Fri, Mar 25, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Daniilidou to face No 2 seed Sharapova

NASDAQ-100 Russia's Vera Douchevina defeated Frenchwoman Emilie Loit while Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain took care of the American Brendan Evans


Eleni Daniilidou beat Tathiana Garbin 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 on Wednesday, the opening day of the NASDAQ-100 when all the seeds had the afternoon off.

Vera Douchevina of Russia defeated Frenchwoman Emilie Loit 6-3, 6-3 in other women's play and the US' Marissa Irvin eliminated Spaniard Magui Serna 6-3, 7-5. Douchevina will next face Serena Williams, who is seeking her fourth consecutive Key Biscayne title.

Nicole Pratt of Australia defeated Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-3, 6-2, while Meghann Shaughnessy of the US downed Ukraine's Yuliana Fedak 6-3, 6-0.

Daniilidou will next face No 2 seed Maria Sharapova, who like many of the top players at the US$3.1 million event, enjoyed the time off.

Sharapova spent her time on Wednesday morning sitting in a chair in the hazy sunshine, yawning and stretching.

All seeded entrants received an opening-round bye in the 12-day event.

In men's play, 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain beat the US' Brendan Evans 6-2, 6-4. Robby Ginepri of the US swept Italy's Filippo Volandri 7-6 (4), 6-1 and James Blake of the US beat Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark 6-3, 6-2.

Fernando Verdasco of Spain defeated Dutchman Peter Wessels 6-4, 7-5 and will next face defending champion Andy Roddick. Iraki Labadze of Georgia beat Morocco's Younes El Aynaoui 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 and will play No. 3-seeded Marat Safin in the second round.

Sharapova lost 6-0, 6-0 to Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals of the Pacific Life Open last week. It was an astounding drubbing for the reigning Wimbledon champion, who won just 23 points while committing 25 unforced errors.

"That's just part of our sport. You're not going to be at your best all the time," the 17-year-old Sharapova said. "I didn't really find a way to fight out there. Usually I find a way to get a rhythm in the match, and I wasn't able to do that. It was good for me to take a few days off and forget about it."

Sharapova enters the tournament with a record of 17-2 this year. Her only other loss came in the semifinals of the Australian Open, when she failed to convert three match points against Williams.

"Whether I have three match points or it's 6-0, 6-0, it's a loss," Sharapova said. "I'm not going to win every single match in my career, but losses really motivate me."

She needs to reach the semifinals next week to have a chance at a rematch with Williams. They met for the first time a year ago at Key Biscayne, and Williams beat Sharapova 6-4, 6-3.

"That was a whole year ago," Sharapova said. "I learned a lot, and it definitely helped me."

Less than four months later, Sharapova upset Williams in the Wimbledon final. The Russian won again when they played in the final of the year-ending WTA Championships.

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