Sharapova advances to last 8 as Wang retires

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Wang Xinyu of China returns a shot to Maria Sharapova during their Shenzhen Open second-round match in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, on Wednesday. The Russian was leading 6-7 (4), 5-2 when Wang retired with cramps.

Maria Sharapova reached the quarterfinals of the Shenzhen Open on Wednesday after Chinese teenager Wang Xinyu retired in the second set with cramps.

Sharapova, who lost the first set 6-7 (4), was leading 5-2 in the second before the 17-year-old Wang was forced to quit.

"It's not the way either of us wants to finish the match, win or lose," Sharapova said. "I thought (Wang) was absolutely the dominant player in this match, and had all the opportunities to win it, even though I felt like I was finding my stride and getting a little bit closer to the line and being more aggressive."

Wang, who won two Grand Slam doubles titles last year, received a wildcard into the Shenzhen event in south China's Guangdong Province.

"She has all the tools to play well, and I think she showcased that, and it's obviously a very unfortunate way to end the match," the Russian said.

Sharapova will next face top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the quarterfinals. Sabalenka defeated another Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-3.

Earlier, Wang Yafan reached the quarterfinals by beating Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. The home favorite will next face Monica Niculescu of Romania, who defeated Kristyna Pliskova of Czech Republic 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4.

In Auckland, New Zealand, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki acknowledged she was rusty in her first match in 2019 as she beat lucky loser Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the ASB Classic on Wednesday.

After waiting until the third day of the tournament to play her first-round match, Wozniacki was businesslike in the first set, breaking Siegemund in the fourth game and going on to clinch the set in 42 minutes.

She broke twice for a 3-0 lead in the second set before becoming frustrated with a swirling wind on the stadium court and with a tenacious opponent who mixed her ground strokes effectively.

"I definitely felt a bit rusty out there, just with that little bit of wind," Wozniacki said. "It wasn't my prettiest match but I just tried to hang in there and tried to serve well and get a lot of balls back. Hopefully tomorrow is going to be better."

Wozniacki is playing the Auckland tournament for the fifth time and reached the final last year, losing to Siegemund's German compatriot Julia Goerges, before going on to win the Australian Open. She found a difficult opponent in Siegemund who has a wide range of shots but tends only to unleash her best on big points.

Siegemund made it into the main draw as a lucky loser, going down in the final round of qualifying to Bianca Andreescu but winning a place in the main draw after the withdrawal of Margarita Gasparyan with a leg injury.

"She's a tricky player," Wozniacki said. "She comes to the net, she fights for the ball, she mixes the pace so it's not easy for sure."

Wozniacki will play Canadian qualifier Bianca Andreescu in the second round on Thursday.

Another Canadian Eugenie Bouchard's comeback was almost derailed in an error-filled encounter with 30-year-old Dutch journeywoman Bibiane Schoofs.

Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist, dropped her serve seven times but still managed to beat Schoofs 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal clash with defending champion Goerges.

Goerges, who did not get on court until after 10:00pm, raced through her match against fellow German Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-4.

In other matches, third-seeded Hsieh Su-wei of Chinese Taipei beat Puerto Rico's Olympic champion Monica Puig 6-1, 7-6 (3); and seventh-seed Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium was beaten 4-6, 6-1, 1-6 by Sara Sorribes-Tormo of Spain.

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