Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sharapova Denies Dementieva a SF.

Samantha Stosur will have her chance at revenge on Saturday, after beating Yanina Wickmayer to reach the semis of Stanford, where she will face one of her toughest opponents, Victoria Azarenka.

Stosur, the No.1 seed at the Premier-level tournament, fought for almost two hours to beat No.7 seed Wickmayer on Friday afternoon, 7-5 3-6 6-3. Stosur was serving 0-2, 15-40 in the third set before bouncing back into form, winning six of the last seven games to close out the one-hour, 52-minute match.

"I felt a little bit flat in that second set. I wasn't quite tough enough," Stosur said. "I knew I had to pick it up in the third, and I did that. I started to get the ball to her forehand a little bit more, hit it up the middle a bit, not give her the angles."

Stosur recorded her Sony Ericsson WTA Tour-leading 37th match win of 2010.

Next up for Stosur will be No.8 seed Azarenka, who ran her career record to 4-0 against No.4 seed Marion Bartoli with a 3-6 6-3 6-3 win. Bartoli, the defending champion, led 6-3 3-1 before Azarenka caught fire and rolled to victory.

"I was in a position to win the match, but she played really well and was able to come up with the win," said Bartoli, who won her fifth and biggest career title here a year ago. "In the third set I tried to fight as hard as I could, but she was too good. But it was the closest I've ever played her, so that's good."

Azarenka leads Stosur in their head-to-head, 3-0. The young Belarusian has never dropped a set to Stosur, although Stosur wasn't the player she is now - she is No.5 now (she was out of the Top 30 in their three previous meetings).

"Sam has been in great form the whole year. She has a huge serve," said Azarenka, who turns 21 on Saturday. "I will fight hard and play my game."

"There have been times we played close matches, other times she has killed me," Stosur said. "The last time we played was Miami last year though, and a lot of things have changed since then. Hopefully I can turn things around."

Earlier, No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska picked her moment and pounced all over good friend Maria Kirilenko, winning nine straight games from 4-5 in the first set to beat the Russian, 7-5 6-0. The two had been tied head-to-head, 2-2.

"I think she was a little bit upset about losing the first set," Radwanska said. "It wasn't easy to finish her off though. When I was up 3-0 in the second set I knew I was winning, but she's a fighter and I really had to focus to close it out."

Next up for Radwanska is No.5 seed Maria Sharapova, who beat No.2 seed Elena Dementieva in a two-hour, 47-minute night time marathon, 6-4 2-6 6-3. Sharapova had an 8-3 head-to-head edge against Dementieva going in but had lost their most recent meeting, on this same surface in Toronto last year. Despite 15 double faults she managed to improve to 9-3 against her fellow Russian, breaking away from 3-all in the third set with three straight games.

"I feel like I played much better than in my first round," Dementieva said. "My serve was not good enough today. She played very well. This is what I was hoping for - some tough matches here to feel the competition again."

Sharapova leads Radwanska head-to-head, 4-1, winning their last three.


Sunny nine said...

Despite Sharapova's double faults and the general error-prone play of both players, the match was exciting. Although I know Dementieva wanted to win, I am glad she can take away the match play after being off for awhile with her torn calf muscle. Although Elena's serve seemed odd at times. I think Stosur's play against Azarenka will depend on the confidence she has in her serve. When Bartoli was serving well yesterday, she had Azarenka pushed to the edge, so maybe Sam's key to beating Azarenka is her serve. Azarenka, though, is a fighter and if she keeps her emotions in tact will give Stosur a fight. I think Sharapova will make it through to the final. And when there will really put up a fight to win.

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