Sharapova eases into last eight at Indian Wells

ESPN staff
March 12, 2013
Highlights: Azarenka bt U Radwanska (6-3 6-1)

Maria Sharapova moved into the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open with some ease on Tuesday, after overcoming a difficult start against Spanish opponent Lara Arruabarreni-Veci.

Sharapova, 25, initially struggled to gain the upper hand but, after edging the opening set when a tiebreak appeared most likely, eventually ran away with matters in a 7-5 6-0 success.

Broken twice in the contest the Russian may have some concerns about her service going into the latter stages of the competition, but Arruabarreni-Veci never appeared likely to truly punish Sharapova as she fell apart alarmingly in the second stanza.

"I just didn't get a good rhythm on her game from the beginning," Sharapova said. "Maybe I was going for the lines a little bit more than I had to, especially in the first few games when you don't know too much about your opponent or haven't played her.

"Towards the end of the first and beginning of the second set I really stepped it up, was being more aggressive, and really gave myself a better margin than I did throughout the first set."

Defending champion Victoria Azarenka extended her unbeaten streak despite a nagging right ankle problem, routing Urszula Radwanska 6-3 6-1 for her 17th straight win. Urszula's sister, third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, was beaten by No. 13 Maria Kirilenko 6-1 4-6 7-5.

Sharapova and Azarenka were among a number of top seeds to progess, with former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova also booking her place in the last eight with a similarly comfortable 6-2 6-3 victory over compatriot Klara Zakopalova. The fifth seed always held her fellow Czech at arm's length, eventually winning in less than an hour.

No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki defeated No. 10 Nadia Petrova 7-6(3) 6-3 to set up a quarter-final against Azarenka. Meanwhile, fourth seed Angelique Kerber beat qualifier Garbine Muguruza 6-4 7-5 and Sam Stosur advanced with a 4-6 6-2 6-3 win over Mona Barthel.

Elsewhere, sixth seed Sara Errani progressed - dominating what many expected to be an even encounter with ninth seed Marion Bartoli. Bartoli was edged in almost every aspect of the match, as Errani eventually completed a deserved 6-3 6-2 win.

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