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October 8, 2009

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'Aggressive' Peng upsets Sharapova

CHINA'S Peng Shuai defeated a tired Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-4 in the third round of the US$6.6 million China Open yesterday, delighting the crowd at the Olympic tennis center in Beijing.

The Russian, who claimed her first title since returning from a shoulder injury in Tokyo on Saturday, had to come from 5-2 down in the third set to win a three-hour opening match on Tuesday.

There was to be no way back against Peng, however, and the world number 53 converted her third match point to upset a high profile player for the second evening in a row after her second-round win over defending champion Jelena Jankovic.

"My energy level was not where it should have been ... there've been occasions where I've been able to fight back, today was just not one of those days unfortunately," Sharapova said.

"She played really solid and really aggressive and did all the right things to win the match."

Peng, who went straight back out to play doubles, must next beat either second seed Serena Williams or Nadia Petrova for a place in the China Open semifinals for the third time.

Fourth seed Elena Dementieva immediately restored order in the second Russia versus China clash of the evening, rattling through her third round match against Li Na 6-2, 6-0 in just under an hour to move into the quarterfinals.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2006 China Open champion, overcame a misfiring serve to claim her place in the last eight with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 victory over Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko.

The sixth-seeded Russian will face compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarterfinals after the teenager beat Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4, 6-4.

On the men's side, fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko earlier boosted his chances of reaching the ATP Tour's season finale for a fifth time with a 6-1, 6-0 thrashing of Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The workaholic Russian, who won his third title of the year in Kuala Lumpur last weekend, wasted no time in dispensing with the 22nd-ranked German to reach the quarterfinals.

The world number eight reached the final of the last version of the Masters Cup in Shanghai last year and needs a good result in Beijing to stay in contention for one of three remaining places in the new season-ender in London.

Davydenko will meet Croatian Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals after the eighth seed beat France's Julien Benneteau 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 earlier yesterday.

Second-seeded Novak Djokovic trounced Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-0 in an all-Serbian match, while Fernando Verdasco defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 6-4 in an all-Spanish encounter.


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