Maria Sharapova advances, Elena Dementieva knocked out of Toray Pan Pacific Open

By Jim Armstrong, AP
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sharapova wins, Dementieva knocked out in Japan

TOKYO — Maria Sharapova cruised past Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-0, 6-1 Tuesday in the second round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

The former top-ranked Russian, who has been struggling since returning from a 10-month injury layoff, will face Alisa Kleybanova, who defeated sixth-seeded Vera Zvonareva 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

“This is the first time I’ve really had to make adjustments in my game,” said Sharapova, referring to her injury layoff. “After coming back from a long period, you have to adjust to the speed, reaction time, stuff that usually comes natural to you.”

Sharapova won her first tournament as a professional at the Japan Open in 2003 and won in Tokyo in 2005. With more seeded players losing Tuesday, including third-seeded Elena Dementieva, she is positioned well for another shot at a title.

“The more rounds you play, the tougher it gets,” Sharapova said. “You’ve got to take it one match at a time and not think too far down the road.”

Dementieva became the latest highly ranked player to lose in the second round, falling to Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-1.

Bondarenko will next play Li Na of China, who beat Vera Dushevina of Russia 7-5, 6-0.

Top-ranked and defending champion Dinara Safina lost to Taiwanese qualifier Chang Kai-chen, and second-seeded Venus Williams lost to Russian qualifier Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Monday. Fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, trailing 5-0, was forced to retire with a viral infection in the first set of her match against Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, and fifth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova also lost Monday.

“I don’t know about the other players, but I feel like I didn’t have enough time to recover after the U.S. Open,” Dementieva said. “It’s hard to get ready for such a big event like this and I just wish we had more time.”

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