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.
I guess you have to retire for Sharapova to hug you. Usually you get the limp handshake and a nod.
Pennetta obviously doesn’t expect to be hug but Maria shows really good sportsmanship this time as farewell to Pennetta. 🙂
Sabey, “you have to retire for Sharapova to hug you” ahahhaha *crying* 😀
Maria has actual hugged non-retiring players before 😉
She hugged Safarova twice (Stuttgart & Miami) and she also hugged Gajdosova once.
Jimmie48, wow you’re shooting out impressive data! 🙂 How did you even remember all those instances and the actual places they happened in?
I don’t understand why people have to criticise Maria whatever she does. Is it mandatory to hug your opponents in every match? That would be a false attitude to criticise!
I think Maria showed a lot of affection and respect for Flavia, as a person and as a tennis player. If you look at the video of the match, you can see that Flavia was going for the handshake and it was Maria who went for the hug. Also, in the on court interview Maria was very nice in saying that she was happy when Flavia won the Us Open and she was smiling for her.
Anyway, I am impressed by Maria: she is back in the game, stronger than before, she played some amazing drop shots and even volleys! She showed once again that tennis is what she loves more than everything! A true champion!
Mary, we are not criticizing Maria, we’re just having an objective discussion. I admire Maria’s successes and personality, even her well-known unfriendliness with other WTA players I totally respect and it somehow suits her since she’s achieved so much and branched out in numerous business ventures.
Haha!! I actually remember maria hugging lucie because it was so rare 😛 . I think Maria is genuinely happy for flavia. she even tweeted how flavia deserved that slam when she won us open