NEW YORK: Maria Sharapova, back in the US Open's last eight for the first time since she won the title six years ago, sent fellow Russian Nadia Petrova packing with vigor and passion on Sunday.
Not only did she rally after twice losing four games in a row against 19th seed Petrova but third seed Sharapova won six of the last eight games in the match after a 73-minute rain delay to take a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory.
The Russian third seed, clearly the fan favorite in the Arthur Ashe Stadium night match, was pumping her fist with evry point in the seventh game of the last set when she broke Petrova to seize the lead for the first time since the opening set.
Sharapova, who completed a career Grand Slam by capturing the French Open title last June, rolled through the first set in 31 minutes but Petrova broke her in the second and fourth games of the second set on the way to a 4-0 lead.
Sharapova broke back twice to level the set at 4-4, only to have Petrova break her again in the 10th game to capture the set and in the second game of the third set for a 2-0 lead before rain began falling to halt the match.
Petrova, who fell to 1-9 all-time against Sharapova, surrendered a break in the first game after the delay and Sharapova broke again four games later then held twice for the victory.
Sharapova will next face French 11th seed Marion Bartoli, who beat Czech fifth seeded left-hander Petra Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon winner, 1-6, 6-2, 6-0, to book her first trip to the US Open quarter-finals in her 11th attempt. (AFP)