Maria Sharapova advances at Sony Open

Written by Associated Press | KEY BISCAYNE, Florida | Updated: Mar 23 2014, 17:09pm hrs
Maria Sharapova converted her ninth match point to beat Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-2 in the third round at the Sony Open on Saturday.

Sharapova closed out the victory 56 minutes after her first match point, which came in the tiebreaker. She had another match point in that set, and seven more in the final game.

The No. 26-seeded Safarova stayed alive with a succession of winners, but pushed a forehand into the net at the end of a long exchange on the final point.

The match took three hours and ended at 10 p.m. to conclude a marathon day session on the stadium court, with two night matches to follow.

Earlier Serena Williams needed 2{ hours to beat Caroline Garcia 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.