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By Erik Gudris | Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Maria Sharapova Backhand Madrid 2014

Maria Sharapova battled back in the final set versus Christina McHale before advancing at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Photo Credit: AP

No. 8 seed Maria Sharapova found herself digging out of a deficit in the final set before sealing a three sets win at the Mutua Madrid Open.

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Taking on American Christina McHale in the second round on Tuesday, Sharapova looked poised to win in easy fashion after claiming the opening set 6-1. McHale targeted Sharapova's backhand throughout the second set and then made her move.

With Sharapova struggling with her serve at 4-5, McHale pounced to win the set and force a decider.

That marked the first ever set McHale had ever taken over Sharapova in four career meetings.

With strong hitting, especially on her forehand side, things continued to go McHale's way. Breaking Sharapova early, she surged ahead 4-1 in the final set. But McHale, who had been solid in her own service games, began to show signs of nerves as she attempted to close out the upset.

At 4-2, McHale threw in a double fault down break point and then netted a backhand allowing Sharapova to get back on serve. Showing more resolve, Sharapova soon leveled the set and then broke McHale again for 5-4.

With a final ace, Sharapova served out the 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win. Sharapova struck 27 winners to just 15 from McHale in the nearly two and a half hour contest.

Next up for Sharapova will be Australia's Sam Stosur who needed three sets herself to advance over Spain's Garbine Muguruza 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

Earlier in the day, No. 2 seed Li Na had little trouble over fellow countrywoman Zheng Jie. Li won 6-2, 6-3 and will now face American Sloane Stephens in the third round.


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