Maria Sharapova squeezed past Samantha Stosur in a gruelling Porsche Tennis Grand Prix quarterfinal, in a match that was long and steady, mostly going with serve, where nuances decided the advantageous player.
Sharapova and Stosur were both solid in the first set, Stosur a bit more, and despite wasting two break opportunities, one of which was a set point at 5-4, in the tiebreak Stosur completed the task and took the first set.
The second set continued to go with serve until 3-3 and finally in the 19th game of the match Stosur stopped the pattern and broke Sharapova. However, that proved not to be the turning point, as the always-determined Sharapova complicated the matters and the tournament organizer’s schedule plans. The fifth-seeded Stosur was serving for the match at 5-4, but Sharapova broke to level 5-5 and then we had another tiebreak in which the second-seeded Russian came out as a winner, considerably prolonging the match.
Similar to the first two sets, the third also went with serve, until in the tenth game Sharapova broke serve and in the following game the Russian earned 40-0 on her serve for three match points, second of which she converted to win 6-7(6) 7-6(6) 7-5 in three hours sharp.
The other two quarterfinals were also long three-setters. Top seed Victoria Azarenka defeated Mona Barthel 6-4 6-7(3) 7-5 in two hours and 48 minutes and Agnieszka Radwanska beat Li Na 3-6 6-2 6-3 in two hours. Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova are playing the last remaining quarterfinal. (photo: Ralf Reinecke)
What a fantastic day of action in Stuttgart and the match I really wanted to see has not even started yet! Sharapova was stunning from the end of the second set to the end of the match, but Stosur fought well to stay in as long as she did.
Barthel was mightily impressive again but still needs to improve her game mentally. Let’s not forget though this is her first year playing week in, week out on the main tour so hopefully that will come with experience. Azarenka did very well to pull the win out in the end.
I was really surprised to see Vika have so much trouble with Barthel. Is she a little weaker on the clay compared to the other surfaces?
No, Mark, Azarenka is not weaker on clay – Mona is a fabulous talent, and (as James hinted above) as soon as she catches up on the experience of playing big matches, and toughens up in the process, she’ll make everybody look ‘a little weaker’ – on any surface. I, for one, can hardly wait.
Thanks for the education about Mona! I’ll keep my eyes on her.
What an amazing match for Maria though! But just imagine how quickly Masha would have won with that cute short hair cut that she never had. 🙂
What a fabulous day of women’s tennis at Stuttgart! It showed how strong and competitve women’s tennis is at the moment, and shows the doubters that there is life after the Williams sisters. Despite their losses, Kerber and Barthel are exciting prospects on the WTA in the next year or two.
That Stosur/Sharapova match was thrilling. If I were Stosur, I would still be happy with my loss, as she remained competitive throughout the entire match. Stosur probably should have won it, but I suppose that applies fairly often in many matches like this.
No surprises that the Top 4 are all in the semis. These top 4 women are starting to establish themselves as being on another level above the rest, not too dissimilar to the ‘Big 4’ on the ATP.