Maria Sharapova loses to Lucie Safarova in fourth round


Defending French Open champion Maria Sharapova loses to Lucie Safarova in fourth round.

PARIS, June 1 (Reuters) – Defending champion Maria Sharapova was knocked out of the French Open in the fourth round following a 7-6(3) 6-4 defeat by Czech 13th seed Lucie Safarova on Monday.

Lucie Safarova reached her second grand slam quarterfinal with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 victory over defending French Open champion Maria Sharapova on Monday.

Safarova brought Sharapova’s title defense to an abrupt end with some stunning forehand shots and resilient service games at Roland Garros.

A third break of the Sharapova serve in the match sealed the victory, Safarova having created her second match point with a cross-court forehand that the second seed could not get near.

Safarova had a solid start to the match with an early break in the third game, yet that seemed to spark Sharapova as the Russian raised her game as she fired some powerful groundstrokes from the baseline.

The second seed brought the match back on serve in the sixth as Safarova was forced into a mistake, and Sharapova looked in command as she combined piercing forehands with well-disguised lobs.

However, Safarova showed all her battling qualities to come from 40-15 down and force a tie-breaker, where she found some good angles with her ever-improving forehand to move ahead at the third attempt.

A wide groundstroke from Sharapova gave her opponent the set, and she continued to struggle at the start of the second as Safarova took the first three games.

The defending champion dug deep and levelled in the sixth game of set two with Safarova making a uncharacteristic error on her normally reliable forehand.

Yet after serving to love to open up a 5-4 lead, Safarova applied more pressure on her opponent’s serve and eventually Sharapova buckled.

Safarova’s cross-court forehands were causing the main problems. The Czech got power and accuracy into shots that Sharapova was unable to return.

Sharapova saved the first match point with a serve out wide, but two more forehands put Safarova through and denied the world No. 2 a fourth consecutive Paris final.

Safarova will meet Garbine Muguruza in the last eight after the Spaniard overcame Flavia Pennetta 6-3 6-4.