Sharapova exits Paris

Slovakia's Cibulkova takes surprisingly easy victory

The Associated PressJune 3, 2009 

The final score of Maria Sharapova's stunning loss in the French Open quarterfinals Tuesday did not look quite as embarrassing as it nearly did: Her opponent led 6-0, 5-0.

That Sharapova saved a match point in the 12th game and wound up delaying her defeat for 15 minutes was of no consolation, of course. All that mattered was that her bid to complete a career Grand Slam this year ended when she was beaten 6-0, 6-2 by 20th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, 20, of Slovakia.

"I don't really care about numbers. It's either a 'W' or an 'L,' " Sharapova said, "and I prefer 'W.' "

All of that time on court at the French Open, and all of that time away before it, caught up to her, resulting in her most lopsided loss at a major tournament.

"You can only ask your body to do so much," said Sharapova, who had right shoulder surgery in October and had played four three-set matches at Roland Garros in her first major tournament in nearly a year. "Everything fell a little short today. The pace wasn't there on my strokes, and, you know, I was five steps slower."

Now 5-foot-3 Cibulkova -- 11 inches shorter than Sharapova -- faces the current No. 1, Dinara Safina, who overcame a shaky start to defeat No. 9 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.

When Cibulkova had won 11 of 11 games and was a point from ending things, it hit her.

"I realized, like, 'What is happening? 6-0, 5-0 -- it's too much, I think, against Maria,"' she said. "That's why maybe I missed the first match point."

On the men's side, Robin Soderling, seeded No. 23, stretched his career-best winning streak to eight matches by easily handling two-time French Open semifinalist Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 6-3, 6-1. Never before a Grand Slam semifinalist -- or quarterfinalist or even fourth-round participant -- Soderling will be a French Open finalist if he can beat No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile.

"I always knew that I could play really, really good tennis," Soderling said.

Gonzalez, the 2007 Australian Open runner-up, reached his first semifinal at Roland Garros with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 victory over No. 3 Andy Murray.

Three-time finalist Roger Federer plays Gael Monfils today for a spot in the semifinals, and Juan Martin del Potro takes on Tommy Robredo.

Borg's text: Bjorn Borg got in touch with Robin Soderling.

Borg shares the record of four consecutive French Open titles with Rafael Nadal, whose bid for No. 5 in a row came to an end with a loss to Soderling in the fourth round.

On Tuesday, Soderling received a text message from Borg.

"He said, 'Congratulations.' And, 'Thank you for not letting Nadal break my record,' " Soderling said. "I think he will be down here maybe tomorrow."

Bryans in semifinals: American twins Bob and Mike Bryan are back in the semifinals at the French Open, the Grand Slam event they consider the toughest.

The second-seeded Bryans beat Marc Lopez and Tommy Robredo of Spain 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-6 (2) Tuesday.

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