Sharapova defeats Safarova to reach 3td round in Stuttgart, Errani out

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Top seed Maria Sharapova took to the court in the evening session at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart to play against 25th ranked Czech, Lucie Safarova, who had taken out Germany’s 28th ranked Mona Barthel in straight sets in the first round. Sharapova had a first round bye. In one of her toughest battles ever, it took the towering Russian three hours and nine minutes to overcome the leftie Czech 6-3 6-7 6-3. Sharapova took the first set, but allowed Safarova to build a 5-2 lead in the second set by out serving the Russian, but she let her lead slip and had to go to a breaker, which she won 7-3 to force a decider. Sharapova, as she has done so often in the past, upped her game and took the set to move safely into the third round.

In a surprise result, American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands got the better of 5th seeded Italian, Sara Errani. This match started late and ended very late – at 1:30am after an hour and three quarters on court. Mattek-Sands started playing her very aggressive game and ran away with the first set to love. The feisty Italian fought back for a 6-4 second set, but that effort seemed to drain her and the American took the set 6-2 to move into the quarters. Mattek-Sands easily got past Yanina Wickmayer in the first round while Errani had a bye.

Another home player, 47th ranked Sabine Lisicki, took almost an hour to win each set against 18th ranked Serbian Jelena Jankovic in another of the long and hard fought matches that characterised the night session. The final score was 7-6 (7-3) 7-5. Lisicki beat a qualifier in straights in the first round, while Jankovic defeated 8th seed Sam Stosur.

Earlier in the day, 7th seed Caroline Wozniacki’s first round conqueror Carla Suarez Navarro, the 23rd ranked Spaniard, was beaten by 37th ranked Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan who had taken out Roberta Vinci in the first round.

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