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Old Jan 5th, 2011, 10:06 AM   #1272
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

Sloppy Sharapova battles


She was almost pushed to a surprise third set in a shabby showing but Maria Sharapova is safely through to the ASB Classic's quarterfinals.
This match was never supposed to test the three-time Grand Slam winner, but it did, for a brief moment.
After recovering from 3-1 down to take the first set, Sharapova was forced to grunt hard and long in the second as world No. 81 Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic broke her three times to take shock a 5-3 lead.
"A little bit sloppy, certainly a bit up and down. It was lucky I hung in there," the world No.18 said of her second round performance on Wednesday.
Sharapova's toss and serve self-destructed in a strong Auckland breeze – she had a poor 66 percent first-serve ratio and nine double faults.
"I didn't serve that great especially in the second set, but I felt like on the big points I really adjusted," she explained.
"My toss was all over the place but when I needed it I was consistent and did the right things."
Not until a mid-match chat with her coach did the top-seed find her tenacious touch, winning the next five games to seal the match 6-3, 7-5 in one hour 41 minutes.
Moving in from the baseline and attacking the ball with an aggressive attitude was the advice.
"Immediately she [Voracova] stepped back a few metres and I was able to take control of the points," the 23-year-old superstar said.
"It was up and down in the second set. We kept breaking each other.
"I was a little bit late on everything and wasn't doing much in order to hurt her."
There were moments of brilliance from the Russian blond bombshell as she cranked up her powerful forehand but for the most part, more is expected.
Sharapova admitted as much – not impressed with her rustiness, but finding a way to win when she barely got out of second gear had to be positive.
"On days like this you have to be happy you're giving yourself the opportunity to play another match."
Finishing off opponents would gain greater importance as the tournament progressed.
That next challenger is Greta Arn of Hungary, who advanced with a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory over eighth-seed Sofia Arvidsson.
And Spain's ninth-seed Carla Suarez Navarro lost to impressive 18-year-old Brit Heather Watson.
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