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Sharapova wins in Germany
Top-seeded Maria Sharapova needed three sets and more than three hours Thursday in her clay-court season debut to overcome Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic for a place in the Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinals at Stuttgart, Germany.
Sharapova, the defending champion, won 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3 in a match that lasted 3:09 hours.
The Russian saved two set points in the second set before surrendering the tiebreaker, in which she had one of her eight double-faults. She also had eight aces.
Sharapova, who used the indoor clay tournament last year to prepare for her French Open victory, broke serve for a 4-2 lead but needed five match points to close out the encounter. The match ended when she hit a net cord that dropped into Safarova's half. Safarova reached it, but could only send it back long and wide.
"I've had a few three hour games in my career, so I knew I just had to keep fighting until the end," Sharapova said. "That's when it's the time to get the game-plan going and calm down a little bit."
"Clay is one of her favorite surfaces and I knew this was going to be a tough game, so I am glad to get through. The first match of the clay-court season is always tough, it's nothing like practicing."
Sharapova's quarterfinal opponent will be Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, who beat eight-seeded Russian Nadia Petrova 6-4, 6-3.
Seeded players Li Na, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova advanced to the quarterfinals in different fashion.
Tipsarevic into Bucharest quarters
Top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic advanced to the quarterfinals of the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia at Bucharest, Romania.
Tipsarevic dropped serve just once and saved eight of the nine break points he faced, while breaking Giraldo four times.
"I don't think it was an easy game, despite the score," Tipsarevic said.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain will face Tipsarevic after defeating Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Also, Romania's Victor Hanescu topped fourth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-4, 6-3 without losing his serve, and No. 5 Florian Mayer defeated David Goffin of Belgium 7-6 (2), 1-6, 6-3. Hanescu will play Mayer today.
The other quarterfinals feature defending champion Gilles Simon playing Daniel Brands, and eighth-seeded Viktor Troicki against Lukas Rosol.
Almagro, Monaco to meet in Barcelona Open quarters
Nicolas Almagro and Juan Monaco both managed third-round wins at the Barcelona Open in Spain before rain forced the postponement of matches.
The two will meet in the quarterfinals after Almagro defeated fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-4 on the outdoor red clay. Monaco outlasted Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in a long second-set tiebreaker to win 6-0, 7-6 (11).
The rain bumped Rafael Nadal's match against Benoit Paire to today. The showers held off at the Real Club de Tenis until former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero was honored after Almagro's match. Ferrero retired last summer at age 32.