Sharma battles to WTA win in Palermo

Astra Sharma has won through to the last 16 of the WTA 250 event in Palermo but her fellow Australian Lizette Cabrera was a first-round casualty.

ASTRA SHARMA of Australia.
ASTRA SHARMA of Australia. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images.

Astra Sharma has followed the lead of fellow Australian Maddison Inglis in Palermo to reach the last 16 of the WTA 250 event.

Seventh-seeded Sharma overcame a mid-match blip to get past Italian Lucrezia Stefanini 6-4 1-6 6-3 in a tick over two hours - a day after Inglis advanced in the same quarter of the draw.

Hours before Sharma won through in Italy, Queenslander Lizette Cabrera was defeated 6-2 6-3 by Katarina Zavatska of the Ukraine.

World No.121 Sharma and Stefanini both broke serve five times in a wild match that included numerous momentum swings.

Going down a break in the opening game of the deciding set, Sharma battled back to take a 5-3 lead.

She saved two break-point chances in the 10th game before securing victory on her first match point.

Sharma will play Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva for a spot in the quarter-finals while Inglis faces a stern test against top seed Danielle Collins, after the American eased past German Katharina Gerlach 7-5 6-3.

Cabrera fell behind early in both sets to Zavatska and although she got back on level terms at 2-2 she could not manage to edge ahead.

Chinese fourth seed Zhang Shuai was among those to advance to the round of 16 with Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova and Russian Kamilla Rakhimova the seeded casualties.