Sharapova through, Peer out at Stanford WTA event

Stanford: Former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova reached the quarter-finals while Shahar Peer became the first seeded player to fall at the WTA Bank of the West Classic Thursday.

Fifth seeded Sharapova defeated Belarus` Olga Govortsova 6-3, 6-3 and the eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka beat Melanie Oudin, of the US, 6-3, 6-1 in second round action while Maria Kirilenko sent sixth-seeded Peer crashing out of the hardcourt tournament 6-4, 6-3.

"It was a sloppy first game but the rest of it was fine," Sharapova said. "I took my chances when I could."

The 16th-ranked Peer lost for the fourth time in her last six matches after opening the year with an 18-5 record.

"This time I decided to be a lot more aggressive," Kirilenko said. "This year has been so much better and given me a lot of confidence."

The 27th-ranked Kirilenko is assured of her best finish at Stanford in three trips. She meets third seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarters.

"I played not too badly," Kirilenko said. "I can play better."

She`s also had her career best results at the Australian Open, when she reached the quarter-finals, the French Open, when she made the fourth round, and at Wimbledon, when she was eliminated in the third round.

Azarenka reached her sixth quarter-final of the year by winning her eighth in her last 10 matches. She busted into the top 10 last year.

"I think I played very well," Azarenka said. "It was a little tough at the beginning with a couple of service breaks but I felt strong the whole match. For me it`s important to play every point the same, no matter what the score is. Whether I am up or down 40-love, that is always a key for me."

She next plays defending champion Marion Bartoli who defeated former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-4 in the night match Thursday.

Bureau Report

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