MOSCOW, Oct 14 (AFP): World number one Maria Sharapova crashed out of the 2.3-million-dollar Kremlin Cup joint ATP and WTA tournament here Friday suffering a quarter-final defeat to fellow Russian Dinara Safina.
Safina, ranked 24, battled back from a set down to win 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 in 2hr 21min to record her first win over her top seeded opponent in their third meeting.
"She didn't give me anything at the beginning," said Safina. "I was almost crying, I didn't want to lose a match like that."
Sharapova, 18, looked in command from the start breaking her 19-year-old opponent twice before Safina chalked up her first point with a break.
But former Wimbledon champion Sharapova restored her four-game lead with another break minutes before she took the opening set in 31 minutes.
In the second Safina managed to tighten the grip under the watchful gaze of her elder brother Marat, the reigning Australian Open champion, and kept her serve until the seventh game, when Sharapova broke again.
But Safina replied immediately, winning three consecutive games to level at one set all after one hour 15 minutes on court.
In the third Safina was leading 5-1 after a couple of breaks but Sharapova performed a dramatic comeback and levelled at five games all after she survived a matchball in the seventh game.
Safina picked up steam and took two consecutive games to win the set, the match and to earn a place in the semis.
"Today I played much better than in my previous match here," said Sharapova. "Safina was playing very good as I expected.