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Sharapova survives tough challenge from Safarova in Stuttgart

Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova was on court for three hours and 24 minutes against Lucie Safarova.

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) - Defending champion Maria Sharapova survived a first-round scare at the Porsche Grand Prix by defeating Lucie Safarova 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-6(2) on Tuesday.

The sixth-seeded Sharapova needed three hours, 24 minutes for her 100th clay victory, three days after her 27th birthday.

Sharapova, who is bidding to win the tournament for the third time in a row, next faces fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Latvian qualifier Diana Marcinkevica 6-3, 6-2.

No. 8 seed Sara Errani recovered from a double break down in the second set to defeat Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4 for the Italian's first win in five visits to Stuttgart.

Also Tuesday, Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Italian qualifier Gioia Barbieri 6-2, 6-3 and another Russian, Alisa Kleybanova, defeated Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 6-4.

Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro defeated Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 6-4 and Roberta Vinci had a 6-3, 6-2 win over Annika Beck, ensuring the 20-year-old qualifier was the first German to be knocked out of the tournament.

No. 5 seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia was playing lucky loser Mona Barthel of Germany later.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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