SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Sharapova Tested By Peer In Opener; Stosur Wins
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Second seed Maria Sharapova was tested early in her opening-round match at the Sony Ericsson Open Thursday, before easing past former semi-finalist Shahar Peer 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Stadium Court.
After dropping serve twice in the first set, Sharapova was broken just once over the next two sets, defeating Peer in two hours and 24 minutes to improve to a 6-0 record against the Israeli.
“She's a pretty tough opponent, especially for a first round, someone that you usually see being a seed in these types of events,” said Sharapova. “In the beginning, I was a bit sluggish. I didn't feel like I was moving my feet very well and she was controlling most of the points. And also not serving very [well] in the first set. So I think trying to be a bit more consistent was pretty much my game plan going into the next two sets.”
Sharapova is looking to win her first title of the season, having lost to Victoria Azarenka in both the Australian Open and Indian Wells finals. The Russian has reached the title match in Miami on three occasions, in 2005, 2006 and 2011.
The 24 year old will take on Sloane Stephens in the third round. The American qualifier topped No. 30 seed Sara Errani 3-6, 6-2, 7-5. In a match that saw 17 service breaks, Stephens tipped the scale with her ninth break of serve late in the third set to edge out the Italian in two hours and 37 minutes.
Sam Stosur, the sixth seed, dismissed qualifier Valeria Savinykh 6-4, 6-0 in just over an hour. The reigning US Open champion won 19 of her 22 first serve points and broke the Russian five times to advance.
The Australian will face Chanelle Scheepers next. Scheepers rallied to defeat 25th seed Anabel Medina Garrigues 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 in two hours and 10 minutes.
Eighth seed Li Na also cruised, beating qualifier Melinda Czink 6-2, 7-5. Na, who lost in the second round here last year, will square off against Iveta Benesova. The Czech battled past 2006 titlist Svetlana Kuznetsova 1-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(7).
In night-session action, fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki was unfazed in her opener, winning the final seven games en route to a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Wozniacki took all 10 of her first serve points in the second set to move to 3-0 versus the Czech.
Petra Cetkovska, the 29th seed, trailed Christina McHale 0-6, 0-4 before storming back to win 13 of 15 games, upending the American in two hours and 10 minutes.
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