(Reuters) - Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky continued to swipe past the seeds at the Wuhan Open on Wednesday by dumping world number four Maria Sharapova from the hard court tournament with a 7-6(3) 7-5 victory.
The world number 61, who knocked out U.S. Open semi-finalist and 13th seed Ekaterina Makarova in the second round, prevailed again in the battle of baseliners to notch arguably the biggest win of her career.
Having taken the first set of the third round clash on a tiebreak, Bacsinszky fell 3-1 down in the second against French Open champion Sharapova.
The Russian, though, struggled to rid her game of unforced errors as the 25-year-old Bacsinszky broke back to level the match, which looked to be heading for a second tiebreak.
But a 43rd error from Sharapova gifted the Swiss the vital break to win the set 7-5 and set up a quarter-final clash with eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki, who swept aside Australian Casey Dellacqua 6-0 6-3.
Sharapova joined an alarming list of seeds dumped from the $2.4 million inaugural event at the early stages with only four of the 16 remaining.
World number one Serena Williams was forced to retire from her second round clash on Tuesday because of illness, while a back injury ended Jelena Jankovic’s run as did a thigh problem for Ana Ivanovic.
Second ranked Romanian Simona Halep only had herself to blame for her three set loss on Tuesday.
Germany’s Angelique Kerber was one seed to find the going unusually straightforward as she smashed past Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1 6-1 in quick time on Wednesday.
The seventh seed will next face Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, who was given a walkover to the last eight after Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, who performed so well in knocking out Halep a day earlier, withdrew because of gastritis.
France’s Alize Cornet, who was trailing Williams before the American retired on Tuesday, moved on through to the quarters with a 7-6(4) 1-6 6-3 win over Belgian wildcard Kirsten Flipkens.
Cornet recovered from a break down in the third set to set up a meeting with sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada.
Bouchard had a comparatively easier outing as she breezed past American Alison Riske 6-2 6-3 in the last match of the evening on Centre Court.
Cornet’s compatriot Caroline Garcia, who beat Agnieszka Radwanksa in the second round, smashed 11 aces in knocking out American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3 6-2.
Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Sudipto Ganguly