| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Goldberg

World number two-ranked Maria Sharapova advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012 China Open in Beijing, winning the first eight games of her match against Polona Hercog then, after the Slovenian qualifier snuck two games to close to 6-0, 2-2, reeled off four more games to win, 6-0, 6-2. A day earlier, Hercog came back from 5-1 down in the third set to defeat Ekaterina Makarova.

"It wasn't easy," said Sharapova of her match with Hercog. "I was up a set and a break and played a couple of loose points, and then all of a sudden my opponent started feeling better and more confident. But when you have a letdown, you just have to recover as fast as you can."

Also moving on to the quarterfinals was world number one-ranked Victoria Azarenka, a straight sets winner over Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina, 6-3, 6-3. Azarenka never trailed in the match, but needed an hour and 32 minutes to close it out, punctuated by a marathon six deuce final game, finishing it off on her third match point.

"I didn't expect her to be that aggressive—she's always trying to take control, but she was really going for every shot," Azarenka said. "She was pretty successful. I have to say it was quite challenging in a few rallies to turn it around and be aggressive, be demanding, be controlling—it was a challenge for sure."