London: Maria Sharapova got a second-round fright from Tsvetana Pironkova but came out Thursday to finish off the 38th-ranked Bulgarian in their Wimbledon women`s singles match, which was interrupted by nightfall.
The Russian top seed appeared to have fought off the best of what Pironkova had to offer Wednesday, when the Bulgarian rushed to a 5-2 lead in the first set. Sharapova stormed back to take the set in a tiebreak and went 3-1 up in the second before bad light stopped play.
Come Thursday, and the gritty Pironkova clawed herself back into the second set and took it when Sharapova served three successive double faults.
Sharapova regrouped and blasted through the final set to record a 7-6 (3), 6-7 (3), 6-0 victory and set up a third-round match with Taiwan`s Hsieh Su-Wei, ranked 63 in the world.
Elsewhere, Germany`s eighth seed Angelique Kerber eliminated Russia`s Ekaterina Makarova, ranked 44 in the world, to reach the third round.
The left-hander worked hard to win the first set and eased to a 7-5, 6-3 victory.
Kerber will face 28th seed Christina McHale of the US, who defeated Mathilde Johansson of France 7-5, 7-5, in round three.
First Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012, 20:16