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."
Petr Cech 'to ask' for Arsenal move to keep his family in London
England 'favourites' to host 2018 World Cup after Sepp Blatter resignation - Qatar and Russia under pressure
Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez saves female fan from police in amazing gesture
Sepp Blatter quits as Fifa president live: Chuck Blazer exposes decades of bribery and back handers in explosive testimony
Brendan Rodgers' job safe for now but Liverpool owners plan for improvement
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers