Created on Monday, 24 March 2014 Written by STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Maria Sharapova lost the first four games Monday before settling down to become the first quarterfinalist at the Sony Open by beating Kirsten Flipkens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
The match was the second consecutive three-setter for Sharapova, a five-time Key Biscayne finalist seeking her first title in the event.
Seeded No. 4, Sharapova won only five points in the first four games and seemed thrown off by the lack of pace on Flipkens' shots. Sharapova gradually began to find the range with her groundstrokes, but even so she finished with 36 unforced errors and only 13 winners. She also double-faulted 10 times.
"I had a really sloppy start, and Kirsten took advantage," Sharapova said. "I was just making a lot of errors. I'm happy I was able to switch it around."
Flipkens had never won a set against Sharapova in their four previous matches. The tour veteran fell to 3-12 against top-10 opponents.
No. 5 Angelique Kerber defeated Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. In men's third-round play, No. 12 Milos Raonic beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 6-2.
Serena and Venus Williams and Rafael Nadal were among those scheduled to play later Monday.