WUHAN (AFP) – Fourth seed Maria Sharapova crashed out of the $2.4 million WTA Wuhan Open Wednesday in two sets Wednesday, while world number eight Angelique Kerber crushed her opponent to make the quarter-finals.
Sharapova was defeated by Timea Bacsinszky in a tight game, losing the first set at the tie break and the second 7-5 — a result which broke the hearts of the local crowd who were supporting the Russian world number four.
The tournament has already suffered the loss of a string of seeds, including world number one Serena Williams, and local hero Li Na announced her retirement days before it started.
Switzerland’s Bacsinszky will go on to play either Casey Dellacqua of Australia or Denmark’s world number eight Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals.
Kerber, the seventh seed in Wuhan, lost only two games in her match with Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, winning 6-1, 6-1.
French players Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet also made it through to the quarter-finals.
Cornet took the first set against Belgian Kirsten Flipkens at the tie-break before she was given a shock in the second, in which she won only one game.
But the world number 22 appeared more dominant in the third set, finally sealing victory with a scoreline of 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 6-3.
Garcia continued her fine run at Wuhan with victory over Coco Vandeweghe.
The 20-year-old rising star, who claimed the scalp of world number six Caroline Radwanska in the second round, defeated the American 6-3, 6-2 to make it through to the quarter-finals.
But it was a sad day for Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, another player who performed heroics in the second round, after she withdraw from her third-round match with gastritis before a ball was hit.
Muguruza had defeated second seed Simona Halep in the second round.
Her opponent, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, will meet Kerber in the quarters.
The Wuhan Open in the central province of Hubei features the world’s top 20 women players and reaches its climax on Saturday.
Among the remaining seeds are Canadian Eugenie Bouchard (6) and Petra Kvitova (3) of the Czech Republic, who play their third-round matches later Wednesday.
Cornet will face Bouchard while Garcia will meet Kvitova in the quarters if the seeds win.