Sharapova storms into last 16
Paris - Maria Sharapova stormed into the
French Open last 16 on Saturday, brushing aside China's Peng Shuai 6-2,
6-1, while semi-final rivals Li Na and Petra Kvitova laboured to reach
the second week.
Second seed Sharapova fired 27 winners past 28th seed Peng in a 66-minute Philippe Chatrier court demolition.
Russian, a semi-finalist in 2011, and seeking a French Open title to
complete a career Grand Slam, has lost just five games in three rounds.
She will next face Czech veteran Klara Zakopalova who put out Russian 22nd seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 7-5.
came in knowing that I was facing a tough opponent who has beaten me
before and against who I have played three sets," said Sharapova.
"She can really play, hits the ball really well, so I tried to keep her moving, tried to get her on the run."
Defending champion Li Na, the seventh seed, battled back to defeat America's Christina McHale 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
30-year-old Li had to draw upon her 10-year age gap to prevail over the
36th-ranked American, who had fallen in the first round in 2010 and
"She's a very dangerous player. I was happy I could win the
match today because I have more experience," said seventh-seeded Li, who
will face Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova for a place in the
Italian 14th seed Francesca Schiavone, the 2010
champion and runner-up to Li last year, lost 3-6, 6-3, 8-6 to America's
Varvara Lepchenko, the world number 63, who has reached the last 16 of a
Grand Slam for the first time.
Schiavone, the oldest player left in the tournament at 31, will lose her place in the world top 20 as a result of her defeat.
Lepchenko, who had defeated 19th seed Jelena Jankovic in the second
round, squandered the opportunity to serve for the match in the ninth
game of the decider, but held her nerve in the 14th.
It was the
26-year-old's second successive win over Schiavone, having also won in
three sets in the second round of the Madrid claycourt tournament in
"I was fighting till the end. She played amazing. It's her
court. I knew that she's not gonna give it for free. I had to work
really hard, and I did," said Lepchenko, who next tackles Petra Kvitova,
the fourth-seeded Czech.
Wimbledon champion Kvitova, 22, reached
the last 16 for the third time but she did it the hard way, serving up
eight double faults and committing 37 unforced errors in her 6-2, 4-6,
6-1 win over Russian world number 109 Nina Bratchikova.
She was only saved by her fierce, flatly hit groundstrokes which left the Portugal-based Bratchikova gasping.
"I started well, had a set already, and then I was very aggressive and I knew what I had to do," said Kvitova.
the second set I was still like, okay, if I play like the first set, it
will be fine. But it wasn't. She played much better than the first set.
She had a better serve, and it was tough to return."
pressure from the first shot that she played. I was running side to side
and that's not my game. So I had to change and be aggressive and put
her a little further back."
Also making the last 16 was Shvedova, a quarter-finalist in 2010, who eased past Spain's Carla Suarez-Navarro 6-4, 7-5.
Later Saturday, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, the ninth seed, meets Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
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