Maria Sharapova has probably spent more of her life in Florida than she has in her native Russia but success at the Miami Open continues to elude the world No 2.
Sharapova has lost all five of the finals she has reached at Crandon Park, but this year she did not even make it past her first hurdle after losing to wild card Daria Gavrilova.
Sharapova’s fellow Russian, who broke into the world’s top 100 for the first time this week, won 7-6, 6-3 to claim her first victory over a top-10 opponent.
“I have been dreaming about beating Maria since I was probably 12, when I saw her win Wimbledon,” Gavrilova said afterwards. “She was my idol. She was just huge in Russia.”
Sharapova admitted she had gone into the match knowing little about Gavrilova. “She runs a lot of balls down,” Sharapova said afterwards. “I was committing a lot of errors off those balls, and not really staying patient and just going for too many winners.”
Gavrilova, who is only 5ft 5in tall, broke Sharapova four times. Sharapova could not find any rhythm on her returns. One of the key moments of the match came when Sharapova missed a routine overhead when trailing 5-4 in the first-set tie-breaker.
Also in Miami, Andy Murray cruised into the third round of the men’s competition with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Donald Young last night.Reuse content