The long & successful career of Flavia Pennetta found a fitting end in Singapore on Thursday, as the reigning US Open champion played her last competitive match against Maria Sharapova.
Playing in front of an almost capacity crowd in Singapore’s Indoor Stadium, Sharapova brought her A-game despite being already qualified for the WTA Final’s semifinal stage, beating Pennetta in straight sets, knocking the Italian out of the tournament and sending her off into retirement.
After it was all said and done, Pennetta received a hug at the net from the five-time slam champion, a rare honor only few players have had before. Afterwards, the Italian rushed off the court as fast as she could, not wanting to receive any type of farewell ceremony in the fear of having to start crying on court.
Sharapova’s straight-set win was excellent news for Agniezska Radwanska, who follows the Russian into the semifinals despite only winning one of her three round robin matches. Radwanska beat Simona Halep in straight sets, clinching her 500th win on the WTA Tour.
Afterwards, the Pole was openly admitting that she was going to root for Sharapova to win in straight sets against Pennetta to secure her passage into the semis, a rather awkward situation considering the somewhat strained relationship between the two players.
With Sharapova and Radwanska locked into the round of the final four, Friday will decide which two players will complete the 2015 WTA Finals semifinal stage. Garbine Muguruza will play Petra Kvitova, while Angelique Kerber faces Lucie Safarova and all four players still have theoretical chances of making it out of the group stage.