Sharapova suffers stunning French Open defeat
Maria Sharapova suffered one of the worst defeats of her career on
Tuesday when she was beaten 6-0, 6-2 by Slovakiaís Dominika Cibulkova in
the French Open quarter-finals.
It was the former world number oneís heaviest loss since she went
down 6-1, 6-1 to Serena Williams in the fourth round in Miami in 2007.
It could have been a lot worse for sportís most highest-profile woman
as Cibulkova, playing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final, had a match
point to complete a 6-0, 6-0 humiliation before the Russian managed to
put two games together to stop the rot. Sharapova saved three more match
points in the 12th game of the second set before her resistance crumbled
with a netted forehand.
Cibulkova, the 20th seed, will now will face top seed Dinara Safina,
who earlier put out Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, for a place in the
final. Sharapova, playing only her second tournament since a 10-month
lay-off because of a shoulder injury, was bidding to reach her second
semi-final following a run to the 2007 last four.
The Russian star, whose ranking slumped to 104 in the world during
her time off the tour, had won both her previous matches against the
pint-sized, 20-year-old Cibulkova and both were on clay.
But Cibulkova, 11 inches (27cm) shorter than the glamorous Russian,
was in complete control of the quarter-final, breaking in the first,
third and fifth games of the opening set.
The Slovakian was then quickly 1-0 ahead before receiving a code
violation for taking too long between points. It didnít throw her off
her stride, however, as she quickly went to 5-0 ahead before squandering
her first opportunity to serve for the match.
She wasnít to be denied in the eighth game and slumped to the dirt
surface of Court Suzanne Lenglen in celebration.
Sharapova finished with 27 unforced errors to her opponentís tidy
World number one Dinara Safina reached the French Open semi-finals on
Tuesday with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Belarusian ninth seed Victoria
Azarenka, whose hair-trigger temperament fell apart.