Paris - Top seed Maria Sharapova crashed out
of the WTA Paris Open in the quarter-finals on Friday after falling
6-4, 6-4 to German ninth seed Angelique Kerber.
breezed past Kerber in straight sets en route to the Australian Open
final last month but the 24-year-old exacted sweet revenge on the world
number three at a disbelieving Pierre de Coubertin indoor arena.
was a tough day because my opponent played really well," admitted
Sharapova. "I did have opportunities but I didn't take them today.
"I was up in both sets and I had breaks but she played extremely well - much better than I did, in any case.
wasn't as aggressive as I would have liked. She's someone who also
likes to go in and she has a good amount of power. She used that to her
advantage more than I did."
Kerber, the world number 27, had never
previously beaten a top-10 player and will now face either Belgian
world number 29 Yanina Wickmayer or 21-year-old German qualifier Mona
Barthel for a place in the final.
"It's amazing," said Kerber. "It's my first top-five win.
knew before the match that I had nothing to lose and my coach was
telling me: 'If you want to win this match, you'll have to play your
"I tried to do that and I'm very happy that I beat her and I'm in the semis."
in her first tournament since losing to Victoria Azarenka in the
Melbourne final, Sharapova broke Kerber's serve twice in the opening
set, only for the German left-hander to break back on both occasions.
who reached the semi-finals at last year's US Open, produced some
flashing groundstrokes to go 5-4 up but the loss of the first set was
all Sharapova's doing.
The Russian netted a simple volley to hand
her opponent a set point and then found the net again with an attempted
down-the-line forehand to gift Kerber an unexpected one-set lead.
shot-making took an erratic turn in a tight second set and after once
again failing to protect an early break of serve, she tamely conceded
defeat on Kerber's first match point with an over-hit backhand.
seed Marion Bartoli, the last Frenchwoman in the draw, came perilously
close to following Sharapova out of the tournament before fighting back
from 4-6, 1-4 down to defeat Italian seventh seed Roberta Vinci 4-6,
6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Roared on by her home crowd, the world number
seven battled from 5-2 behind in the deciding set to force a tie-break
before clinching a thrilling victory in two hours and 39 minutes.
will now face world number 51 Klara Zakopalova on Saturday, after the
Czech came from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 against German sixth seed
Julia Goerges, who appeared to be hampered by a left thigh injury in the