Serena, Li reach quarters; Sharapova ousted in Rome

The Sports NetworkMay 14, 2014 

Rome, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - World No. 1 great Serena Williams and Australian Open champion Li Na were a pair of easy winners, while previously red-hot Maria Sharapova lost to a fellow former top-ranked star Thursday at the $2.6 million Italian Open.

The reigning Rome champion Williams waltzed past fellow American Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 6-2 in the night session on the clay at Foro Italico.

Williams beat Victoria Azarenka in last year's final for her second career title in the "Eternal City."

The 32-year-old's quarterfinal opponent on Friday will be unheralded Chinese Zhang Shuai.

Eleventh-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic took down the eighth-seeded two-time Rome champion Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 on Day 4.

Ivanovic is now 3-8 lifetime against Sharapova, who prevailed in a final in Stuttgart between the two just last month. The Russian also topped the Serb in a bout here in Rome two years ago.

Sharapova was seeking her third title in three events, having recently claimed championships in Stuttgart and last week in Madrid. She was a perfect 12-0 on clay this year and 48-3 on the dirt since 2012, with her only losses coming at the hands of Serena Williams, prior to Thursday.

The 27-year-old Sharapova was the back-to-back Rome champion in 2011 and 2012 and lost to Williams in last year's marquee finale.

Meanwhile, the second-seeded 2012 Rome runner-up Li eased past former U.S. Open champion, former Roland Garros runner-up and 2011 Rome finalist Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-1 at this French Open tune-up.

Also on Thursday, third-seeded Polish star Agnieszka Radwanska disappointed the Italian faithful by dismissing former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-1, sixth-seeded former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic knocked out 12th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-3 and 10th-seeded former Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani, of Italy, got past Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska 6-4, 7-6 (7-3). Jankovic titled here back-to-back in 2007 and 2008 and was the runner-up in 2010.

In a matchup of non-seeds, the aforementioned Zhang outlasted American qualifier Christina McHale 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

Friday's other quarterfinals will pit Li against Errani, Radwanska versus Jankovic and Ivanovic against 13th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service