rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Pan Pacific Open: Erroneous Sharapova stutters into pre-quarters

Pan Pacific Open: Erroneous Sharapova stutters into pre-quarters

Last updated on: September 25, 2012 16:47 IST

Maria Sharapova pushed the envelope on 'winning ugly' as she squeaked past British qualifier Heather Watson 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the last 16 of the Pan Pacific Open on Tuesday.

The French Open champion's performance bordered on the farcical at times, carelessly frittering away three set points to surrender the initiative before pulling off an escape act.

Maria Sharapova of Russia shows her frustration during her match against Heather Watson of Great Britain at the Pan Pacific Open on TuesdayLi Na, last year's Roland Garros winner, shrugged off a nasty cough to beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 and reach the third round of the $2.16 million Tokyo event.

Second seed Sharapova left herself with work to do after a string of double-faults and horror misses gift-wrapped the first set tiebreak to Watson 9-7.

The errors continued to mount but the Russian, her squealing growing increasingly louder with the effort, did just enough to restore parity by winning the second set.

A forehand miss gave Sharapova the break for 4-3 in the decider and the two-times Tokyo champion crawled over the line with a big forehand after three hours, nine minutes.

"I definitely felt rusty today," said Sharapova, who served 14 double-faults and finished with 67 unforced errors.

"It's one of those matches you're just happy to get through."

One of three Chinese players who made the trip to Tokyo despite a blazing political row between her country and Japan, Li's experience told after a wobble in the second set.

"I'm still not 100 percent," Li said.

"Just trying to stay healthy and taking (cough) medicine every morning and every night."

POLITICAL TENSIONS

Li's appearance in Tokyo was a relief for organisers after China withdrew its badminton players from last week's Japan Open amid tensions over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Playing on an outside court, Li lacked sharpness after a whirlwind book-signing tour in China following the release of her autobiography.

However, the 30-year-old saved her best for the big points, putting the match away by smashing a cross-court backhand into the corner after two hours, 37 minutes.

Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was bundled out in the first upset of the WTA premier five event, suffering a 6-4, 6-4 defeat by Croatia's Petra Martic.

The fourth seed squandered numerous opportunities against her 72nd-ranked opponent, who closed out the match with a fierce serve which almost knocked the Czech over.

"That was the biggest win of my career so far," smiled Martic. "The last five or six days have been really weird. I've played bad in practice and just couldn't do anything."

Martic next faces Russia's Nadia Petrova after the 17th seed beat Romania's Simona Halep 7-6, 6-0.

Nine of the world's top 10 women are appearing in the hardcourt tournament, US Open champion Serena Williams the only player absent.

Germany's Angelique Kerber made short work of Japanese wildcard Ayumi Morita, the fifth seed comfortably winning 6-3, 6-4 to reach the third round.

Sixth seed Sara Errani of Italy beat Sweden's Johanna Larsson 6-3, 7-6 and next faces Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli after the ninth seed's 6-2, 7-5 win over German Julia Goerges.

Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Source:
© Copyright 2014 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.