Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Sharapova steps up, Safina resurgent.
“I started like I didn't have my cup of coffee or something, didn't have my peeps around, so that was disappointing,” she said. “I got it together.”
Sharapova, who spent nearly three hours on court in her opening match against Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues, rolled through six straight games to win the first set and broke Rezai two more times in the second to close out the win in one hour and 13 minutes.
“It was a very different opponent to someone I played in the first round who maybe hit a lot of balls,” she said. “This is someone who can hit a winner from any part of the court really, and you just have to be ready and try to make her hit another shot. When she's on, she can be one of the toughest players to play against. She had a lot of errors today. But overall it was solid. I had good return games, I returned a lot better, and served a lot better in the second set.”
The 23-year-old Sharapova won the Indian Wells title in 2006 with victory over Elena Dementieva in the final.
“I still managed to win a match, so that's a good thing,” said Safina. “Apart from that, I still stayed tough mentally. I said, 'okay, it's not my day on serving, but it might be on the baseline.'”
The former WTA No. 1 had come into the week ranked No. 108, and admitted following her second round win over two-time champion Daniela Hantuchova on Saturday that she’d briefly contemplated retirement earlier this season.
“Definitely it's a nice feeling to get it back,” she said. “It's been a while since I [had] these feelings, after winning the match that you really can smile and you can enjoy the win. Many things have happened, so I want to just enjoy the moment.”
No. 18 seed Nadia Petrova was the fourth Russian woman to win in third-round action Monday, ousting the last American standing, 18-year-old wild card Christina McHale, 3-6 6-4 6-2 in two hours and four minutes.
Petrova will play China’s Peng Shuai for a place in the quarter-finals. The 36th-ranked Peng needed two hours to get past Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka 6-3 4-6 7-5.