Sharapova maintains supremacy over Shahar; Federer bounced

By
May 13, 2011 06:18

Shahar Pe’er is still searching for her first victory over Maria Sharapova after suffering her fifth straight defeat to the Russian.

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Shahar Peer

Peer 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Shahar Pe’er is still searching for her first victory over Maria Sharapova after suffering her fifth straight defeat to the Russian on Thursday, losing 6-2, 6-2, in the third round of the Italian Open in Rome.

The 24-year-old Israeli, ranked No. 14 in the world, took an early 2-0 lead in Thursday’s match, but lost her way after that, dropping the next nine games and taking just two of the final 14 games of what quickly became a one-sided affair.

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Pe’er’s biggest problem on Thursday was coping with Sharapova’s serve, with the world No. 8 getting 79 percent of her first serves in, winning 26 of 30 points.

Pe’er will next play in the Brussels Open in Belgium in what will be her final tune-up tournament ahead of the start of the second Grand Slam event of the year at Roland Garros on May 22.

In other action, Roger Federer failed to make the quarterfinals of a tournament for the first time in a year after he was knocked out of the Rome Masters by Frenchman Richard Gasquet on Thursday.

The world No. 3 took the first set 6-4 but lost the next two sets against the 16th seed on tiebreaks (7-2) and (7-4) in a superb match of clean-hitting strokes.

“I should never have lost this match,” the 16- times Grand Slam champion told reporters. “He knows how close he came to losing. I had multiple chances but I couldn’t make the difference.

“I thought I was playing well but he served better towards the end and hung in there. I didn’t feel I could break and it’s no fun to play like that,” said the Swiss, who was knocked out by Ernests Gulbis in the second round in Rome last year.

“I’m looking forward to a few days off to stay mentally and physically fresh and practice very hard. The same thing happened last year.”

World No. 1 Rafa Nadal returned to form with a 6-4, 6-2, win over compatriot Feliciano Lopez despite almost withdrawing with a fever, while fourth-seeded Andy Murray also progressed.

Reuters contributed to this report


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