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Old Mar 21st, 2014, 03:04 AM   #1226
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 3

MIAMI, FL, USA - Maria Sharapova won a tough two-setter against recent first-time WTA champion Kurumi Nara in her opening match at the Premier Mandatory-level Sony Open Tennis on Thursday night.

The No.4-seeded Sharapova had to battle back from 1-3, 0-30 down in a marathon 64-minute second set to record a 63 64 victory against Nara, who won her first WTA title a few weeks ago in Rio de Janeiro.

"She made me work extremely hard," Sharapova said. "She's a really quick opponent, got a lot of balls back, as you saw, and she made me hit a lot. She made me try to do too much in certain situations.

"Sometimes I felt like I was doing the right mistakes and sometimes I felt like I should have been more patient, but I guess those are the situations you want to build that match confidence again."

Sharapova is coming off one of her tougher losses - a third round loss at Indian Wells, where she was the defending champion, and Camila Giorgi - the woman who beat her - was a qualifier in the draw.

The four-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.1 was asked where her confidence is right now.

"I still feel like a work in progress," Sharapova commented. "That match strength, when you're deep into the match and just in the later stages of matches, I think that's the thing that's hurt me in these last couple of months. But I've got to work through that. Nothing's just going to come to me.

"It's a challenge I have ahead of me, and I have to face it."

Next up for Sharapova is No.26 seed Lucie Safarova, who closed Vania King out in two, 63 76(2).

Sharapova leads Safarova in their head-to-head, 2-1, and has won their last two meetings.
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