Shuai dumps Sharapova out

BEIJING: Russia’s Maria Sharapova became the latest upset victim at the China Open today, while four of her compatriots including Nikolay Davydenko advanced to the quarter-finals in Beijing.

Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam winner, made 21 unforced errors and surrendered her serve four times in the 6-2, 6-4 loss to China’s Peng Shuai. Sharapova added her name to the list of stars who have made an early exit from the mixed ATP/WTA event. Dinara Safina and Venus Williams — along with defending champions Jelena Jankovic and Andy Roddick — have also been ousted from the tournament.

Fourth seed Davydenko, who won his third ATP title of the year in Malaysia last weekend, trounced Germany’s Philipp Kohlsc-hreiber, allowing the world No 22 only one game in a 6-1, 6-0 romp. The 28-year-old Russian, the world No 8, is fighting to secure a place in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, which will feature the top eight men’s singles players.

Roddick, Fernando Verdasco, Fernando Gonzalez and Robin Soderling are also vying for the final three spots in the London draw. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro and Novak Djokovic have qualified. Besides Roddick, the other London hopefuls are all still in contention in Beijing. In the quarter-finals, Davydenko will face Croatian eighth seed Marin Cilic, who rallied to defeat France’s Julien Benneteau in three sets, 6-2, 2-6, 6-0.

On the women’s side, three other Russians had better luck than Sharapova. Fourth seed Elena Dementieva dismissed Li Na of China 6-2, 6-0. Dementieva. Svetlana Kuznetsova, the sixth seed, lost her focus mid-match but stormed back in the third set to beat Ukraine’s Alona Bondarenko, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who upset world No 3 Williams on Monday, continued her winning ways, defeating Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. Kuznetsova and the 18-year-old Pavlyuchenkova will face off in an all-Russian quarter-final match.

Japan Open

TOKYO: Richard Gasquet powered his way to the second round by beating Philipp Petzschner of Germany at the Japan Open tennis tournament on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old unseeded Frenchman began campaigning here with a strong 6-3, 6-2 victory. In doing so, Gasquet booked a place in the second round against his compatriot and second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 6-4, 6-3 winner over Mischa Zverev of Germany.

Earlier in the day, unheralded qualifier Ernests Gulbis of Latvia upset sixth seed Czech Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-4. In the second round, Gulbis will take on Juan Monaco of Argentina, the winner over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain, who abandoned their match at 0-5 down. In other first-round action, Mikhail Youzhny of Russia beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-2, 6-3 and Andreas Beck edged past fellow German and 2003 Tokyo champion Rainer Schuettler 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3).