Top seed Maria Sharapova crashed out with a 6-2 7-5 defeat to Greta Arn of Hungary. The world number 18 struggled to gain any rhythm in the swirling wind and was broken twice in the first set by the 31-year-old from Budapest. Numerous unforced errors in the second set saw the three-time Grand Slam winner slump to defeat in 91 minutes. “I started off really slow, got down two breaks and I think she gained a tremendous amount of confidence from that,” she said. “I had my chances in the second (set), but I didn’t play the same way I had played to get there. “Obviously I would have loved to play a few more here and be the winner. But that’s the way it goes. You look forward to the next one. “That’s the good thing about tennis.”
There were no such problems for second seed Yanina Wickmayer, who saw off Simona Halep on Romania 6-0 6-2 in just over an hour. She will next play Peng while the second semi-final will see Julia Goerges of Germany take on Arn after the fourth seed overcame the loss of the first set against Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine in the final match, coming through 5-7 6-2 6-2.
Britain’s Heather Watson was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland by Shuai Peng of China on Thursday. Peng won 6-4 7-5 in one hour 53 minutes to advance to the last four. The 18-year-old from Guernsey had been playing her first WTA Tour quarter-final.