Nine percent break point conversion rate, that’s what best describes Petra Kvitova’s performance in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix semifinal against Maria Sharapova. In the end, Sharapova won just two points more than her opponent and advanced to her fourth final of the season with a 6-4 7-6(3) victory.
Whether the Russian will win her first title of 2012 will be determined in the final against top seed Victoria Azarenka, who cruised past Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 6-3, which is her fifth victory over the Pole this year (actually, Radwanska hasn’t lost to anyone else this season).
In the first set, at 2-2 Sharapova led 40-0 on Kvitova’s serve, and even though the Czech didn’t give the game away easily, Sharapova used her fourth break opportunity to earn a crucial break of the set which she eventually won 6-4.
The second set was even steadier result-wise, as the first break of serve happened in the eleventh game. But what was frustrating for the third-seeded Kvitova was that she had eight break opportunities until 5-5, including a set point, while Sharapova had none, and after saving that set point and winning her service game, in the eleventh game Sharapova broke Kvitova’s serve. It wasn’t over, though. Serving for the match, the second-seeded Sharapova needed to fend off more break opportunities and Kvitova finally converted her 11th one to force a tiebreak. The momentum was Sharapova’s still, and she ended Kvitova’s 27 indoor match winning streak.
By the way, notice that the semifinals of Stuttgart featured the top four ranked players. (photo: Ralf Reinecke)