Sharapova beats Wozniacki in exhibition at MSG

New York: Maria Sharapova beat Caroline Wozniacki in an exhibition at Madison Square Garden on Monday — though she lost the only point she played against Wozniacki`s boyfriend, top-ranked golfer Rory McIlroy.

With the Dane a game away from losing 6-3, 6-4, she invited McIlroy onto the court just hours after he won the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., to ascend to No. 1 in the world for the first time.

Roger Federer and Andy Roddick were playing another exhibition later Monday night in the BNP Paribas Showdown.

In jeans and a sweater, McIlroy showed off a one-handed backhand, and Sharapova hit his lob wide.

Asked if he was surprised, McIlroy joked: "I`ve won a few off Caroline."

Wozniacki has been ranked No. 1 for 67 weeks in her career, though she`s currently down to No. 4. McIlroy knows he`ll need to stay on top for "another couple of years" to catch his girlfriend in that stat.

In between taking photos with fans after the match, McIlroy said, "It`s nice to take a little break from golf." The couple plans to meet up in Miami before he plays a World Golf Championship event there and she heads to Indian Wells, Calif.

McIlroy stopped signing autographs for a moment to listen to Wozniacki`s on-court interview. "He`s 100 percent against Maria," she told the crowd.

Asked earlier Monday whether she sent him flowers after his win Sunday, Wozniacki said, "Well, I don`t want his head to become too big, so, um, no."

Sharapova and Wozniacki got into the spirit of the exhibition at times: exchanging smiles after a well-played rally, surrendering a point to make up for a missed call, dancing with fans before the final game.

The second-ranked Sharapova wasn`t conserving energy, though. After breaking back to 4-4 in the second set, she chased down a drop shot and then a lob, throwing her hands up in frustration when her shot ricocheted off the scoreboard.

Bureau Report