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German qualifier stuns Henman, Sharapova wins

Written by: Staff

MIAMI, Mar 27 (Reuters) Briton's Tim Henman was stunned by unheralded German qualifier Simon Greul 0-6 6-1 7-5 in the third round of the Nasdaq-100 Open today.

Women's fourth seed Maria Sharapova survived a scare before she booked her place in the quarter-finals. She needed five match points before overcoming her friend and fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko 3-6 6-4 6-1.

Former Wimbledon champion Sharapova avenged her defeat by Kirilenko in Beijing last September despite producing 43 unforced errors.

''I was down a set but I tried to hang in,'' Sharapova told reporters following the battle that lasted over two hours.

''I wasn't playing my best, that's for sure.

''She put pressure on me and kept me on the defensive. It came down to a few points in the second set and I picked it up in the third.'' Henman looked in command after sweeping the opening set in 18 minutes as the 24-year-old Greul, a first round winner over Paradorn Srichaphan, won just four points.

The momentum shifted in the second set when the 130th-ranked Greul, who missed four months in 2003 with an ankle injury, asserted his game.

SHOCKED HENMAN Playing in his first Masters Series tournament, the German baffled Henman as he levelled at a set apiece, then recovered from a break down in the third to complete the upset.

''I'm shocked,'' Henman, who had notched up back-to-back wins over former world number ones Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt in the previous rounds, told reporters.

''To play as I did and for him to play that badly... I didn't take anything for granted. I wanted to keep the pressure on.

''I missed one forehand (in the third game of second set). I was then playing a different player.

''After having beaten Safin and Hewitt and then having a match like this. It certainly doesn't sit well with me.'' Henman hit 26 unforced errors, three less than Greul, who next plays either Andy Roddick or Fernando Verdasco.

American ninth seed James Blake defeated Finn Jarkko Nieminen 6-3 4-6 6-1 to continue a purple patch which guided him to the Pacific Life Open final earlier this month.

Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova earned a walkover into the women's quarter-finals after seventh seed Patty Schnyder withdrew with an ankle problem.

Reuters PDS VP0325

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