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Another three-setter as Sharapova outlasts Li

FOUR three-set matches, four victories for Maria Sharapova at the French Open in Paris.

The unseeded Russian with the injured right shoulder pulled out another close one at Roland Garros on Sunday, coming back to beat 25th-seeded Li Na of China 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 and reach the quarterfinals at the claycourt major for the fourth time in her career.

"If it takes three sets, if it takes two sets, if it takes two sets in five hours - I don't care," Sharapova said. "I'm willing to be out there for as long as I need to be in order to finish the match."

Sharapova was absent for the better part of year. The last grand slam tournament she played before her injury forced her off the court was at Wimbledon, where she lost in the second round. She then had shoulder surgery in October.

"I'm definitely a little bit - little sore, but I'll be fine," Sharapova said. "That's why the grand slams are great. You have a day in between, day to recover, and that always helps the body."

On Sunday, it was Sharapova's mental strength that impressed Li more than her physical prowess.

"She was always fighting, doesn't matter how the score was," said Li, who was up a break in the third set. "I lost the first set, win second set easy, and then 4-2 up (in the third). Then maybe I lose a little bit concentration."

But the thought of winning her fourth major title isn't getting to her just yet.

"I think expectations are just words, and so is pressure," said the 22-year-old Sharapova, who has dropped to No. 102 in the rankings because of her nine-month injury layoff.


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