Ninth seed Kerber crushes top gun Maria Sharapova in Paris quarters
Top seed Maria Sharapova crashed out of the WTA Paris Open in the quarter-finals yesterday after falling 6-4, 6-4 to German ninth seed Angelique Kerber. Sharapova had breezed past Kerber in straight sets en route to the Australian Open final last month but the 24-year-old exacted sweet revenge on the world number three at a disbelieving Pierre de Coubertin indoor arena.
Maria Sharapova returns to Angelique Kerber in the Paris Open quarter-final yesterday. Pic/AFP
Kerber, the world number 27, had never previously beaten a top-10 player and will now face either Belgian world number 29 Yanina Wickmayer or 21-year-old German qualifier Mona Barthel for a place in the final.
Playing in her first tournament since losing to Victoria Azarenka in the Melbourne final, Sharapova broke Kerber's serve twice in the opening set, only for the German left-hander to break back on both occasions.
Kerber, who reached the semi-finals at last year's US Open, produced some flashing groundstrokes to go 5-4 up but the loss of the first set was all Sharapova's doing.
Sharapova's shot-making took an erratic turn in a tight second set and after once again failing to protect an early break of serve, she tamely conceded defeat on Kerber's first match point with an over-hit backhand. The winner of that match will face Czech world number 51 Klara Zakopalova after she came from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 against sixth seed Julia Goerges.