Sharapova comeback curtailed by Bondarenko

WARSAWA: Maria Sharapova’s comeback from injury came to an abrupt halt when she was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by Ukraine’s Alona Bondarenko in the quarter-finals of the claycourt Warsaw Open here on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Russian is back in action after nine and a half months out with a shoulder problem, but having advanced through the first two rounds she found no answer to eighth seed Bondarenko’s speed and superior movement.

Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam champion, was broken early in the first set and struggled to impose herself with both her serve and her return, while Bondarenko looked sharper and was far quicker around the court.

The Ukrainian broke again to love in the seventh game before serving out to take the set in 35 minutes.

Bondarenko, the world number 39, wasted no time in the second set, breaking Sharapova in her first service game and taking full advantage of the errors creeping into the Russian’s game to break again twice for a 5-0 lead.

Sharapova broke back and briefly rallied but never looked likely to orchestrate a turnaround, with Bondarenko reeling off some sumptuous winners en route to a surprisingly comfortable victory.

Bondarenko, 24, will face Britain’s Anne Keothavong in the semi-finals, after she breezed past Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1.