Former champion feels the pain in Indian Wells
Maria Sharapova saw her chances of reclaiming the BNP Paribas Open title ended after she suffered an elbow injury.
The 10th seed, a winner at the Indian Wells event in 2006, had been leading 3-2 in the deciding third set against Zheng Jie when the problem flared up.
And although the Russian bravely attempted to battle on, she lost the four remaining games to suffer a 6-3 2-6 6-3 defeat.
And Sharapova admitted the problem had hampered her serving ability.
“On my serve it was really blocked extending it,” she said.
“I just felt like I couldn’t really extend it all the way. It was a little stuck. I’m sure I’ll have a check-up on it.”
The 22-year-old claimed, though, she should have had the game wrapped up long before the injury.
“I’d have periods of good games, and then the problem is trying to keep them all together and not be so up-and-down,” Sharapova said. “It was just very inconsistent.
“She’s like a ball machine. She hits a lot of balls back, hits them hard and deep.