TORONTO -- In a season full of talk about the parity in womens tennis, unheralded Galina Voskoboeva became the latest to step up and prove exactly that point Thursday. The 26-year-old from Kazakhstan, ranked just 135th in the world, dispatched No. 5 Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-5, on a day that not only marked the ousting of one of the sports biggest stars, but the ejection of a couple of newly-minted Grand Slam champs. Voskoboeva, who cruised past Marion Bartoli and Flavia Pennetta to earn her date with Sharapova, beat the Russian veteran with lovely drop shots and had the six-foot-two Sharapova chasing balls back to the baseline all game long. "Every game was so tight, you know. Its like it was deuce, advantage, deuce, advantage," Voskoboeva said. "So I just knew that I have to be focused and to continue playing... anything could happen." Sharapova became the latest casualty of the Rogers Cup womens draw, which has seen 11 of the 16 seeds bow out. The tours top 10 women hail from nine different countries, there arent one or two stars who dominate every tournament, and on any given day, anybody can win. Thursday was proof of that. "It makes for an exciting story because at the end of the day it doesnt matter what youre ranked or seeded, the reason we go out and play the matches is to know whos going to be the winner on that day," said Sharapova, who has 23 career singles titles -- Voskoboeva reached her first career semifinal earlier this year. "Whether youre number one in the world or youre facing someone thats 100 or so, you still have to go out and win. Thats what the sport is all about," Sharapova added. Hours earlier, No. 6 seed Li Na was knocked out of the third rounds action with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to No. 10 seed Samantha Stosur of Australia. Li became the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam singles title two months ago at the French Open. American star Serena Williams advanced to the quarter-finals with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Chinese qualifier Zheng Jie. Williams showed off her powerful serve, firing 10 aces. After a tough first set, Williams took the momentum in the second and dictated play from there. "I decided that I had to like really relax and really calm down and just, you know, try to start playing better," Williams said. "She was really just playing well from the whole match. I just tried to do better." Williams will face Lucie Safarova in the quarter-finals. The Czech native downed eighth seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-3, 6-3 to advance. And No. 11 Andrea Petkovic of Germany joined Stosur and Williams in the quarter-finals after cruising by seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2. Kvitova won Wimbledon last month to claim her first Grand Slam title. No. 3 seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia is also out, losing 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. Voskoboeva and Sharapova battled point for point before the Kazakh player nearly lost her composure, allowing Sharapova an opening in the match that lasted an hour 47 minutes. The 24-year-old Sharapova was facing match point three times but Voskoboeva double-faulted twice and then fired a shot into the net. Voskoboeva hurled her racket to the ground in frustration a couple of times pulling herself together, sealing the victory when Sharapovas shot fell short. "Obviously she played really well this tournament and you could tell today that she came to the match with a lot of confidence, swinging away and going for serve and her shots," Sharapova said. "If she could consistently play like that, she wouldnt be ranked where she is today. She showed that she can play really great tennis." No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus booked her spot in the quarter-finals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, while Roberta Vinci of Italy defeated Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, 7-6 (3), 6-2. Thursdays loss of star power came a day after No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was ousted. Also gone: second-seeded Kim Clijsters, who withdrew earlier this week due to an abdominal injury, and former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic and No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli, who were dispatched in their opening matches. No Canadian players remain in the singles draw. Two months after powering her way to title on the clay courts at Roland Garros, Li Na spent her first and last match of the tournament trying to rediscover the form that propelled her to superhero status in China. "I felt like a junior on the court," Li said. Li was playing her first game of the week after being handed a bye through the first round and then a walkover victory when Shuai Peng of China withdrew with an injury. The rust was obvious as she fired numerous returns long on another blustery day at Rexall Centre, eventually bowing out when she smacked a forehand into the net. "Its always tough after a break to come back for the first match, because I had six or seven weeks that I didnt play a tournament," Li said. "At the beginning of the match I didnt even know what I should do on the court, not like during the clay-court season." The Li-Stosur match was held during a power outage at the venue -- a Toronto Hydro problem, according to Rogers Cup organizers. The main scoreboard remained dark for just over an hour, while the corner scoreboard periodically worked, powered by a backup generator. The lack of electricity was mirrored by a match that was absent of any sizzle, as the 27-year-old Stosur, who has two career singles titles, used her powerful serve to topple Li. And for the second straight day, the wind was factor, swirling around the stadium at 25 kilometres an hour, wreaking havoc for the players and providing a chilly match for spectators. "If you watched the match, everyone can see, she has a huge, big serve ... Not a normal girl serve. Its tough for me to return," Li said. "Also today was so, so windy, I couldnt use my serve a lot in the first serves." The 29-year-old Li defeated Italian Francesca Schiavone in the French Open final, the most-watched tennis match in Chinas history, and returned home to a heros welcome. But sitting in the post-match press conference, black therapeutic tape wrapped around her right knee, Li deflected questions about her Grand Slam victory. "French Open in over," she said bluntly. "Of course it was a good experience, exciting moment for me, but right now I should focus on the hard-court season." Petkovic said she was surprised by how one-sided her match with Kvitova was, but pointed out that Toronto marked her opponents first tournament since her heady week at Wimbledons All England Club. "I was expecting a really tough match," said the 23-year-old Petkovic. "But the conditions were not easy at all, they were really tricky. And she didnt play for so long, I know how I feel the first two matches when I come back after one or two months. "And her tennis, with her very flat strokes in those kinds of conditions is really, really tough." Kvitova, whos won four titles this year, admitted to feeling flat after taking a couple of weeks off after Wimbledon. "Im ready for the tournament but I have to play more matches," Kvitova said. "Im OK, Im not too sad. Of course I lost, but Im OK and I know its preparation for the U.S. Open and still I have to work." wholesale jerseys
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