Sharapova slogs to get past Daniilidou in Linz

LINZ (Austria): Maria Sharapova withstood a strong first set from Greek qualifier Eleni Daniilidou before moving into the quarter-finals of the Linz Open with a 7-5, 6-1 victory yesterday. 

The top-seeded Russian showed little patience and made several careless errors against an enterprising opponent. 

Daniilidou earned two break points to lead 4-2 but Sharapova held them off and then won a break to go 6-5 in front with a crosscourt backhand winner. 

Sharapova had to survive another break point, saved with a backhand winner, before clinching the set with her seventh ace. 

The Russian broke Daniilidou from 40-0 to lead 1-0 in the second set and her opponent then called for medical attention for dizziness and a headache. 

Having won five consecutive points, Sharapova then took six more before Daniilidou began to compete again. But her challenge was muted and Sharapova broke to lead 4-1 with a winning return, and again for the match when a Daniilidou backhand volley fell wide. 

Sharapova will next play fifth-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic, who defeated Polish qualifier Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-2. 

Ivanovic made a tentative start, allowing Radwanska to hold to love and then having to fend off three break points before she held for 1-1. 

But then she snapped into gear, breaking for 2-1 with a blistering return, and after holding off a break point for 3-3 with her fourth ace of the match she broke again for 5-2. 

Although Ivanovic was broken twice in the second set, Radwanska failed to hold her serve at all. 

Sixth-seeded Serb Jelena Jankovic also advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 win over Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina. – Reuters 

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