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Sharapova rallies to avoid early loss, Li cruises at Madrid Open

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Maria Sharapova faced a tough test from Christina McHale, and was forced to rally back from 4-1 down in the third set.

MADRID (AP) - Maria Sharapova avoided an early exit from the Madrid Open on Tuesday, rallying to beat Christina McHale to reach the third round.

Trailing 4-1 in the final set, Sharapova steadied her erratic service game and took command again to beat the 56th-ranked American 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory on clay at the Magic Box.

Earlier, Li Na continued her recent dominance of Zheng Jie by easing into the third round 6-2, 6-3 for her fourth straight victory against her fellow Chinese player. Zheng hasn't won a set from the second-ranked Li since her last victory in 2006.

Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic also advanced with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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