Sports

Sharapova bounced by Safarova at French Open

Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - There will be a new champion at the French Open in 2015 after Maria Sharapova was eliminated in the fourth round by Lucie Safarova on Monday.

The 13th-seeded Safarova pulled off one of the biggest wins of her career with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 triumph over the two-time French winner in a match that was postponed from Sunday because of rain.

Safarova will play in the quarterfinals for the first time in 11 visits to Roland Garros. She had reached the fourth round twice, falling in the round of 16 in 2007 and again last year.

It will also be the Czech's third quarterfinal at a major championship since making her Grand Slam debut at the 2005 French Open. She lost to Nicole Vaidisova in the 2007 Australian Open quarters and beat Ekaterina Makarova at Wimbledon last year in the round of eight before losing to eventual champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals.

Sharapova had beaten Safarova in four of their five meetings, including the last four, but the last three had gone the distance and Monday would prove to be too difficult of a challenge for the second-seeded Russian star.

After Safarova prevailed in the first-set tiebreak, she opened a 3-0 lead in the second set. Sharapova fought back to win the next three games, but could not hold serve at 4-5.

Safarova failed to convert her first match point with a forehand into the net, but followed with a forehand winner to end Sharapova's run of three straight French Open finals.

The five-time major champion Sharapova won the 2012 French title to complete a career Grand Slam, then lost to Serena Williams in the 2013 final before winning the title again last year. She has now lost in the fourth round in four of her last six major championships, falling at this exact stage in 2014 at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Safarova, who won her sixth career WTA title earlier this year in Doha, will next play Spain's Garbine Muguruza, who advanced to the French Open quarters for a second straight year with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Italy's Flavia Pennetta.

Both of the early matches on Monday had been scheduled for Sunday, but a nearly three-hour rain delay forced officials to push them back a day.

Also on Monday, former French Open runner-up Sara Errani, seeded 17th here, cruised past German Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-2 to pull within two victories of reaching a second French Open final in four years. The gritty Italian was the 2012 Roland Garros runner-up to Sharapova and has reached at least the quarters in Paris four years running.