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Thursday, June 12, 2003
Sharapova reaches her first WTA quarterfinal

Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, England -- Russian teenager Maria Sharapova reached her first WTA Tour quarterfinal Thursday, beating 11th-seeded Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian 6-0, 7-5 at the DFS Classic.

And this time, she didn't upset anybody with her grunting.

Sixteen-year-old Sharapova followed up her straight-set win the previous day over No. 5 seed Nathalie Dechy.

She next faces top-seeded Russian Elena Dementieva, who rallied to beat Marion Bartoli of France 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Sharapova was warned Wednesday to tone down her high-pitched shrieking after complaints from Dechy and players on an adjacent court.

"I had it in my mind that this time I was going to be quiet -- and my dad said I played a much better game today," Sharapova said.

In other third-round matches, sixth-seeded former champion Lisa Raymond lost to No. 10 seed Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 6-2, 6-2 and Japan's Shinobu Asagoe ousted Els Callens of Belgium 7-6 (7), 6-1.

Sharapova overwhelmed Mikaelian in the first set with her strong ground strokes. Sharapova saved four break points at 1-2 in the second set. She hit a backhand winner down the line to earn three break points in the 11th game, converting the second with a deep service return. She served out the match in the next game.

"It's hard to say what level I am playing at, but I can say that it is a level higher than yesterday," Sharapova said. "It's good for me because it's telling me that I am getting stronger and perhaps I can raise my level to that of the top girls."