Error-prone Sharapova upset by young Italian

BETH HARRIS
Last updated 16:37 11/03/2014
Camila Giorgi
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MAJOR UPSET: 22-year-old Italian Camila Giorgi scored her first win over a top-five opponent, bouncing Maria Sharapova from the Indian Wells Masters in three sets.

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Camila Giorgi claimed an upset win over defending champion Maria Sharapova 6-3 4-6 7-5 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday (local time), giving the young Italian her first victory over a top-five player.

Sharapova's lob sailed long on Giorgi's first match point, one of 58 errors for the Russian in her first loss to a player ranked outside the top 30 since Wimbledon last year.

"She's someone that doesn't give you much rhythm," Sharapova said. "She's quite aggressive, but some shots she hits incredible for a long period of time. Sometimes they go off a bit. If I'm speaking about my level, it was nowhere near where it should have been."

Ranked 79th in the world, Giorgi 4-2 in the final set, but Sharapova twice to level it at 5-5.

Giorgi, 22, then broke Sharapova at love before serving out the match, overcoming her 11th double fault to set up match point. Giorgi had 48 unforced errors and 24 winners.

With the scores at 4-4 in the third set, Sharapova got broken on a disputed call. Her forehand was called long and Sharapova raised her arms. The chair umpire took the gesture to mean Sharapova was challenging the call, and the call showed the ball was out.

Sharapova argued she was only throwing her arms up as if to ask, "Who made the call?" But the umpire disagreed, and Sharapova retreated to her sideline chair trailing 5-4.

American Sloane Stephens was to play Ana Ivanovic, and Tommy Haas took on Kei Nishikori of Japan in night matches.

In the women's third round, top-seeded Li Na defeated Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-3 6-4.

Li closed out the match with an ace, one of her 15 winners in a match in which the Chinese star had 28 unforced errors. The Australian Open champion has never been past the semifinals in six previous appearances at Indian Wells.

Li is playing as the No 1 seed in a major tournament for the first time.

"It is different," she said. "Now is high attention; everyone is focused. It's very tough to hang in there, especially at the beginning of the tournament."

Trailing 4-3 in the second set, Li rallied to win the final three games and dispatch Pliskova, who at 21 is 10 years younger than Li and was making her main draw debut after losing in qualifying the last two years.

Li needed a third-set tiebreaker to beat countrywoman Zheng Jie in her first match after an opening-round bye.

Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada defeated 21st-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-1 6-7 (3) 6-0 to set up a fourth-round match against Li.

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Samantha Stosur is out of the Indian Wells Masters, beaten by Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta in the third round.

Pennetta accounted for world No 17 Stosur 6-4 3-6 6-1, the 32-year-old set up a clash with Giorgi.

Earlier, Australian Open champion Li Na booked her fourth-round berth with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

Li, the world No 2 and top seed, is seeking her third title of 2014.

She lifted the trophy in Shenzhen in her native China before claiming the second Grand Slam crown of her career in Melbourne in January.

- AP, AAP

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