Sharapova loses, Serena wins in third round
TORONTO — In a season full of talk about the parity in women's tennis, unheralded Galina Voskoboeva became the latest to step up and prove that point.
The 26-year-old from Kazakhstan, ranked just 135th in the world, beat fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-5 on Thursday at the Rogers Cup as two recent Grand Slam champions also lost.
Voskoboeva, who cruised past Marion Bartoli and Flavia Pennetta to earn her date with Sharapova, beat the Russian veteran with lovely drop shots and had the 6-foot-2 Sharapova chasing balls back to the baseline all game long.
Sharapova became the latest casualty of a draw which has lost 11 of the 16 seeds.
"It makes for an exciting story because at the end of the day it doesn't matter what you're ranked or seeded, the reason we go out and play the matches is to know who's going to be the winner on that day," said Sharapova, who has 23 career singles titles — Voskoboeva reached her first career semifinal earlier this year.
"Whether you're No. 1 in the world or you're facing someone that's 100 or so, you still have to go out and win. That's what the sport is all about," Sharapova added.
Hours earlier, No. 6 seed Li Na was knocked out of the third round with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to No. 10 seed Samantha Stosur of Australia. Li became the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam singles title two months ago at the French Open.
Serena Williams advanced with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Chinese qualifier Zheng Jie. Williams showed off her powerful serve, firing 10 aces.
After a tough first set, Williams took the momentum in the second and dictated play from there.
"I decided that I had to like really relax and really calm down and just, you know, try to start playing better," Williams said. "She was really just playing well from the whole match. I just tried to do better."
At Montreal, some top players have shown signs of rust at the Rogers Cup, though not top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
The 24-year-old Serb kept up his strong play this season with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Marin Cilic of Croatia on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Masters Series event.
He's now the last of the top four seeds left in the tournament after No. 3 Roger Federer was upset by 13th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.
In his second match since taking over the No. 1 ranking with a victory at Wimbledon four weeks ago, Djokovic broke the lanky Cilic's heavy serve twice in the second set to improve to 50-1 this year — including 26-0 on hard courts.
Djokovic, seeking his ninth tournament win of the season, will face the winner of a later match between 12th-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia and fifth-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils.
Ivan Dodig, the 41st-ranked Croat who beat Nadal, had little left a day later as he was beaten 6-1, 6-4 by unseeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic.
Tipsarevic will face seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals today. He is 2-0 in his career against the Czech veteran. Berdych downed Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-6 (2).
Also, Stanislas Wawrinka ousted Kevin Anderson 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.