• Madrid Open

Sharapova survives scare in Madrid

ESPN staff
May 6, 2014
Maria Sharapova is through to the third round despite an error-strewn performance against Christina McHale © Getty Images

Maria Sharapova avoided an early exit from the Madrid Open on Tuesday, rallying to beat Christina McHale to reach the third round while Roger Federer withdrew from the men's event.

Trailing 4-1 in the final set, Sharapova steadied her erratic service game and took command again to beat the 56th-ranked American 6-1 4-6 6-4 on clay at the Magic Box tennis centre.

The ninth-ranked Russian looked to be cruising before McHale broke late in the second set to tie the match and then took her commanding lead in the final set after breaking Sharapova.

However, Sharapova didn't surrender a point after that as McHale netted to be broken to see her advantage dip to 4-3 and Sharapova eventually fired an ace down the middle to eliminate McHale for the second year running.

"After a really good start [in Madrid] I didn't keep that level. I think I had a bit of a letdown," said 2013 finalist Sharapova, who is coming off a tournament victory in Stuttgart.

Earlier, Li Na continued her recent dominance of Zheng Jie by easing into the third round 6-2 6-3 for her fourth straight victory against her fellow Chinese player. Zheng has not won a set from the second-ranked Li since her last victory in 2006.

Lucie Safarova also advanced with a 6-1 6-2 win over Magdalena Rybarikova, while American Sloane Stephens was also a winner against qualifier Petra Cetkovska. Samantha Stosur is also through to the third round following her triumph over Garbine Muguruza.

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