Sharapova announced last month that Connors would be tasked with leading her to further glory on a full-time basis, with the 60-year-old American replacing Thomas Hogstedt.
However, their union lasted just one match, with Sharapova suffering a shock loss against American Sloane Stephens at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati on Tuesday. “It’s not the right fit for this time in my career,” Sharapova, pictured, said in a statement e-mailed to www.tennis.com. Connors coached compatriot Andy Roddick for almost two years up until March 2008 and had a brief stint with Sharapova five years ago.
Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has vowed to put the mistakes behind him after preparations for the defence of his US Open title suffered a setback in Cincinnati. The British No.1, who was knocked out of the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open by Tomas Berdych on Friday, admitted he found the court conditions tough.
“The court was lively,” Murray said after the 6-3, 6-4 defeat. “It was bouncing pretty high. It was quite tough to control the ball. I made too many errors. I’ll need to work on my groundstrokes a bit, make sure I’m not making too many mistakes going into the US Open.”
Berdych’s reward is a semi-final against Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard rallied from a set down to beat old foe Roger Federer 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic was beaten by home favourite John Isner who won 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 7-5. Isner will now meet Juan Martin Del Potro who beat Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to complete the semi-final line-up.
In the women’s draw, top seed Serena Williams ended Simona Halep’s impressive campaign to set up a semi-final with defending champion Li Na. Williams won 6-0, 6-4.
Li was handed a walkover into the semis when fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska withdrew from the tournament to attend her grandfather’s funeral. Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Jankovic play the other semi.