Maria Sharapova gains quarters

Updated: September 26, 2012, 6:23 AM ET
Associated Press

TOKYO -- Two-time champion Maria Sharapova overpowered Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 7-6 (5) Wednesday to advance to the Pan Pacific Open quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Russian was coming off a tough, three-hour win over British qualifier Heather Watson on Tuesday, while Safarova advanced to the third round on a walkover.

Sharapova coasted through the first set and led 3-0 before Safarova mounted a comeback, breaking Sharapova three times to take a 6-5 lead.

Sharapova broke Safarova in the final game to force a tiebreaker, which she won with an ace after 1 hour, 43 minutes.

"After a long match yesterday I was really happy to win in two sets," Sharapova said. "I had a bit of a letdown in the second set but was really happy that I could close it out in the tiebreaker."

Sharapova will face Sam Stosur in the quarterfinals. The eighth-seeded Australian beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-4, 7-5.

In other matches, Sara Errani of Italy beat Marion Bartoli 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, while Nadia Petrova of Russia beat Petra Martic of Croatia 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4.

After struggling in the first set, the sixth-seeded Errani broke Bartoli in the second game of the second set and never looked back.

"It was a tough match on this fast court," said Errani, who has won three titles this year. "I didn't start off well but neither did she. She got a little tired in the second set and that's when I started to play better."

Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka was scheduled to face Roberta Vinci of Italy later Wednesday.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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