Sharapova scrapes into next round in Tokyo
Date published :
25 Sep 2012 - 14:21:33
French Open champion Maria Sharapova came from a set down to beat qualifier Heather Watson of Britain on Tuesday for a place in the third round at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
But there was no such luck for the fourth seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, who 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.
Sharapova needed more than three hours before finally seeing off the world number 78 Watson 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 6-4.
"I was not consistent enough. I had opportunities to win the first set and I didn't," said Sharapova, the world number two. "It wasn't the best quality match."
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."
Sharapova, 25, struggled with her serve throughout, hitting three double-faults in the 10th game of the first set.
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 Sharapova finally rallied, attacking Watson's second serve to hit a total of nine service return winners and finish off the match.
World number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus maintained her good form to beat Tamira Paszek of Austria 6-1, 6-1, while defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland whipped Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-2, 7-5.
A badly off-form Kvitova double-faulted three times to lose the opening game against Martic, then lost the first game of the second set to love and was never able to overcome an uphill battle throughout the 88-minute upset.
"She has a big serve and it is tough to push her. She kept me on the defensive and running a lot, and that's not my game. She played so well today, very aggressive," said Kvitova, 22.
Last year's French Open champion Li Na of China, seeded seventh, beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, while ninth seed Marion Bartoli of France defeated Germany's Julia Goerges 6-2, 7-5.