Sharapova keeps interest going

Sharapova keeps interest going

Marion BartoliWearing a pink dress, the Russian beat compatriot Alisa Kleybanova 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 -- to the relief of Tokyo organisers after a flood of early upsets at the $2 million event.

Seventh seed Jelena Jankovic, the highest-ranked survivor, avoided the rush for the exit after Russian Elena Vesnina retired with a thigh strain while trailing 1-6, 0-3.
Sharapova recovered from an error-strewn first set to reach the last eight of a tournament she won in 2005.

The 22-year-old called coach Michael Joyce on court for advice at the end of the set before storming through the second to level the match and turn the tide in her favour.

Pumping up the volume as the ferocity of her hitting increased, Sharapova secured the crucial break at 2-2 in the decider by smashing a forehand return across court.
The three-time Grand Slam winner sealed victory with a vicious kick serve that bamboozled Kleybanova and celebrated by blowing kisses to all corner of the crowd.
Sharapova's next opponent is Czech Iveta Benesova, who knocked out Taiwanese qualifier Chang Kai-chen -- shock conqueror of world number one Dinara Safina -- with a 7-5, 6-2 win.

Jankovic, who finished 2008 as the world number one, was cruising when Vesnina threw in the towel in cold conditions under a closed centre court roof.

Jankovic next plays 14th seed Marion Bartoli after the Frenchwoman scored a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Eighth seed and world number nineVictoria Azarenka beat Czech Lucie Safarova 7-5, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal with China's Li Na.

Bopanna-Qureshi out

Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul Haq Qureshi squandered a one-set advantage to go down to the Russian-Czech pair of Igor Kunitsyn and Jaroslav Levinsky in the men’s doubles quarterfinals of Malaysian Open tennis tournament in Kuala Lumpur.

The wildcard Indo-Pakistani pair went down 6-2, 6-7 (4), 11-13 in a contest lasting more than one and a half hour.