Maria Sharapova and Heather Watson out in Auckland
Thursday 06 January 2011
Top seed Maria Sharapova's flirtation with the New Zealand public came to a premature end today with a surprising 6-2 7-5 loss to unseeded Hungarian Greta Arn in the quarter-finals of the Auckland Classic.
The three-times grand slam winner, who had chosen to warm up for the Australian Open by entering the Auckland tournament rather than her normal schedule of playing exhibition matches, struggled with her rhythm in the swirling wind.
She was broken twice in the first set by the 31-year-old Arn and made numerous unforced errors in the second to crash out in a match lasting 91 minutes.
"I started off really slow, got down two breaks and I think she gained a tremendous amount of confidence from that," Sharapova told reporters. "I had my chances in the second (set), but I didn't play the same way I had played to get there.
"Obviously I would have loved to play a few more here and be the winner. But that's the way it goes. You look forward to the next one.
"That's the good thing about tennis."
Arn will now meet fourth-seeded German Julia Goerges who beat Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko 5-7 6-2 6-2 in the last quarter-final that was played in the final evening session of the tournament.
Sharapova's presence had helped effectively sell-out the tournament by the first day and her defeat disappointed those hoping for a final against champion and second seed Yanina Wickmayer.
Wickmayer had earlier made sure of her place in the semi-finals when she beat Romania's Simona Halep 6-0 6-2 in a little over an hour in the first match on centre court and set up a showdown with China's Peng Shuai, who beat British qualifier Heather Watson 6-4 7-5.
"I feel very happy, this is the first week of the year and I'm really happy to be playing well," said Wickmayer, who extended her unbeaten run in Auckland to eight matches. "I'm in the semis so I guess this tournament is lucky for me."
How Liverpool can catch Manchester United and secure Champions League football next season
Arsenal transfer news: Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini set for showdown summer talks over future
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger reveals: 'We are not close to signing anybody. We need to lose some players'
Danny Jones: Keighley Cougars half-back dies after cardiac arrest during league game
Chelsea season player ratings: Grading the entire squad of the new Premier League champions
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
In defence of liberal democracy
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils