World number one women's tennis player Maria Sharapova of Russia has been knocked out of the quarterfinals of the Kremlin Cup indoor tennis tournament in Moscow.
Sharapova, the top seed, lost in three sets to countrywoman Dinara Safina 1-6, 6-4 ,7-5. In the semifinals, Safina plays U.S. Open runner-up Mary Pierce of France.
Pierce won eight straight points in a third set tiebreaker to beat Russian Elena Likhovtseva in three sets, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6. The match lasted three hours, 13 minutes, and Pierce saved five match points.
By contrast, Italian Francesca Schiavone of Italy took only 55 minutes to beat former U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1. Schiavone plays Russian Elena Dementieva, a straight-set winner over two-time champion Anastasia Myskina of Russia (6-2, 6-3).
In the men's quarterfinals, sixth seeded Nicolas Kiefer of Germany defeated fourth seed Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-3, 6-4. Kiefer plays Russian Igor Kunitsyn, a straight-set winner over Andrei Pavel of Romania 6-3, 6-2.
The other men's semifinal is an all-Russian match with seventh-seeded Igor Andreev taking on Dmitry Tursunov.
Andreev scored a straight-set win over Italian Daniele Bracciali (6-4, 6-1). Tursunov defeated third seeded compatriot Mikhail Youzhny in three sets (2-6, 6-4, 6-2). This is the first time in the history of the tournament that three Russian men have made the semifinals.
Some information for this report provided by AP.