Sharapova closes out rain-delayed win in 10 minutes at French Open

Maria Sharapova needed only 10 minutes to complete a rain-interrupted fourth-round victory at the French Open, sweeping the final three games when play resumed to beat Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-2, 6-3 Monday.

The match was halted Sunday night because of drizzle with the second set at 3-all and resumed in damp, 16-degree C (60-degree F) weather. Sharapova closed out the win 17 points later when Llagostera Vives shanked a backhand on match point.

"It's never easy coming back," the 18-year-old Russian said. "I guess it was good just to have a good night's sleep."

The second-seeded Sharapova celebrated her berth in the quarterfinals by smiling and blowing kisses to the sparse crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

The reigning Wimbledon champion struggled with her serve throughout the match but hit 17 winners and improved to 31-5 this year.

Sharapova has nine career titles and seeks a breakthrough on clay. She has yet to reach a final on the surface but likes her chances at Roland Garros.

"I never thought I needed to prove anything to anyone," Sharapova said. "I'm getting better and better. If people underestimate me on clay, then they'll be surprised."

No. 29-seeded Ana Ivanovic became the third teenager to reach the quarterfinals. The 17-year-old from Serbia-Montenegro beat No. 22 Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3 and will next play No. 7 Nadia Petrova.

Top-ranked Roger Federer equaled his best showing at Roland Garros when he advanced to the quarterfinals Sunday, beating an ailing Carlos Moya 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.

Federer improved to 45-2 this year. He has yet to drop a set through four rounds at the only Grand Slam event he hasn't won.

"I'm very relieved in a way, and happy to have come so far after a few years of tough times here in Paris," Federer said.

"I've won four matches, which is good. But of course once you get to the quarters, you want more, especially because I haven't been using my reserve tank yet. I still have a lot of energy left. I'm looking forward to hopefully another few more matches."

Moya, the 1998 champion, gave Federer little trouble while playing with a sore shoulder that hindered his serve and forehand. The Spaniard said he needs rest and isn't sure whether he'll play Wimbledon.

"I'm glad that I managed to save some energy," Federer said. "I'm surprised that he finished the match."

Federer's opponent Tuesday will be 90th-ranked Victor Hanescu, who upset No. 10 David Nalbandian 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. Hanescu, who arrived in Paris with a record of 6-9 this year, will play in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

"When I started to play tennis, I was dreaming to be here," Hanescu said. "My family is a poor family. When I was young, we didn't have so much money even to eat sometimes. Now I'm here and very happy."

No. 9 Guillermo Canas and No. 28 Nicolas Kiefer completed victories in third-round matches suspended Saturday because of darkness.

On the women's side, top-ranked Lindsay Davenport will play in the quarterfinals for the first time in six years Tuesday when she faces 2000 champion Mary Pierce of France.


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