Singles – Third Round
[1] R Nadal (ESP) d [14] M Youzhny (RUS) 67(4) 62 61
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d P Kohlschreiber (GER) 46 62 61
[15] T Haas (GER) d [3] S Wawrinka (SUI) 57 62 63
[5] D Ferrer (ESP) d E Gulbis (LAT) 62 63
[12] G Dimitrov (BUL) d [6] T Berdych (CZE) 67(3) 62 62
[7] A Murray (GBR) d [PR] J Melzer (AUT) 76(1) 64
[8] M Raonic (CAN) d [11] J Tsonga (FRA) 76(5) 64
J Chardy (FRA) d I Dodig (CRO) 63 62

Doubles – Quarter-finals

[6] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d [4] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) 46 63 10-7

Doubles – Second Round

[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) 75 61
T Haas (GER) / R Stepanek (CZE) d [7] L Kubot (POL) / R Lindstedt (SWE) 62 67(1) 11-9
R Haase (NED) / F Lopez (ESP) d [8] T Huey (PHI) / D Inglot (GBR) 76(2) 62

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 16 MAY 2014

CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
WTA – [10] S Errani (ITA) vs [2] N Li (CHN)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – [15] T Haas (GER) vs [12] G Dimitrov (BUL)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [5] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)
Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA – [1] S Williams (USA) vs S Zhang (CHN)
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – [1] R Nadal (ESP) vs [7] A Murray (GBR)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon

ATP – [8] M Raonic (CAN) vs J Chardy (FRA)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [13] C Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs [11] A Ivanovic (SRB)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – [6] J Jankovic (SRB) vs [3] A Radwanska (POL)
After Suitable Rest – [1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs T Haas (GER) / R Stepanek (CZE)

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon

WTA – A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs [PR] C Dellacqua (AUS) / K Jans-Ignacik (POL)
ATP – R Haase (NED) / F Lopez (ESP) vs [3] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA)
After Suitable Rest – [5] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) vs [2] S Errani (ITA) / R Vinci (ITA)
After Suitable Rest – M Cilic (CRO) / S Gonzalez (MEX) vs G Dimitrov (BUL) / L Rosol (CZE)

COURT 2 start 2:00 pm

WTA – [4] K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP)
[8] J Goerges (GER) / A Groenefeld (GER) vs [3] E Makarova (RUS) / E Vesnina (RUS)

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Maria Sharapova Rallies to Win Her First Madrid Open Title

 

(May 11, 2014) Last year’s Madrid Open bridesmaid is this year’s bride as last year’s losing finalist Maria Sharapova rebounded from being dominated in the first set 6-1 to claim her first Madrid Open title over Simona Halep, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

 

“What a week,” Sharapova said emphatically. “Last year I lost in the finals and I really wanted to go one extra step this year, and it’s just been such a fantastic week. Simona and I had played a couple of times before, but she’s really on a different level now. I don’t know how I pulled it off. In the first set I wasn’t doing much to hurt her, and that’s the tennis she’s capable of playing – I knew I had to do some different things after the first set to win this match.”
“I don’t have regrets because it was an amazing week for me and it was my biggest final,” said the Romanian Halep. “But I’m really happy that I could play the final here in Madrid. I played really well all week and I beat top players and I played a very high level of tennis. Maria is a great player and a great champion. She played really well, and I think she deserved to win this title. ”

 

“I don’t take any finals for granted, and every tournament means a lot to me,” Sharapova continued. “I came close last year, and I didn’t have a great first set today, but I knew it wasn’t over until the last point was played.”

 

For No. 9 Sharapova the victory marks her 31st WTA title of her career. It extends her current won streak on a lay court to 11. She also captured a tournament in Stuttgart this year.

 

She has now won 46 of her last 49 matches on clay, with all three of the losses coming to No. 1 Serena Williams.

 

The 27-year-old Russian will see her ranking rise to No. 7 and Halep will remain at No. 5. Next stop for both women on the tour will be Rome which began on Sunday.

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Maria Sharapova Three-Peats in Stuttgart

 

(April 27, 2014) It was a three-peat for Maria Sharapova in Stuttgart on Sunday. Sharapova came back from 3-6, 1-3 down to stop Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win her third straight Porsche Grand Prix crown. She is now on a 13-match winning streak at the event.

It’s the Russian’s 30th career WTA title, the first of 2014. She is now third in titles among active players behind Serena and Venus Williams. With her eighth WTA clay court title win, Sharapova now trails just Anabel Medina Garrigues (10), Serena Williams (10) and Venus Williams (9) for most WTA clay court titles among current players.

“For the first half of the match I thought it might not be my day today, but somehow I turned it around,” Sharapova said. I had quite a slow beginning to the year, but me and my team have been working hard to get in the position to win titles again, and I’m so happy to be able to do it in Stuttgart.”

“From the first moment it was always a close match. It was always a few close balls to decide each game, and it went on the whole match. In the second set she definitely went for those big shots, though, and she made some amazing point,” Ivanovic said. “She’s just a great player, and that’s what happens when you play against great players in big matches like this. You need to use your opportunities.”

Sharapova joined boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov in the winner’s circle on Sunday. Dimitrov won the title in Bucharest, his third career ATP title.

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Grigor Dimitrov Wins Bucharest Title

Dimitrov waves

(April 27, 2014) No. 1 seed Grigor Dimitrov knocked out defending champion Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 7-6 (2), 6-1 on Sunday to win the Nastase Tiriac Trophy for his third career ATP World tour title.

The world No. 16 completed the tournament without losing a set.

Domitrov joined his girlfriend in the winner’s circle on the same day as Maria Sharapova won the Stuttgart title for the third time in a row.

“It feels good to have won. I lifted my game, not having been happy with my previous matches in the tournament,” Dimitrov said. “I knew I had to lift my level, especially after the first set. Lukas is a very good winner, who hit some outstanding winners. It was a pleasure to play in front of Ilie Nastase and other greats.

“I have worked really hard to start winning titles. I have put in enough effort, time and sacrifices to get here.”

“A run to a final was very good,” said last year’s winner Rosol. “It was a perfect week. If you had told me I would have reached the semi-finals at the start of the week, I would have taken it. Grigor was just amazing today. I played good tennis, but Grigor was better on the court and I had no answer. I am sure he will break into the Top 10 very soon.”

The 22-year-old Bulgarian will rise to a career high No. of 13 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday.

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Sharapova Inks a New Sponsorship Deal

Maria Sharapova photo ©John Russo for Supergoop!

Maria Sharapova photo ©John Russo for Supergoop!

(April 11, 2014) NEW YORK, NY – IMG Tennis announced a new global partnership deal for its client Maria Sharapova with Supergoop!, a skincare line solely dedicated to a healthy approach to broad spectrum sun protection. In addition to signing on as Supergoop’s brand ambassador, Sharapova will become a co-owner of the company with Founder and CEO Holly Thaggard.

Sharapova’s investment supports her ongoing agenda of expanding her business platform, which already includes Sugarpova launched in 2012.

‘’I couldn’t be more excited about my partnering with Supergoop!, a brand I trust to protect my face and body from sun damage. I am a huge fan of the products and my belief in Supergoop’s commitment to offering innovative and smart sunscreen solutions for people of all ages is what’s made me want to invest in the company and help with its long term growth,’’ said four-time Grand Slam Champion Sharapova.

The line was launched in 2007 by Thaggard, Supergoop! Supergoop! products are available at retailers such as Sephora, Nordstrom, Space NK, and Amazon.com, among many others.

“Skin cancer is diagnosed more frequently than all of the leading cancers combined, yet it’s primarily preventable. To date, there has not been a broad reaching voice for UV education and we’ve finally found our megaphone in Maria,” said Thaggard. “Maria is the ideal choice to own and champion this position and we value her as our ambassador of ‘suncare as skincare’.”

A former World No.1 and only one of six women in the Open Era to have won all four Grand Slam titles, Sharapova has been ranked by Forbes magazine as the highest paid female athlete in the world for a record nine years. Supergoop! joins Sharapova’s family of partners which include Nike, Porsche, Evian, TAG Heuer, Samsung, Head and Cole Haan.

In the last twelve months, IMG Tennis has signed a number of partners for its clients including global deals with Peugeot and Seiko (Novak Djokovic); Delta Airlines (Kei Nishikori); Crown Hotels and Doing Li Energy (Li Na); Longines, Peugeot and Thomas Sabo (Sabine Lisicki); Banc de Sabadell and Peugeot for the ATP event in Barcelona and Claro and Itau for the Rio Open, among many others.

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Williams Continues Her Domination Over Sharapova To Reach 9th Miami Final

 

By Kevin Ware

(March 27, 2014) Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to reach her ninth final in Key Biscayne. Williams came into this semifinal the prohibitive favorite, owing to her 15-2 head-to-head against Sharapova. But it was quickly evident that Williams’ best level hadn’t quite made it to the court by match time.

In a repeat of their 2013 final, Sharapova came out ready to play her best tennis from the very first point. She came out hitting the ball hard, deep, and into the corners. In typical fashion, she struggled with her first serve percentage, but still managed to start the match with a crucial hold.

Williams was slow to get going, and unable to take advantage of her many chances at the Sharapova second serve. She even struggled with her own potent serve at the outset, and was broken in the fourth game for a 4-1 Sharapova lead.

While this type of deficit might lead many players to panic, Williams kept her focus on the big picture. “I thought, Okay, I’m only down a break.  It was really just one break.  The scoreline looked bigger than what it was.  I felt if I could just break back, then I would be back in the match.”

Williams came back after the changeover with her “A” game ready to go. She methodically held serve for 2-4 before breaking Sharapova twice to take the first set 6-4. Her early sluggishness was replaced by big hitting, sharp angles, and untouchable serves.

The slump in Sharapova’s shoulders after Williams held at love for the set said it all. She has chances for a win if Williams is off her game, but knows that it’s going to be tough to beat Williams if she regains here form.

Sharapova was asked about Williams’s ability to take her game to another level when needed, and simply replied, “That’s why she’s No. 1 in the world.”

“There are always going to be drops. But she’s the player that is most capable of coming back from that or regaining focus and regaining that concentration as someone that’s ultimately going to do better.”

There was a glimmer of hope for Sharapova at the start of the second set when Williams took her foot off the pedal for a two-game walkabout that included lax defense, minimal footwork, and one of the worst drop shots seen at this year’s tournament. But Williams again raised her level as needed to break back for a 2-1 lead.

After Sharapova was broken at love in the seventh game of the second set for a 4-3 Williams lead, there was little chance this match might even go the distance to a third. Sharapova fought hard, but ultimately wilted under pressure. A forehand into the net handed Williams her 15th straight win over her Russian opponent.

Sharapova hasn’t beaten Williams in almost a decade, with her last victory coming at the 2004 WTA Championships in Los Angeles. And while many believe this to be one of the WTA’s big rivalries, she is quick to remind everyone that it’s not much of a rivalry until she can get a win.

When asked about their lopsided “rivalry”, Sharapova attempted to put a positive spin on the situation. “I mean, despite my results against her, I still look forward to playing against her because you learn so much from that type of level which she produces.”

“You finish the match, and you know where you need to improve and the things that you need to work on.”

In spite of her win, Williams remained subdued in the press room afterward, fending off questions of rivalries and potential challengers. She takes no one for granted, and views every opponent as a potential rival.

“I mean, everyone I play always plays me hard, so I feel like every match I play I literally have to be on my best, so for me I take a rival as every match, and I think that’s one of the best ways to take it.”

“You have to show up, and if you don’t show up, then your biggest threat will be yourself.”

Williams has won the title in Miami a record six times, one more than Steffi Graf. A seventh title would give her the record for the most Miami titles of all, surpassing the great Andre Agassi.

Williams will face Li Na in Saturday’s final after her late-night three-set win over Dominika Cibulkova.

Kevin Ware is in Key Biscayne covering the Sony Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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Li and Cibulkova Reach Sony Open Semis

 

Dominika Cibulkova ©Sony Open Tennis

Dominika Cibulkova ©Sony Open Tennis

(March 26, 2014) It will be a rematch of the Australian Open women’s final in the semifinal of the Sony Open as both Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova advanced on Wednesday. Li won the Australian Open in straight sets for her second major title.

No. 10 seed Dominika Cibulkova saved  three match points in the second set en route to a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 2 Li Na won the last 4 straight games to close out Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 7-5.

Cibulkova won despite poor serving and unforced errors. She had her serve broken 10 times and double-faulted 8times, committing 51 unforced errors.

One of her match points saved came on a controversial call which was overturned due a challenge.

He match against Radwanska was a repeat of the Arustralian Open semifinal where the Slovak won over the Pole to make her first major final.

The Slovak who is in the Sony Open semis for the first time, will enter the top ten for the first time when the rankings come out on Monday.

“I’m really glad, especially about my win today,” Cibulkova said.

“It wasn’t easy at all to play today against Aga with the wind and conditions, and I had to stay aggressive all the time even if I missed many shots, you know.  I just had to keep going.

“So today the match was really tough, and I’m happy about everything, you know.  Before the match, even before the tournament, like they keep asking me, Top 10 and everything, and I just, you know, I just said, like, Okay, if I should be there, I will be there.  If I should not be there, I will not be there.

“So now I’m there.  So finally it’s over.”

“I think it was so close, the second set,” Radwanska said.  “But I think, you know, in those matches you have to play good and you have to be lucky.

“I was just playing good and she was both.”

With Li Na’s win, she became the first Chinese player to reach the Sony Open semifinals.

“I think today I was feeling she was the best to defend in all the tour, so I was feeling a little bit like player against a wall,” Li said about her match against Wozniacki.  “Because doesn’t matter where is it.  She always come and put the ball back to my court.

“After I was finished the match, I was feeling, Wow, you doing good.  You beat a wall.  Yeah.”

Li Na now leads the tour with 20 match wins on the season

On Thursday six–time Sony Open winner No. 1 Serena Williams will take on five-time finalist and No. 4 seed Maria Sharapova in the first women’s semifinal. Williams holds a 15-2 record against the Russian, winning the last 14 straight.

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Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova Set Up Semifinal Meeting at Sony Open

 

(March 25, 2014) It will be a Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova semifinal at the Sony Open as both women defeated quarterfinal opponents in straight sets.

No. 1 Serena Williams made quick work of No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-2, winning 62% of all of the points in the match,  in the first match of the night session on Tuesday.

Williams’s match demonstrated total dominance, unlike her last two matches in which she was pushed to three sets.

“I’m playing a little better,” Williams said.  “I had to play better.  As the tournament progresses you can’t get worse, you have to get better.

“I’m happy to be doing a little better.”

The 17-time major winner still is not totally happy yet.

“The good news is I can play better, so that keeps me really happy, actually.  “So knowing that I can still play several levels higher is good for me.”

No. 4 seed Maria Sharapova came back from a break down in the first set in a rematch of the 2011 Wimbledon final to top Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1. She won 11 of the last 13 games.

“I started getting more chances as we played more games in the first set,” Sharapova said.

“Little by little I started seeing more opportunities and started getting myself back in the points and playing my game, playing well, going inside the baseline.

“You never are sure until you finish the match and you win the last point, but I really felt like I started doing the right things.”

Sharapova, always a bridesmaid but never a bride in Miami – she’s been a finalist five times has never won a Sony Open title.

It will be Williams against Sharapova for a place in the Key Biscayne final. Williams holds an overwhelming record against the Russian 15-2. The last time Sharapova beat Williams was back in 2004.

“Well, when you’re playing, you know, champions, you have to play your best.” Williams said.  “So she always plays her best and her heart out against me.

“We just have to bring the best because we both are really good players.”

“It’s no secret that she’s been a big challenge of mine, an opponent that obviously I would love to beat,” Sharapova said.  “There are certainly, you know, ways that I need to step up in certain situations that I haven’t been able to do in the past against her.

“But it’s great that I have come to that stage and have the opportunity to play her again.”

“I love playing her,” said the six-time Sony Open winner Williams about playing Sharapova.  “I really do.  Doesn’t matter what surface or anything.  She’s one of my favorite people to play. And so I think that helps, too, when you’re like playing people.  I think it just gets you really pumped.”

“I feel in the last few times I have played I have had my chances and opportunity and something that maybe I didn’t quite create, you know, say, a couple years ago,” Sharapova said to media.

“It’s about taking those.  Someone, an opponent that plays with so much confidence and so much power, you really need to take those few opportunities that you have.”

 

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Serena Williams Crushes, Maria Sharapova Rebounds to Advance at Sony Open

(March 24, 2014) In a tale of two different matches, expected results as No. 1 Serena Williams and fourth seed Maria Sharapova reached the quarterfinals of the Sony Open on Monday.

Williams dismissed American countrywoman qualifier CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-1 to reach the elite 8 in Miami for the 13th time in 14 appearances.

After her first two matches in the tournament she showed some rust, Williams cleaned up her game hitting 17 winners to only 11 unforced errors and stopping all six break points she faced.

“I was definitely happier today,” Williams said.  “I was really struggling my first two matches, so I just wanted to have a better performance today.”

“She’s improved a great deal,” Williams said of her opponent’s game.  “Her focus is so much better.  Her movement is good.  Her attitude is great.  She’s a nice girl.

“You know, it’s always fun to play with young Americans, I think, and just enjoy it.  It’s so good to see another American doing really well.”

Williams was so impressed with the young American that she spoke to her about possible playing doubles.

“She said, `Listen, you played so well. We’ve got to play doubles. We’d do so well,’” Vandeweghe said.

Next up for Williams will be the No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber, who beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

“It will be good to play a different opponent,” Williams said.  “I feel like I have played the same person three times in a row.  It will be nice to play a lefty, someone that just plays different.

“Angelique has been able to beat me in the past, so I have to be really focused and be ready in that match.”

 

Maris Sharapova had to reset from a first set drubbing to beat Kirsten Flipkens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

The Belgium jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and Sharapova could only win five points during those four games. In the second set Sharapova jumped out to a 4-0 lead, then Flipkens won 4 out of 5 games, but Sharapova broke serve to take the set 6-4.

“I usually like playing the first match, but I didn’t start off the way I wanted to,” Sharapova said. “Nothing was working.”

“Nothing was working in the first set,” Sharapova said. “Yeah, that’s just the way it went in the beginning.

“She’s a different type of opponent. There aren’t too many girls that hit a slice backhand 90% of the time in the rallies. You expect that because she’s been around for a long time, and it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, but I wasn’t doing too much from my end and made a lot of mistakes from the first ball, which gives your opponent that confidence and the time they need to do whatever they want.

“It was about finding that combination of getting something in to give her something to play with.”

Sharapova’s momentum carried over into the final set where she kept her errors low and her aggression high, dropping only one more game.

Final stats for Sharapova- 36 unforced errors, 13 winners and 10 double-faults.

Sharapova will play the woman she lost to in the 2011 Wimbledon finals, No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals. Kvitova regrouped to stop Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-0, 6-0.

“We haven’t played for a long time, but we have always had interesting, tough matches against each other,” Sharapova said about her next opponent.  “I think we know what to expect from one another.  She’s always tricky because she is a lefty.  You don’t play so many out there.  I already had one in this tournament, so maybe that was good practice for it.

“She has a different game than someone like Safarova.  She has a powerful game and goes for her shots, and when she’s on it’s tricky to play against her.”

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Maria Sharapova Wins Thriller over Lucie Safarova to Advance at Sony Open

Sharapova fh

(March 22, 2014) Maria Sharapova was pushed hard by Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-2 in a three hour contest to move into the round of 16 at the Sony Open. The No. 4 seed won the match on her ninth match point over a pesky opponent, 56 minutes after her first match point, which came in the second set tiebreaker.

Safarova saved 6 match points against Sharapova in the final game of the match with a series of winners.

“There are so many emotions and there are so many ups and downs,” Sharapova said. “You finish off the first set and then I was down a couple of breaks in the second.  Then I brought it back up, and then I had my chances to win that match.  And then it went to a third.

“So of course you’re going through a lot, that I was really happy that I was able to come back after losing the second set and not letting that affect me, although it’s always challenging to know that you had the match so close.”

At the end of the match, instead of the traditional handshake, the women exchanged hugs.

“She was coming up with some really good shots,” said the winner.  “There was not really much that I could do.

“She’s going for her shots and she was hitting winners on the run.  I tried to stay focused, and I think I did a good job of that.  It would have been very easy to let that game go.

“I’m happy to be sitting here winning the match,” the Russian said in press.  “Obviously it was tough to lose that second set after having a couple of match points, but I was really happy with the way I came out.”

Both Sharapova and top seed Serena Williams’ matches were three-set thrillers. Williams stopped Caroline Garcia 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

Serena Williams Pushes Past Caroline Garcia into Miami Round of 16

In the past, early round matches for the women were considered by some as “warm ups” for the rest of the tournament. Sharapova said that nowadays that’s not the case and that women’s tennis is much more competitive.

“I’d say five years ago I’d say you’d consider the first couple of rounds as a warmup to the tournament,” said the fourth seed.  “You don’t see that now.  You don’t see players that are seeded playing the first round, but they have had great wins.

“Someone like (Caroline) Garcia, she’s played three sets against me.  She’s an up and comer and playing really well.

“So we all know that everyone can play, and that’s really why there is a draw and the net goes up in the morning, is because you have to play those matches.

“But it is exciting for women’s tennis.”

In other women’s action on the day:

No. 9 seed Sara Errani fell to Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

Kirsten Fipkens advanced into the next round when No. 14 seed Sabine Lisicki withdrew from the tournament due to the flu.

Other seeds advancing on the day were No. 5 Angelique Kerber who beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-0, 6-2, No. 12 seed Ana Ivanovic who topped Indian Wells winner No. 20 seed Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-3, No. 8 Petra Kvitova who beat teen qualifier Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4.

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