7 Jan 2011

Shock exit for Sharapova as Wickmayer cruises into semi-finals

10:32 am on 7 January 2011

The top seed and former world tennis number one Maria Sharapova has been dumped out of the ASB Classic, beaten in straight sets by the 31-year-old WTA tour veteran Greta Arn.

The 23-year-old Russian was in trouble early, with Arn breaking her serve in the opening game.

Sharapova continued to struggle with the strong serve and forehand of the player ranked 88th in the world, Arn cruising to a 6-2 win in the first set.

It looked as if Sharapova would take the match to three sets but continued unforced errors enabled Arn to break her again and level the set at 5-5.

Arn then broke Sharapova again before holding her nerve to take the set 7-5 and the match, clinching a semi-final spot in Auckland.

Sharapova was gracious in defeat and says it just wasn't her day.

Arn has won just one tournament in her 15 years on the WTA Tour, and only won direct entry to the ASB Classic after late withdrawals, says she could barely contain her nerves as she served for the match.

Earlier in the day, defending champion Yanina Wickmayer sent a strong message to the other contenders for the crown, thrashing Romania's Simona Halep 6-0 6-2 to reach the semi-finals, where she'll face Shuai Peng after the Chinese 17th seed beat Great Britain's Heather Watson in straight sets.