Sharapova reaches DFS semifinals
Maria Sharapova beats 16-year-old Tamira Peszak 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 before thrashing Elena Likhovtseva 6-2, 6-3.sports Updated: Jun 17, 2007 21:18 IST
Maria Sharapova reached the DFS Classic semifinals by beating two opponents on Saturday -- 16-year-old Tamira Peszak 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 and then Elena Likhovtseva 6-2, 6-3.
With rain postponing her third-round match against Peszak for two days, the top-seeded Sharapova will have to win four matches in two days if she is to capture the grass court warm-up for Wimbledon.
"Mentally, you have to be ready for a very long day. You have to be ready no matter how many stops there are," Sharapova said. "But it's difficult to come out not having played for two days, cold turkey. I got sloppy in the first match, but I was much better in the second.
"In the second match, I stepped in more. I only wanted to get rhythm out there, which is difficult when you are still not comfortable moving around out there."
Peszak used the drop shot to upset Sharapova's rhythm at the back of the court rather than try to out-rally her. She was helped by Sharapova double-faulting when ahead 4-3 and 30-15 in the second set.
"I guess I lost concentration a little bit," Sharapova said. "And Tamira started getting on top and hitting the ball well, and I was glad I played a really solid third set.
Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, missed two months earlier this year due to a right shoulder injury and hopes her crowded schedule doesn't aggravate it.
"It will be important to recover physically," she said. "The shoulder was a little bit heavy today, but I hope it will recover." Sharapova will next play either third-seeded Daniela Hantuchova or fifth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France, as their match was suspended. Hantuchova won the first set 7-5, and Bartoli the second 6-4.
Hantuchova had earlier beaten Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the third round.
Also, third-ranked Jelena Jankovic overcame an injured neck to beat sixth-seeded Alona Bondarenko from Ukraine 6-4,6-3 and advance to the semifinals against eighth-seeded Mara Sanatangelo of Italy. Sanatangelo won 6-2,7-5 over fourth-seeded Li Na, who became the first Chinese player to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event at last year's Wimbledon.