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."
Manchester United official team photo: Antonio Valencia and Anderson pull the funniest faces
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt, including Danny Welbeck must be more clinical and Hector Bellerin debut
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 player ratings
Luis Suarez has given Liverpool's opponents more hope, says former striker Michael Owen
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly