Maria Sharapova was happy to play an 11am (US time) match on Monday, especially when her work day was already done by the time a mid-afternoon shower interrupted play.
“It’s nice to see all the players coming back in the locker room, and I’m like, ‘I’ll see you later,’” she said.
Sharapova started early but didn’t start well. She won only five points in the first four games before settling down to reach the quarterfinals at the Sony Open by beating Kirsten Flipkens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
The world’s top-ranked players had an easier time. Serena Williams eliminated fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-1.
Sharapova, meanwhile, endured her second successive ragged three-setter and found herself trailing 4-0 after only 15 minutes.
“I usually like playing the first match, but I didn’t start off the way I wanted to,” she said. “Nothing was working.”
Williams seems to be gaining momentum as the tournament unfolds, as usual. She overcame sloppy patches in her first two matches and committed only one unforced error in the second set against Vandeweghe.
But Williams was impressed with the 22-year-old American, and told her so when they met at the net after the match.
“She said, ‘Listen, you played so well. We’ve got to play doubles. We’d do so well,’” Vandeweghe said. Williams next plays No. 5-seeded Angelique Kerber, who beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. No. 8 Petra Kvitova rallied past No. 12 Ana Ivanovic, who double-faulted nine times in the final two sets and lost 3-6, 6-0, 6-0.