Russia’s 3rd seeded Maria Sharapova played Portugal’s 131 ranked qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito. Both players live in Bradenton, Florida; went to the Bollettieri Tennis Academy; and are very loud on court. They had never met before. The Russian’s 2013 win/loss record in 2013 was 36-5, her opponent’s 9-12. De Brito got a break in the first set to lead 3-1 and again in the 7th game, when she broke the Russian to love and went on to take the set 6-3. De Brito broke in the 3rd game of the second set and, when leading 4-3, Sharapova required a nine minute medical time out after slipping three times, indicating the umpire that the court was dangerous. Despite Sharapova reducing De Brito’s lead to 5-4, the Portuguese finally served out a spectacular set 6-4 on her 5th match point to a standing ovation. Her tactics worked well, as she had the Russian running back and forth, resulting in 18 unforced errors to De Brito’s 9.
Elsewhere, wild card holder Andrea Petkovic of Germany, ranked at 76, played 17th seeded American Sloane Stephens. The German’s year to date win/loss record was 15-6, while her opponent’s was 19/13. Petkovic won their only previous match on a hard court in 2011, but the American has come a long way since then. Petkovic won her opening game and long games ensued, all on serve, until the breaker, which Stephens won 7-2. The German started the second set and broke immediately. She went on to allow her opponent just two games before closing out the set at 6-2. Stephens started the decider and broke in the 4th game to lead 3-1, but the German got back to 3-4 and levelled at 5-5. Another breaker ensued, which Stephens won 8-6.
Two Serbs met on Court 1 – 16th seed Jelena Jankovic and 97th ranked Vesna Dolonc. Never having met before, their win/loss stats for this year were 28-11 and 15-15 respectively. Jankovic began the match and got the first break in the 6th game to go 4-2 and then 5-2 and 40-15 ahead, but Dolonc took the next five games to take the set 7-5. She continued her run with another two games on the trot before Jankovic got a game in the second set. A ten minute long game saw Dolonc go to 3-1 and she broke again to go 5-2 up with her serve to come and made no mistake in serving out the set at 6-2 for the biggest win of her career.
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