Maria upsets 4th-seeded Liu to advance to quarterfinals

Sports

GAIBA, Italy (AP) — Fourth-seeded Claire Liu was upset by Tatjana Maria 7-6 (3), 6-7 (3), 6-3 Thursday in the second round of the Veneto Open.

The 35-year-old Maria, who is ranked 109th in the world, converted her first match point when her American opponent hit a return into the net.

Maria will next face sixth-seeded Diane Parry in the quarterfinals. The Frenchwoman beat Joanne Zuger 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

The Veneto Open is taking place in Gaiba, a town of less than 1,000 inhabitants — making it the smallest town in the world to host a WTA tournament.

It is the first WTA tournament played on natural grass in Italy and organizers are using former soccer fields for the courts. The host tennis club has been nicknamed “Gaibledon” in homage to Wimbledon.

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