Safina sends Sharapova crashing
Russia's Dinara Safina mounted an astonishing comeback from a set and 2-5 down to send top seed Maria Sharapova crashing out of the French Open in an epic fourth round battle on Monday.
Safina triumphed 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, saving a match point along the way, in a tie which lasted almost three hours and will now meet fellow Russian Elena Dementieva, the seventh seed, for a place in the semi-finals.
The victory echoed Safina's three-set win over Sharapova at the same stage in 2006 when she recovered from 1-5 down in the final set to triumph.
Sharapova, who still needs a French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam, went into the tie still searching for top gear on the testing Paris clay on which her best performance came last year when she made the semi-final.
The 21-year-old needed three sets to get past her first and second round opponents while Safina, who came into Paris on a high after winning the Berlin claycourt event, had won all three previous rounds in straight sets.
Sharapova broke to lead 4-3 in the first set when a Safina double fault, topped off by a crunching crosscourt backhand, put the top seed in charge.