Sharapova downs Riske in tough test

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By 2018-01-03

Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova came back from a set down to defeat American Alison Riske at the Shenzhen Open on Tuesday and book a spot in the quarter-finals.

Riske, who had been hoping for her first win against the former world number one, proved to be a tough opponent early in the match before the Russian finally overcame her 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in just under two and a half hours.

"I'm glad I got this kind of match. Although I would've wanted a quick and easy victory, these are the kind of matches that you need, especially with such a short preparation going into the Australian Open in terms of matchplay," Sharapova said afterwards.

"I'm just glad that I came back. She played a really great match and as I said to her at the net, I thought it was a great quality match. In the end, I won it so I have another opportunity to keep going."

Despite Riske's early lead, Sharapova hit 34 winners, nearly three times Riske's total.

The world number 59 was helped by 11 aces, and managed to save seven out of 10 break points.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko meanwhile slumped to a shock defeat on Tuesday only days after beating Serena Williams in the American's comeback match.

Number two seed Ostapenko of Latvia lost to the big-serving Czech Krystina Pliskova 6-1, 6-4 in just an hour and 20 minutes.

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