Sharapova Loses First Ranking Place After Defeat by Zvonareva
Defending champion Maria Sharapova was knocked out of the Pacific Life Open on Tuesday, a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss to Vera Zvonareva, The Associated Press news agency reports. The defeat will cost Sharapova her No. 1 ranking.
Sharapova was beaten in the fourth round and needed to reach the Indian Wells semifinals to remain No. 1. She will be supplanted by Justine Henin when the rankings are released Monday. Henin, who is not at this tournament, won two recent events in the Middle East.
The 19-year-old Sharapova was playing her first event since withdrawing from her semifinal at Tokyo last month with a strained left hamstring.
She struggled in a match between Russians. The 22-year-old Zvonareva, ranked No. 20, won for third time in seven matches against Sharapova.
Sharapova had 13 double-faults and 47 unforced errors. She was up 5-3 in the second set and serving for the match when Zvonareva suddenly took control, winning eight consecutive games and 10 of the final 11.
Frequently looking off-balance while serving, Sharapova bounced her second serve into the net on one of her two double-faults in losing the sixth game of the third set.
The menâ€™s side of the tournament lost its No. 1 player Sunday when Guillermo Canas upset Roger Federer 7-5, 6-2 to end the Swiss starâ€™s 41-match winning streak.
Sharapova said she got a bit deflated when she couldnâ€™t close out the match against Zvonareva and, â€œShe just started swinging and wasnâ€™t making a lot of errors.â€
Ivan Ljubicic, who lost to Federer in the Indian Well quarterfinals last year after the Swiss star beat him in the fourth round in 2005, reached the quarterfinals again this time, defeating David Nalbandian 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.
No. 2 Rafael Nadal rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero in another fourth-round match.
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