MIAMI, March 24 (Reuters) - Fourth seed Maria Sharapova got a much-needed wake-up call after sleep-walking her way through the opening set before dispatching Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 3-6 6-4 6-1 on Monday to reach the Sony Open quarter-finals.
German fifth seed Angelique Kerber also needed three sets to get by Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 1-6 6-3.
Sharapova, playing the first match of the day on a drowsy and overcast centre court, appeared to have trouble getting up for her fourth-round clash, as did many of the ticket holders with only a few hundred spectators sprinkled across the quiet stadium as play began.
Flipkens, however, came ready to play and broke a misfiring Sharapova at the first opportunity and again to go up 4-0 with the help of back-to-back double faults from the Russian.
In the second set, a suddenly alert and focused Sharapova turned the tables on the 19th seeded Belgian as she raced in front 4-0 on a pair of breaks on way to leveling the match.
Trailing 3-1 in the third set, Flipkens had a glorious opportunity to get back into the contest after going up 0-40 on Sharapova’s serve but was unable to convert on any of her four break chances.
Sharapova, a five-time runner-up in Miami, weathered the storm then closed out the match by sweeping the next two games to reach the last eight. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue)