World No. 3 Maria Sharapova slumped to a surprise 6-4, 6-4 defeat against German Angelique Kerber in the Paris Open quarter-finals on Friday.
The top seeded Russian broke first in both sets, but failed to take her chances and was eventually eliminated when she hit a forehand out on match point.
“It was a hard day. She played extremely well,” Sharapova told reporters. “I was not as aggressive as I would have liked to be and she has a lot of power.”
Sharapova, who reached the final of the Australian Open last month, denied she took Kerber lightly.
“I did not underestimate her. She has been playing very well for six months,” the Russian said. “You would like to be in the final in every tournament you play, but let’s be realistic, the positive thing is I have the feeling I can play better than this.”
Kerber was delighted after beating a top five player for the first time in her career.
“I played very well. I just played my game, that was my plan,” ninth seed Kerber said.
The world No. 27 next meets Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, who beat German Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 in their late -quarter-final clash.
Local hope Marion Bartoli was trailing 4-1 in the second set and 5-2 in the third and needed to show tremendous grit to battle back and beat Italy’s Roberta Vinci 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
The second seed will meet Klara Zakopalova in the last four after the Czech beat sixth seed Julia Goerges of Germany 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first