Sharapova stunned by 88th-ranked Hungarian

2011-01-06 06:50

Maria Sharapova may be ready to ask for a wild card into next week’s Medibank International in Sydney as her preparation for the Australian Open ended unexpectedly early today with a 6-2, 7-5 loss to Hungarian Greta Arn in the quarter-finals of the ASB Classic.

The Russian top seed who made her New Zealand debut this week, had been planning private practice next week in Melbourne during the final countdown to the January 17 start of the Open.

But optimistic Sydney organisers have been keeping back a wild card just in case and are likely hoping for a call from the three-time Grand Slam champion now in need of matches.

Arn (31) had never made an impression on the Women’s Tennis Association but will now certainly get at least a footnote after the biggest win of her career. Her best in the game is one title and a Wimbledon third round.

“I was shaking,” said the winner. “I didn’t feel nervous – until the last game. I started to think that I could beat Maria Sharapova.

“I don’t know what to say. I’m like a little girl – my dream has come true.”

Sharapova’s two wins of the week in Auckland were error-plagued, with her form never looking like hitting top level.

“I definitely would’ve loved to have played better defence, a few more matches here and beat the winner but that’s the way it goes,” said the biggest-earning woman in the sport.

The match was plagued by swirling winds, which Arn handled much better than her opponent.

There were no unpleasant surprises for second-seeded holder Yanina Wickmayer as the Belgian continued on her way with a defeat of Romanian Simona Halep 6-0, 6-2.

China’s Peng Shuai ended the dream run of British teenager Heather Watson 6-4, 7-5.

“I’m very happy. This is the first week of the year and I’m really playing well,” said Wickmayer. “I’m in the semis so I guess this tournament is lucky for me.”

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