Forced to dig deep
4 January, 2018, 12:00 am
Maria Sharapova was made to work hard for a victory at the Shenzhen Open, coming from behind to beat unseeded American Alison Riske 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the second round on Tuesday.
The five-times grand slam champion fired 34 winners and saved seven out of 10 break points to get past her spirited opponent and set up a quarter-final clash with Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas who beat local hope Zhang Shuai 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4.
Twice a finalist at Shenzhen, Riske used power and precision to breeze through the first set and went up 2-1 in the second to leave Sharapova in trouble. The Russian then reeled off five of the next six games to level the contest at one set apiece.
Sharapova did not let the momentum slip in the deciding set, winning the final four games of the match to prevail in two hours and 22 minutes.
“I’m glad I got this kind of match,” Sharapova said.