Maria Sharapova edged a determined Zheng Jie and continued her winning streak in the doubles with Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the 2010 Hong Kong Tennis Classic on Wednesday.
Sharapova came back from a set down to win over local favorite Zheng, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2, at the 2nd match of the world team challenge featuring Teams Russia and Asia Pacific.
"There's no better place than to start in Hong Kong," Sharapova said after the match that lasted for more than 2 hours in Victoria Park. She said she has great memories of Hong Kong ever since she was young.
The Sharapova vs Zheng match delighted the full house crowd with killer returns and stunning down the line winners.
The Russian superstar posted another victory alongside Kafelnikov in Wednesday's last match. The pair representing Russia defeated Japanese Ayumi Morita and Thai Paradorn Srichaphan, 6-4, 7-5.
Sharapova's twin victories along with Vera Zvonareva's win over Morita in Wednesday's 1st match propelled Team Russia to the Gold Group Final. Team Asia Pacific, on the other hand, will play in the Silver Group Final on Friday.
Teams Europe and the Americas will clash Thursday afternoon. Victoria Azarenka of Belarus will face Gisela Dulko of Argentina, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark will challenge Venus Williams of the United States, and Stefan Edberg of Sweden will take on Michael Chang of the US. Great future
Srichaphan earlier defeated Kafelnikov, 6-2, 1-6, 10-4, posting the 1st win of Team Asia Pacific. The men's singles match featured 2 tie-break sets with a match tie-break in place of a 3rd set.
The Thai superstar said he was happy to be back on the court after being away for almost 2 years. He regarded Kafelnikov, a 2-time grand slam champion, as "one of the best tennis players in history."
Zvonareva, meantime, scored the 1st win for Team Russia. She overwhelmed Morita, 6-2, 6-2, though she said her Japanese foe was a "very tough opponent."
Zvonareva added that the 19-year-old Morita has a "great future ahead of her."