Unsung Arn tips Sharapova out of Auckland Classic

AFP, Thursday 6 Jan 2011

Sharapova exists Auckland Classic women's tennis tournament after quarter-final loss to 88-ranked Arn.

Sharapova plays a forehand against Greta Arn in Auckland (Photo: AP)

Top seed Maria Sharapova was bundled out of the Auckland Classic women's tennis tournament in the quarter-finals Thursday when she was beaten in straight sets by unheralded Greta Arn.

The 31-year-old Hungarian, whose best world ranking was 81 in 2002 and is now ranked 88th, dominated the former world number one and three-time Grand Slam winner from the start to win 6-2, 7-5.

Sharapova is currently ranked 18th as she rebuilds following shoulder surgery, and had earmarked the tournament as crucial in her preparation for the Australian Open and as part of her bid to regain the world top spot.

But she was the victim of too many unforced errors, which began when she dropped her serve in the opening game. Afterwards she declined to discuss her performance with the news media.

Arn, however, was ecstatic. Before the match she described playing Sharapova as "a dream come true" and afterwards said she was stunned by the outcome.

Sharapova was the biggest name she has beaten and "I don’t know what to say. I am like a little girl. My dream has come true."

Arn broke Sharapova twice to race through the first set in 30 minutes and then, after trailing 2-4 in the second set, she broke twice again before holding her own serve to take the match.

She will play either fourth seed German Julia Goerges or wildcard Kateryna Bondarenko from Ukraine in the semi-finals.

Defending champion Yanina Wickmayer was under no pressure as she coasted into the semi-finals with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Romania’s Simona Halep.

She will play the winner of the match between China's Peng Shuai and British qualifier Heather Watson.

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