Sharapova advances at Rogers Cup

Lightning and torrential rains delayed play, but couldn’t keep Maria Sharapova from advancing to the quarter-finals Thursday at the Rogers Cup.

Maria Sharapova of Russia tosses the ball to serve to Vera Zvonareva of Russia in Rogers Cup tennis action in Toronto on Thursday.

TORONTO — Lightning and torrential rains delayed play, but couldn’t keep Maria Sharapova from advancing to the quarter-finals Thursday at the Rogers Cup.

After stormy weather suspended play for over an hour, Sharapova defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 7-6 (3) in the third round of the US$2-million WTA event.

Having knocked off the seventh-seeded Zvonareva, the 22-year-old Russian star now finds herself in uncharted Canadian territory. Sharapova has never played deeper than the third round at the tournament.

After strolling through the first set, Sharapova had trouble holding serve and found herself behind in the second, when Zvonareva won four straight games.

Not that it mattered. Sharapova hit Zvonareva for five break points and stretched the match to a tiebreaker that she won easily.

Sharapova, who will next face No. 14. Agnieszka Radwanska, has Serena Williams as company in the quarter-finals. Williams advanced after dispatching Alona Bondarenko 6-1, 6-4.

At first, it looked like another easy day for the No. 2 American. After cruising through the first set, Williams appeared ready for the next round when Bondarenko found her swing in the second.

But Williams took a breath, relaxed, and won three straight games to move on.

Williams chalked up the minor hiccup in her quest for a second Rogers Cup title to a momentary loss in composure.

“I was just trying to be perfect and then I just couldn’t get my serve in and got frustrated,” said Williams. “You know, I’ve been practising a lot on my serve, it just hasn’t been well, so I think in any case it can be frustrating.”

Earlier, Elena Dementieva also stumbled in the second set but rallied against a persistent Shahar Peer, defeating the Israeli 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.

The fourth-seeded Russian will face Australia’s Samantha Stosur in the quarter-finals. Stosur swept France’s Virginie Razzano 6-3, 6-1 in third-round match.

Meanwhile, Aravane Rezai couldn’t repeat the magic of her huge upset over top seed Dinar Safina, falling 6-3, 6-4 to Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova, Czech Lucie Safarova beat China’s Jie Zheng 7-6 (3), 6-4 and Radwanska of Poland downed Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine 7-5, 6-3.

Williams, who will face Safarova in the quarter-finals, has rarely been challenged at the Rexall Centre. She easily beat Yaroslava Shvedova on Wednesday and may not face a seeded player until the semifinals.

But she knows she has to keep her cool if she’s going to make it that far.

“I get really emotional on the court,” she said. “Sometimes I’m really into the game too much, and I’ve just got to (remain calm). I can’t help myself when I do that, I think it’s just something natural and hopefully it helps me. I think towards the end I was able to relax and just calm down and then just try to stay positive more than anything.”

She admitted she was disappointed in Thursday’s performance after a strong start to the tournament.

“I thought that if I could keep up that form, I’m on my way into glory and today I didn’t play as well so hopefully I can get it back,” said Williams.

The victory may have been extra sweet for Williams, the highest-seeded player left at the tournament after Safina was eliminated. Kateryna Bondarenko, Alona’s sister, ousted Serena’s sister Venus on Tuesday.

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Street Tales: Life is filled with unlearned lessons

There are days that I almost believe evolutionists in that we are… Continue reading

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month