Ana Ivanovic hands Maria Sharapova first setback on clay
Sharapova had won back-to-back titles at Stuttgart and Madrid, compiling a dozen straight victories.
Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open winner, had won two of 10 previous meetings with the four-time grand slam champion, the last coming seven years ago at a Roland Garros semi-final.
The Serb next plays Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
In other matches on the women’s side, second-seeded Li Na of China defeated Australian veteran Sam Stosur 6-3, 6-1 and will next meet 10th-seeded Sara Errani of Italy, who kept the crowd content by beating Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska 6-4, 7-6.
Also, third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska eliminated Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-1, and Suarez Navarro of Spain advanced on a walkover from Simona Halep.
On the men’s side, Germany’s Tommy Haas upset third-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the men’s quarter-finals.
The oldest player in the draw at 36, Haas used his expertise to give Wawrinka trouble with heavy topspin on the red clay courts at the Foro Italico.
Haas had not beaten a top-10 player since taking out then-No 1 Novak Djokovic in Miami more than a year ago.
“These things don’t happen too often anymore, so I still take them and I’m really proud of them,” the German said.
Wawrinka cited a back injury that occurred in colder conditions during his opening win over Spanish qualifier Pere Riba.
“I couldn’t move too well,” he said. “It’s really nothing serious. It’s just painful and I need some rest – maybe a few days.”
The 15th-seeded Haas broke Wawrinka to take a 5-3 lead in the third set with a series of deep spinning shots that eventually prompted Wawrinka to miss a forehand.
Haas then served it out with an ace down the middle on his first match point.
Haas committed just 17 unforced errors to Wawrinka’s 40.
Wawrinka has had a solid year by winning the Australian Open and the Monte Carlo Masters, but he also had an early exit in last week’s Madrid Open – leaving his form in question for the French Open in 10 days.
Haas was a Rome finalist in 2002, losing the title match to Andre Agassi.
“He’s a really good player,” Wawrinka said.
“He has a good serve, he can come to the net and he has touch. We all know how he [plays].
“He’s been there for a while.”
In other matches, seventh-seeded Andy Murray of Scotland topped Jurgen Melzer of Austria 7-6, 6-4, eighth-seeded Milos Raonic defeated 11th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 6-4 and Jeremy Chardy of France defeated Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3, 6-2.
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Published: May 15, 2014 04:00 AM