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Safina sends Sharapova crashing

Russia's Dinara Safina mounts an astonishing comeback from a set and 2-5 down to send top seed Maria Sharapova crashing out of the French Open in fourth round battle.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Paris
UPDATED ON JUN 02, 2008 11:19 PM IST

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.

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