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Maria Sharapova prevails in error-filled match

Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts after defeating Marion

Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts after defeating Marion Bartoli of France in their women's singles quarterfinal match. (Sept. 5, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova, in a U.S. Open match of binge flubbing, edged No. 26 seed Sabine Lisicki early Saturday morning, 6-2, 6-4, to avoid Friday's trend of upsets in the women's draw.

Sharapova, the No. 5 seed, put only 62 percent of her first serves in play -- after having a percentage in the 40s early in the second set -- committed eight double faults and had 24 unforced errors. The action essentially matched Sharapova's shrieking grunts that indicated pain.

But Lisicki ultimately outdid her, racking up 32 unforced errors as both women spent an inordinate amount of time playing outside the lines, or trying to knock holes in the net.

In character with the 1-hour, 41-minute battle, the match ended when Lisicki sent a crosscourt forehand wide.

Between them, they hit only 34 winners among the total 140 points scored. Sharapova, who won the U.S. Open in 2006 and has four other major titles to her name, repeatedly took herself out of rhythm with her shaky serve, even in winning the first set, when she double-faulted five times.

This is her 10th U.S. Open and she's lost in the third round four times. Her earliest exit was in her first Flushing Meadows appearance, in 2003.

Lisicki, a 24-year-old German who, like Sharapova, lives in Bradenton, Florida, now has a 1-6 career record against Sharapova, 27, of Russia.

Lisicki never has been past the fourth round of this tournament. She's been to a Grand Slam final only once, a 2013 loss at Wimbledon to Marion Bartoli.

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