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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Shaky Sharapova Advances at Pan Pacific

TOKYO -- Maria Sharapova rallied to defeat Italy's Francesca Schiavone 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 Thursday and advance to the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific Open.

Sharapova, who had clearly not got over her thrashing by Serena Williams in the Australian Open final last week, struggled with her serve but recovered to beat the unseeded Schiavone in three sets.

"I always find it tough to get into a rhythm in my first match here," Sharapova said. "It took longer than I wanted but I'm happy to come away with the win."

With on-court coaching allowed at the Pan Pacific, the world's No. 1 women's player, who had 17 double faults, turned her game around after a courtside lecture from coach Michael Joyce during the break between the second and third sets.

"It all goes back to your serve," Joyce told Sharapova. "You've just got to get it together and find a way to win."

Sharapova said the chat with Joyce helped her to refocus.

"He just told me to keep fighting," Sharapova said. "I didn't play my best tennis in the second set -- or the first, for that matter -- and he just told me to fight for every point."

Sharapova will face Japan's Ai Sugiyama in the final eight on Friday. Sugiyama downed Maria Kirilenko 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

In their only previous meeting, Sharapova beat Sugiyama in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2004.

In an earlier match, defending champion Yelena Dementyeva posted a 6-3, 7-5 win over compatriot Yelena Likhovtseva to advance.

Dementyeva's weak serve again threatened to be her undoing, and she hit eight double faults before recovering to close out the second-round match in one hour, 32 minutes.

"It was difficult to close out in the second set," said the third seed. "Yelena started to play well and I was afraid we were going to split and have to start all over."

Dementyeva will play Italy's Roberta Vinci in the quarterfinals. Vinci downed France's Severine Bremond 6-3, 6-0.

"It's going to be difficult to defend the title," Dementyeva added. "But I like this surface and will just try to relax and play my game."

Fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia continued her recent impressive run of form by defeating China's Zheng Jie 6-4, 6-0, while fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic, also of Serbia, overpowered Mara Santangelo of Italy 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Jankovic will next meet Ivanovic, while Martina Hingis faces Australia's Samantha Stosur in the other quarterfinal matchup of the $1.3 million event.