- WTA Tour
Sharapova sent packing by Vesnina in China
Maria Sharapova suffered her third defeat in four matches as she fell to fellow Russian Elena Vesnina in the second round of the China Open in Beijng.
The former world No. 1, seeded 12th in China, is on the comeback from serious shoulder injury last season, and looked to be returning to form after back-to-back finals in Stanford and Cincinnati.
But after falling to top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the US Open, Sharapova has hit a dry spell, slumping to her worst run of results in seven years. Her latest defeat came at the hands of Vesnina, who claimed a tight opening set before pulling clear in the second to record a 7-6(3) 6-2 victory.
Defeat to home favourite Kimiko Date Krumm, who was on the eve of her 39th birthday in Tokyo last week, saw Sharapova drop back out of the world's top 20, and a third defeat in four matches is her worst run of form since she was 16, when she suffered a similar pattern of results in 2003.
In an unlikely third-round match-up, Vesnina will play Timea Bacsinszky, who progressed to the last-16 following the retirement of eighth seed Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka, a semi-finalist in Tokyo last week, was a set to the good, but was unable to continue after straining her left thigh.
Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic continued her impressive start in China with a 6-0 7-5 win over Olga Govortsova. The Serb dropped just eight points as she stormed to the opening set, before edging the second to secure her place in the third round. In a mouth-watering third-round match-up, Ivanovic will face Russia's Elena Dementieva, who had to battle past Date Krumm 6-3 1-6 6-3.
In a rematch of their Wimbledon quarter final, Petra Kvitova once again got the better of Kaia Kanepi. The Czech, who also upset Wozniacki at the All England Club, could face the Dane in the third round, should the top seed make it past Sara Errani on Wednesday.
French Open champion Francesca Schiavone overcame Polona Hercog 6-3 6-3, second seed Vera Zvonareva got the better of Germany's Andrea Petkovic, while there were also wins for Shahar Peer and Vera Dushevina.