Down To Eight In Auckland
Published January 05, 2011 12:00
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Maria Sharapova and Yanina Wickmayer were made to work, but both made it through to the quarterfinals of the ASB Classic on Wednesday, keeping hopes alive for a final between the Top 2 seeds.
Sharapova was the first of the top pair to advance, coming from behind in both sets to beat Renata Voracova in straight sets, 63 75. Voracova, who saved five match points to win her first round match, led 3-1 in the first set and 5-3 in the second set of her match with Sharapova, but Sharapova was too tough, winning five games in a row in the first set then four in a row to take the second.
Sharapova is playing the ASB Classic for the first time. "I wanted to start the season on a different note and had heard incredible things about New Zealand. Of all the places I've been around the world, I had never been here. I usually play in Hong Kong this week but this year I wanted to change it up a little bit."
Wickmayer, the No.2 seed this week, followed Sharapova into the final eight later in the day, losing the middle set but finishing strong for a 62 36 62 win over qualifier Sabine Lisicki. Wickmayer has now won seven straight matches here, going 5-0 to win the title last year and now 2-0 so far this year.
The other four seeds in action were all ousted, beginning with No.3 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, who fell to Peng Shuai, 26 64 64. No.7 seed Elena Vesnina had to retire down 4-0 in the third set of her match against Simona Halep due to illness; No.8 seed Sofia Arvidsson led 64 53 with five match points but eventually fell to Greta Arn, 46 75 75; and No.9 seed Carla Suárez Navarro lost out to British qualifier Heather Watson, 76(5) 61.