BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) – Top seeds Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic booked their places in the semi-finals of the Brisbane International in vastly contrasting fashion on Thursday.
While world number two Sharapova cruised past Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-3, Ivanovic was forced to recover from a horror start before edging Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Sharapova was in ominous form on Pat Rafter Arena as she overpowered Suarez Navarro in just 68 minutes. The top seeded Russian hit 32 winners in the match, 20 of those from forehands, as she set up a semi-final against unseeded Ukranian Elina Svitolina. Sharapova was all business on Thursday against a player who beat her in 2014.
“I’m always a little bit aware of girls that I lose to. I certainly know that she’s capable of playing really well, plays defence great and makes you hit a lot of balls,” Sharapova said.
“Especially on a slower court like here, you just don’t want to give her that much time.
“I thought I did a good job of that — maybe made a little bit too many unforced errors in the beginning, but then got a good rhythm and finished strong.”
Svitolina earlier came from a set and 0-3 down to upset third-seeded German Angelique Kerber 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. The 20-year-old was staring a second round exit in the face when Kerber had a break point to go ahead 4-0 in the second set.
But the German hit a simple forehand long and Svitolina began to claw her way back.
“I was not really thinking about the score, I was just trying to play every single point as the last one,” she said.