Sharapova makes last eight
Maria Sharapova breathed a huge sigh of relief after reaching the quarter-finals of the 2012 Women's French Open.
The number two seed emerged 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 at the end of a three-hour arm wrestle in which she hit 53 unforced errors to just 38 winners and converted on just 12 of 31 break points to send Klara Zakopalova home from Paris.
The Russian regained her composure late in the game on Court Philippe Chatrier to secure her 20th win in her last 21 three-setters and was gracious to admit on another day she may have been packing her bags.
"I thought my opponent played extremely well - I've played her a few times already and that's the best she's ever played against me," Sharapova said after the match.
"She's dangerous. She has had some very good wins before, so she's confident. On top of that, some days she goes out there and just goes for it, and it seems like everything just goes in and stays so low over the net."
Sharapova will next face Kaia Kanepi for the chance to make the last four at Roland Garros and, ultimately, improve on her previous best of twice making the semi-finals to win the only Grand Slam which has eluded her.
She added: "I had chances to finish it in two sets and I didn't. But I came out strong in the third set, and that's what matters. It's nice to be in the quarter-finals again."