WTA Stuttgart: Maria Sharapova and Li Na through to last eight

Last Updated: 26/04/13 7:37am

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Maria Sharapova: Needed three sets to reach the last eight in Stuttgart

Maria Sharapova: Needed three sets to reach the last eight in Stuttgart

Sky Bet

Maria Sharapova was made to work hard on her seasonal clay-court debut before eventually seeing off Lucie Safarova in the WTA Porsche Grand Prix.

The top seed and the reigning champion, Sharapova eventually triumphed 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 after three hours and nine minutes on court in Stuttgart to book her place in the quarter-finals.

The Russian waited until her fifth match point to finally get the better of Safarova. Her next opponent will be Ana Ivanovic, who defeated Nadia Petrova 6-4 6-3 in the second round.

"I've had a few three hour games in my career, so I knew I just had to keep fighting until the end," Sharapova said afterwards. "That's when it's the time to get the game-plan going and calm down a little bit."


Meanwhile, China's Li Na breezed into the last eight after defeating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in her first match of the clay-court season.

The second seed eased through 6-1, 6-2 against the Croatian in just 74 minutes before admitting she had one eye on the winner's prize - a brand-new Porsche sports car.

The Australian Open runner-up said: "I have a lot of room in my garage for a new car and it's a pretty nice car," joked Li.

"It's always tough when you change surface, so I'm excited to win my first match on clay for the season. Mirjana plays flat, so I had to prepare for that.

"I thought it would be a tough match because she has a lot of experience. I was happy I could play more aggressive and had the right game plan to win."

Li next faces former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who beat Germany's Julia Goerges 2-6, 7-6(7/4), 6-2 in her second round match.

Third-seed Angelique Kerber also had no problems as she blasted past Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova, who beat Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5 6-4.

Sabine Lisicki is also into the quarter-finals after she beat Jelena Jankovic in a hard-fought encounter.

Jankovic pushed the German all the way but eventually Lisicki's serve proved decisive as she sent down 11 aces, winning 70% of points on her first serve in a 7-6 (7/3) 7-5 victory.

In the night's final game, which finished well after 1.30am local time, qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands stunned fourth seed Sara Errani 6-0 4-6 6-1.

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WTA Stuttgart 2013

Maria Sharapova: Proved too hot for Li Na in Stuttgart

Sharapova sizzles in Stuttgart

Maria Sharapova successfully defended her WTA Porsche Grand Prix title with a straight sets victory against Li Na.

Maria Sharapova: Edged out home favourite Angelique Kerber

Sharapova into Stuttgart final

Top seed and defending champion Maria Sharapova made it through to the final of the Porsche Tennis GP in Stuttgart.

Maria Sharapova: Taken the distance for the second time in as many days

Sharapova into Stuttgart semis

Maria Sharapova overcame Ana Ivanovic in three sets to reach the semi-finals of the WTA Porsche Grand Prix.

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