Millennium Post

Sharapova made to sweat hard

Sharapova made to sweat hard
French Open champion Maria Sharapova needed more than three hours to beat Heather Watson of Britain on Tuesday for a place in the third round at the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament.

The Russian lost a service break while up twice in each set before finally taking the tie 6-7 [7/9], 6-3, 6-4.

Sharapova, 25, struggled with her serve, hitting three double faults in the 10th game of the first set, having to save two set points against her.

She again hit three double faults, one while at advantage on set point at 6-5, and then missed two more points to take the set before losing it, hitting a service return into the net.

But the world number two rallied, attacking Watson’s second serve to hit a total of nine service return winners and finish off the match.

‘I was not consistent enough. I had opportunities to win the first set and I didn’t,. ‘It wasn’t the best quality match.’ said Sharapova.

The Russian hit nine aces but also had 14 double faults. ‘That certainly gave her a lot of confidence. I think that’s the reason why the match was so long. My percentage [of first serves] was very low as well,’ said the second seed. ‘So I put pressure on myself, I hit so many second serves. Certainly I have to improve for tomorrow,’ she added.

World number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus maintained her good form to beat Tamira Paszek of Austria 6-1, 6-1.

Fourth seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic became the biggest casualty of the day when the 2011 Wimbledon champion crashed to a 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Petra Martic of Croatia.

Kvitova, who double-faulted three times to lose the opening game, again lost the first game of the second set to love and was never able to overcome an uphill battle throughout the 88-minute upset.  Martic, 21, who reached the fourth round at the French Open, said: ‘It was my biggest win so far.

I beat a top-10 player at Roland Garros this year, but this is a very big win.  I’m really happy about this match.  ‘The last five or six days were really weird. My practices were really bad, I was struggling, I had no confidence,’ said Martic who will take win in her strides.
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