2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships
Carson, CA, USA - August 8, 2009
Editorial courtesy of the LA Womens Tennis Championships
Photography by David Burrows.
Looking at the scorecard, it's a wonder Saturday evening's semifinal ever went to a third set as three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova made 61 unforced errors and had 16 double faults in a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 error-marred loss to Italy's Flavia Pennetta at the $700,000 2009 LA Women's Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife.
The 10th seeded Pennetta meets Australian Samantha Stosur in today's final not before 2 p.m. and following the doubles final. Chia-Jung Chuang (Taipei) and Zi Yan (China) will play Maria Kirilenko (Russia) and Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) at 11:45 a.m.
"Obviously, I didn't feel physically fresh from the beginning of the match," said Sharapova. "I was surprised it went to the third. I certainly had my opportunities in the third. I just couldn't close it out."
Pennetta, ranked No. 14 in the world, will be trying for her eighth career WTA Sony Ericsson singles title and only her second on the hard courts with six of her seven titles coming on clay.
In the crucial ninth game of the second set at 4-4, Sharapova fell down 40-0 after two double faults. But she rallied back to force deuce with several powerful serves and then won the game before breaking Pennetta to close out the set.
"It's kind of strange because I've never won here until last year. Nothing special, I just like this tournament and the (slow) court here. That's why I played good tennis.
"In the second set I lost a lot of chances. I was supposed to finish it, but she started to play more aggressive. In the third, I started to have problems with my serve. I think we both did.
"I'm pretty happy because I didn't really play as well as yesterday, but I still came through with this match."
On Sharapova's problems serving:
"Of course she's going to be frustrated because she's one of the best servers on the tour. She's going to start serving like always again.
"Playing against her I have to be very aggressive. In the first, I went toward the net and it worked very well. In the second, I tried to wait for her mistakes. That's when I had problems.
"I was thinking too much about her. My coach told me to focus on my game and not worry about what she way doing."
"Tomorrow is gong to be very tough for me because (Samantha Stosur) is coming from a good result last week and this week. I have to serve much better. I still have to be very, very aggressive. I can't give her a lot of time to do her game. I have to do my game."
"Maybe three or four years ago I didn't play a lot of matches against the best players. Now, I'm starting to play a lot against them and I'm getting used to it."
"Obviously, I didn't feel physically fresh from the beginning of the match. I was surprised it went to the third. I certainly had my opportunities in the third. I just couldn't close it out.
"Obviously, you always think positive. I tried to be more aggressive. I was making too many errors off the forehand and the backhand side. I wasn't reading the game well in the beginning. I slowly started reading her better and I was lucky to win the second set. I think in the third it could have gone any way, but it just didn't go my way today.
"I'm certainly not losing any confidence. These are pretty darn good accomplishments. Am I happy where I am? Absolutely not. There's still a lot of work to do and a lot of tweaks to make. It's going to take time. It's going to take a while to reach that perfection.
Trying to hit 30-ball rallies against a good runner like her? That's a dumb game plan. I wanted to attack and I wanted to be aggressive, and sometime that causes for more errors."
"I felt like my energy kind of dropped in that third match. In the quarters I didn't."
"It's so weird to wake up and say my bicep or my shoulder is sore. I've never had that before. It's really new territory for me. But, after every tournament I'm starting to feel better. This is still a work in progress. I'd sometimes like to forget that I was gone for a long time, but you have to put things in perspective."
"I'm pretty pleased with the way I've been able to keep my head up, stay steady and figure out in the match what I have to do. I've had to figure out what 'Plan B' is if 'Plan A' didn't work."
"In my first few tournaments back my serve wasn't working very well. I've been doing pretty well with that now. I'd still like to be able to move a little bit better and I'd still like to improve on my serve."
Flavia Pennetta d Maria Sharapova [green dress] 62 46 63
Earlier Columns from this Event:
August 7, 2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships Coverage: Maria Sharapova, Urszula Radwanska
August 5, 2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships Coverage: Sharapova, Azarenka
August 4, 2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships Coverage: Ivanovic, King
August 3, 2009 LA Womens Tennis Championships Coverage: Sharapova, Bondarenko, Shaughnessy, Groth
Player Profile Index (Men) | Pro Tennis Showcase Archive | Player Profile Index (Women)
SUBSCRIBE TO THE TENNIS SERVER PHOTO FEED
All Tennis Server photography is copyrighted by the photographer and/or the Tennis Server, and all rights are reserved. You may not copy these images without permission. While you are welcome to create hyperlinks to Tennis Server web pages, you may not embed these images into other web pages or blogs without permission. To request permission, please use this contact form. Please be sure to clearly indicate exactly which photograph(s) you are requesting permission to use, as terms and conditions will vary depending on the photographer and the photograph.