Maria passes Safarova test

Maria needed eight matchpoints to defeat No.26 seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic to advance to the fourth round of the Sony Open Tennis in Miami. Against a tricky opponent, Maria won 6-4 6-7 6-2 in two hours and 56 minutes.

A forehand into the net by Safarova gave Maria the first break of the match to lead 2-0. Immediately, Safarova broke in the third game to get the set back on serve. Both players held their serve until Maria broke in game ten as she wrapped up the set 6-4 in 50 minutes.

Safarova started the second set off strongly as she built a 4-1 lead but Maria came back to win three straight games to leavel the set 4-4. There were no more breaks in the set which was eventually decided by a tie-break. Maria had two matchpoints in the tie-break but she was unable to convert either of them as Safarova won the tie-break 9-7.

Maria re-grouped in the third set as she broke in the first and seventh games to lead 5-2. In a marathon final game on her serve, Maria needed six matchpoints to defeat the 27-year-old as she fought through to book her spot in the last 16.

In Monday’s fourth round match, Maria will play No.19 seed Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium. Maria has played the 28-year-old four times before and leads the series 4-0. Here are the matches they have played against each other:
2003 Luxembourg R1: Maria won 6-2 7-6
2010 French Open R2: Maria won 6-3 6-3
2013 Australian Open R4: Maria won 6-1 6-0
2014 Paris QF: Maria won 6-2 6-2