Daniilidou forced to back out

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Top seed Maria Sharapova advanced to the third round of the Los Angeles Classic on Wednesday after Greece’s Eleni Daniilidou retired with breathing difficulties. Down 7-6, 3-1, Daniilidou called it quits after a medical timeout and left the court in tears. «I had a virus for four days and I wanted to try because Maria and I have such great fights,» Daniilidou told reporters. «I just couldn’t pull out because these are the matches that you work for.» Sharapova, who won the San Diego Classic last week, nearly lost control of the first set but came back from a 0-3 deficit in the tiebreak to win it 7-5. «I was doing the right things, I just needed to keep looking for opportunities to come forward,» Sharapova said. »I feel better and my confidence increases the more I keep winning.» Sharapova will face 18-year-old Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands in the next round. Daniilidou is not the only player who has been struck by a flu bug that players say is going around the locker-room. At Stanford, France’s Marion Bartoli was ill and was bed-bound for four days, as was second seed Jelena Jankovic, who managed to get past China’s Peng Shuai 6-1 6-1 on Wednesday. «I’m still not 100 percent and still blowing my nose on each changeover,» said Jankovic. «I didn’t practice the last four days. I was in bed taking medicine… I’m worn out and not even sure how I managed to play.» Jankovic will face 13th Sybille Bammer of Austria, who thrashed Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-2, 6-1. Playing in her first match since reaching the Wimbledon semifinals, third seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia beat American Ashley Harkleroad 6-4, 6-2 and defending champion Elena Dementieva eased past 17-year-old American Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-0. Dementieva will face fifth seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who beat American Jill Craybas 6-3, 7-6.