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.

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.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.