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Adieu, Maria
Sharapova barely avoids shutout in two-set loss

PARIS - Facing match point in the quarterfinals, Maria Sharapova was no longer focused on winning her first French Open title. She merely wanted to win a game.

That she did. A weary, rusty Sharapova averted a shutout Tuesday but lost to Dominika Cibulkova 6-0, 6-2 in the worst Grand Slam defeat of her career.

'I don't really care about numbers,' she said. 'It's either a W or an L, and I prefer W. You know, if it's 7-6 in the third and you come out with a loss, I mean, what's the difference?'

Cibulkova's opponent Thursday will be top-ranked Dinara Safina, who rallied to beat Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Cibulkova was one point from victory at 5-0 in the second set before Sharapova finally found her form. She won that game and then another, hitting a flurry of winners and saving four match points before Cibulkova closed out the win.

Sharapova was playing in just her second tournament after a layoff of nearly 10 months because of a right shoulder injury. She won three-setters in all four previous rounds at Paris, and the long matches took a toll.

'I guess you could only ask your body to do so much,' she said. 'Everything fell a little short today. The pace wasn't there on my strokes, and I was five steps slower.'

The three-time Grand Slam champion had 27 unforced errors to nine for the No. 20-seeded Cibulkova, a Slovak who advanced to her first major semifinal.

In men's play, Robin Soderling came up with an impressive encore to his upset of top-ranked Rafael Nadal by beating Nikolay Davydenko.