• WTA Tour

Sharapova and Azarenka out in Tokyo

ESPN staff
September 27, 2012
Maria Sharapova lost to Sam Stosur for just the second time in 12 meetings © PA Photos

Maria Sharapova battled to the last but fell victim to Samantha Stosur at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, the Australian edging a 22-point second-set tiebreak to beat the No. 2 seed 6-4 7-6 for a place in the semi-finals.

The Tokyo tournament lost its top two seeds in the last eight as Victoria Azarenka withdrew prior to her quarter-final match with Angelique Kerber through illness.

Sharapova, who had survived scares against Heather Watson and Lucie Safarova in the previous two rounds, finally ran out of luck against former US Open champion Stosur. The Russian had claimed the first break of the match to lead 4-3 in the first set, only for Stosur to rattle off the next three games to snatch it from her grasp.

Coming forward to finish points from the net as often as possible, Stosur again fought back from a break down early in the second set and looked to have the match won at 5-3. But Sharapova roared back, claiming eight straight points to level up at 5-5 and reach a tiebreak.

With neither player giving an inch, Sharapova saved three match points and spurned a set point of her own - before Stosur finally prevailed at the fourth attempt for just her second victory against the former world No. 1 in 12 matches.

Stosur admitted that she feared the worst after seeing three match points pass her by. "When you don't take a few in a row you don't know what's going to happen," said the Australian. "But I just kept trying to go for it and thankfully it paid off."

Up next for Stosur is No. 17 seed Nadia Petrova, who showed no ill signs of her marathon win against Petra Martic in the previous round as she again went the distance against Sara Errani, fighting back from a set and 4-1 down to win 3-6 7-5 6-3.

World No. 1 Azarenka pulled out ahead of her match with Kerber after failing to recover from the illness that led to her suffering dizzy spells early on in her victory over Roberta Vinci in the third round.

"Before the tournament I wasn't feeling very good," said Azarenka. "I had low energy and I wasn't myself. It wasn't possible today. Maybe it was tiredness from the whole season. It's a little bit unknown what it is."

Kerber will face Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in the final four after the No. 3 seed beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3. The German knocked out Radwanska's sister Urszula in the previous round.

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