KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Maria Sharapova converted her ninth match point to beat Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-2 in the third round at the Sony Open on Saturday night.
Sharapova closed out the victory 56 minutes after her first match point, which came in the tiebreaker. She had another match point in that set, and seven more in the final game.
The No. 26-seeded Safarova stayed alive with a succession of clutch winners, but pushed a forehand into the net at the end of a long exchange on the final point. She then shared a weary hug with Sharapova.
The match took three hours and ended at 10 p.m. to conclude a marathon day session on the stadium court, with two night matches to follow.
Earlier Serena Williams needed 2½ hours to beat Caroline Garcia 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.