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Peng halts Sharapova’s Asian run in Beijing

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:46

Peng Shuai delighted the Beijing crowd by sending former world No.1 Maria Sharapova out in the third round of the China Open with a 6-2 6-4 victory.

A day after going three hours against Victoria Azarenka, Sharapova could not subdue a dogged performance from Peng.

But despite the defeat, the Russian took the positives from an eight-match run that saw her claim a first tournament win in 18 months last week in Tokyo.

“Exactly a year ago, I was going under the knife to get an operation on my shoulder” – Sharapova

“Exactly a year ago, I was going under the knife to get an operation on my shoulder, not doing well and wondering if I would ever be back playing tennis and hitting a tennis ball across the net,” Sharapova said afterwards.

“So, to be sitting here talking after losing a tennis match, you have to be pretty grateful about what you do and realise that you could be in a much worse situation.

“I’ve had matches where I didn’t feel like I was maybe at the level that I wanted to be but I was able to fight through that and get through it, and today was just not one of those days, unfortunately.”

Things will not get any easier for Peng, who could potentially face her third former world No.1 in succession as she chases a spot in the semi-finals.

The Chinese beat defending champion just 24 hours before facing Sharapova, and awaits the winner of Serena Williams’ match with Nadia Petrova.

Elsewhere, Svetlana Kuznetsova overcame a second set wobble to storm through 6-3 4-6 6-0 against Alona Bondarenko, to set up a meeting with compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter-finals.

The Russian followed up her victory over Venus Williams in the opening round with a 6-4 6-4 win over Canadian teenager Alexandra Wozniak.

Elena Dementieva booked her place in the last eight with a comprehensive 6-2 6-0 victory over Na Li.

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