Sharapova, Jankovic advance at East West Bank Classic
CARSON, Calif. -- Maria Sharapova found herself in trouble in the first set before escaping in the second when her opponent retired because of breathing problems Wednesday night.
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Sharapova advanced 7-6 (5), 3-1 over Eleni Daniilidou in her opening match at the East West Bank Classic. Daniilidou called for a medical timeout and then walked to the net to shake hands with the top-seeded Russian.
No. 3 Ana Ivanovic defeated qualifier Ashley Harkleroad 6-4, 6-2 in her first match since losing in the Wimbledon semifinals to eventual champion Venus Williams.
Sharapova walked over to Daniilidou's chair and spoke briefly with her Greek opponent, who had been sick the last four days. A bug has spread among some players recently.
"I wanted badly to play against Maria," said Daniilidou, her voice shaky and tears streaking her face. "I wanted to try. My first-round match yesterday was pretty tough. I didn't practice at all these days. I wanted to give my best."
Daniilidou had Sharapova on the run in the first set, which Sharapova closed out when Daniilidou netted a backhand.
"In the beginning of the second set, the points were a little shorter," said Sharapova, who won her first title of the year last week near San Diego. "In the first set, I felt like she played some of the best tennis she's ever played against me. I expected her to come out strong because she can play good tennis and be extremely dangerous."
Sharapova has won all five of their meetings.
"Fingers crossed, I'm feeling OK," she said.
The same bug apparently has plagued Jelena Jankovic, who defeated Peng Shuai of China 6-1, 6-1 despite a nagging cold she caught during last week's tournament near San Diego.
"I'm still not 100 percent and still blowing my nose on each changeover," said Jankovic, last year's runner-up. "I didn't practice the last four days. I was in bed taking medicine and just finished my antibiotics last night. I'm looking forward to feeling well."
Peng is winless in five career matches against Jankovic. The 21-year-old Chinese, coached by Michael Chang, fell to 16-15 this year.
Jankovic won a challenge on break point in the first set.
"I was right on almost all the challenges I made and my opponent was wrong," the 22-year-old Serb said. "I didn't play well, but at least I saw the ball well."
Jankovic next plays Sybille Bammer of Austria, a 6-2, 6-1 winner over Olga Govortsova of Belarus.
In other matches, Virginie Razzano of France upset 10th-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (6); defending champion Elena Dementieva ousted 17-year-old American wild card Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-0; and No. 5 seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia beat American Jill Craybas 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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