Lawn Tennis
Maria Sharapova Reaches Indian Wells Quarterfinals
By Anton Lagani, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 1:35pm CST USA
Maria Sharapova Reaches Indian Wells
 Quarterfinals, Pacific Life Open
Photo by Mark Avery/AP
INDIAN WELLS--( Tuesday at the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells, California, 4th seeded Maria Sharapova of Russia defeated Alona Bondarenko of the Ukraine in the fourth round 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to win her 15th WTA Tour match in a row.

Sharapova is 15-0 on the WTA Tour this year with victories at the Australian Open and the Qatar Total Open.

Pacific Life Open, Indian Wells, California, USA
Indian Wells, California, USA
March 12-23, 2008

"I felt like I was pretty close to being down and out because I wasnít able to produce good points for a long period of time," Sharapova said Tuesday post match. "I would play a good game, I would get down again and then I would miss three returns in a row. I was just giving her so many opportunities out there."

"I wasnít playing my best tennis, far from it, but I was just tough in the end and it gets me through a lot of matches."

In a quarterfinal match tonight not before 7:00pm local time, Sharapova meets 5th seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia. Head to head Sharapova leads Hantuchova 6-1, last winning at last year's WTA Tour Championships 6-4, 7-5.

Hantuchova, who won the Indian Wells title for the second time last season, realized the quarterfinal battle of the two photogenic players would be a major challenge for her game.

"Itís going to be an exciting match," said Hantuchova. "Sheís playing obviously in great form, so it will be a good test for me. I feel like I own this place. Iím here and anything can happen.

"Iím confident, but obviously if I want to win, I have to play my best. Letís see if I will be able to do that."

In today's other women's quarterfinal, 2nd seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova faces 10th seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.

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