Fourth-seeds Sharapova, Roddick move to quarterfinals

By wire services
Published March 28, 2006

KEY BISCAYNE - Maria Sharapova overcame a slow start and eight double faults Monday, earning a berth in the quarterfinals of the Nasdaq-100 Open by beating Maria Kirilenko 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Seeded fourth, Sharapova committed 43 unforced errors, but only five in the final set against the 20th-seeded Kirilenko.

"I basically just tried to hang in there," Sharapova said. "I wasn't playing my best tennis, for sure, but I started to pick it up in the third."

Sharapova won her first title of the year March 18 at Indian Wells. She was the runner-up at Key Biscayne last year to Kim Clijsters , who was upset in the second round.

The last American in the women's draw, unseeded Jill Craybas , lost to Zheng Jie 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. The unseeded Zheng became the first Chinese woman to reach the Key Biscayne quarterfinals.

No.6-seeded Elena Dementieva , runner-up to Sharapova at Indian Wells, was upset by No.22 Tatiana Golovin 6-2, 6-1. Dementieva lost 13 of 17 second-serve points, including seven with double faults.

Also earning quarterfinal berths were No.12 Svetlana Kuznetsova and No.21 Ai Sugiyama .

In men's third-round play, No.4 Andy Roddick dominated with his serve to beat No.31 Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4. Roddick won all 18 first-serve points in the opening set.

He'll next play qualifier Simon Greul , who won only four points in the first set, then rallied to beat Tim Henman 0-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Tampa's No.9 James Blake hit 41 winners and beat No.23 Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. Blake broke serve six times and needed only 22 minutes to take the final set.


Woods team wins best ball

Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara beat Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen 65-66 in best-ball play to help Isleworth Country Club take a 6-4 lead over Lake Nona after the first day of Orlando's Tavistock Cup.

Woods had three birdies and an eagle and O'Meara added two birdies for their 7-under round.


Butler pleads guilty

Boxer James Butler pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and arson in the 2004 death of freelance sports writer Sam Kellerman , and will be sentenced to 29 years, four months in prison.


AWOL ATHLETES FOUND: The six athletes missing from Sierra Leone's Commonwealth Games team were found by police at a house in a beachside suburb, a week after they were reported missing and hours after their permission to stay in Australia had expired. They were granted new visas that expire April 13, allowing time for further visa applications.

OBITUARY: Alain Danet , an IOC honor member and leader of Paris' bid to host the 2012 Olympics, died at his home in Kenya after a long illness. He was 74.

PROTEST: Protests resumed for the third straight day after reports that members of Duke's lacrosse team raped and beat an exotic dancer. Students voiced complaints in front of the campus administration building about the alleged March 14 assault near East Campus.

SOCCER: The U.S. soccer team will play Angola in a closed scrimmage in Hamburg, Germany, on June 5.