Friday, July 29, 2011

Serena, Sharapova set to meet

   The dream matchup is set.
   Former world No. 1s Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet tonight at 8 in the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
   The unseeded Williams advanced with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Maria Kirilenko of Russia on Thursday. Sharapova, the second seed and 2010 runner-up, had beaten Daniela Hantuchova on Wednesday night to reach the quarters.
   Williams is 6-2 against Sharapova with five consecutive victories. At 17 years old, Sharapova stunned Williams, the two-time defending Wimbledon champion, to win the 2004 title there.
   Both players have come back from extended layoffs. Sharapova missed almost 10 months in 2008 and 2009 because of chronic shoulder pain that required surgery. Williams returned in June after sitting out for 11 months because of foot injuries and life-threatening blood clots in her lungs.
   "You can never rest against Serena," Sharapova said. "She hasn’t played in quite a while, but she’s still a great competitor. At the end of the day, she has 13 Grand Slam (singles) titles, and I have three. That says a lot."
   Said Williams: "I’m sure we’ll both go out and do the best each of us can. It’s nothing personal. It’s my job, and I want to get paid. I leave it on the court."
   Another player climbing back up the rankings after a long absence, Marina Erakovic of New Zealand, stunned top seed and defending champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. Azarenka was playing her first singles match since reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon.
   Erakovic, a qualifier ranked No. 121, was sidelined for six months because of a left hip injury in 2009.
   "I went into a slump just before the injury and was beginning to question whether this tennis thing was for me," Erakovic said. "The injury made me realize how much I love tennis, and that’s when I committed myself. Coming back, I feel like I can  compete with the best."
   Unseeded German Sabine Lisicki, another first-time Grand Slam semifinalist at Wimbledon, knocked off fourth-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-3, 7-5. Stosur had reached the semifinals at Stanford in each of the past two years.     
   Second-round singles
   (Q) Marina Erakovic (NZL) d. (1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 46 75 62.
   Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. (4) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 63 75.
   Ayumi Morita (JPN) d. (Q) Urszula Radwanska (POL) 46 75 61 (saved 3mp).
   Serena Williams (USA) d. Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 62 36 62.
   Doubles quarterfinals
   (2) Azarenka/Kirilenko (BLR/RUS) d. Rodionova/Rodionova (AUS/RUS) 63 61.
   Aoyama/Fujiwara (JPN/JPN) d. Cibulkova/Date-Krumm (SVK/JPN) 36 64 10-6 (Match TB).

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