INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- No. 79 Camila Giorgi upset defending champion Maria Sharapova 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday.
It was an error-strewn performance for the fifth-ranked Sharapova, who hit just 16 winners to a whopping 58 unforced errors, compared to Giorgi's equally unimpressive 24 winners and 48 errors. Even more surprising, Giorgi was able to win despite serving at only 45 percent. The two combined for 15 service breaks in the two-hour, 36-minute match. Sharapova's aggressive return game just didn't come through and her footwork around the ball deteriorated as the match progressed.
"I did not play a good match at all and I started very poorly," Sharapova said. "I've never played against her, but she's someone that doesn't give you much rhythm. She's quite aggressive, but some shots she hits incredible for a long period of time. Sometimes they go off a bit. But if I'm speaking about my level, it was nowhere near where it should have been."
Giorgi, a 22-year-old Italian qualifier, stunned Caroline Wozniacki at the U.S. Open last year for her first complete-match victory over a top-10 player, and now she has a second. Sharapova doesn't lose often to players ranked outside the top 30, though she did fall to No. 131 Michelle Larcher de Brito at Wimbledon last year.
Sharapova has yet to make a final in four tournaments this year and with this loss she will drop to No. 7, her lowest ranking since the summer of 2011. She missed the last three months of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury and says she needs more matches to feel comfortable on the court.
"I think the physical part of it is something that is hurting me a little bit when we're going into these three‑set matches," she said. "That's not a secret for anyone. And when you skip those months, there's nothing that gets back that match play than just going out and doing it. You can train for so many hours on end, and it just doesn't replicate what you're doing out there in the tournament. Of course, this doesn't help when you only play a couple of matches at a tournament."
Sharapova is scheduled to play next week's Sony Open in Miami, where she was a finalist last year.This post has been updated.