Sharapova, Radwanska Advance To Singapore SFs, Halep Gassed, Pennetta Ends Career
by Staff | October 29th, 2015, 11:32 am

Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka both locked up spots in the semifinals of the WTA Finals in Singapore on Thursday. Sharapova kept her record clean dismissing US Open champion Flavia Pennetta 7-5, 6-1 to finish 3-0 and on top of the Red Group.

“I’ve lost the last couple of times against Flavia. I know what a tough competitor and opponent she is. I just wanted to get a little bit of revenge before she goes out of the game!” Sharapova said.

The 33-year-old Pennetta was playing her last event of her career (as of now).

“I’m happy to have had the chance to play this tournament,” Pennetta said. “I think to have my last match against Maria – it was amazing to play such a good champion. And it was also a good way to say goodbye, because when you lose against such a good player, there aren’t too many things to say.

“Right now I feel completely normal, like it’s not my last match – I don’t know why,” she added. “Maybe in a few days I will feel more different. But right now it’s so far, so good!”

Sharapova acknowledged Pennetta. “I just heard this was her last match,” Sharapova said. “It’s really sad to see such a great champion go. She’s had an incredible career, and I was so happy she got the Grand Slam at the US Open. I was smiling for her.”

Also, Radwanska snuck in at just a 1-2 record by defeating a tired Simona Halep 7-6(5), 6-1. With Radwanska, Halep and Pennetta all finishing at 1-2, Radwanska moved on because she won one more set than the other two.

“I was done,” Halep said of losing a 5-1 first set tiebreak lead. “No energy anymore. I was tired. I felt that I lost the chance to win the first set and probably I lost the chance to win the match in that moment.”

The victory was also Radwanska’s 500th of her career.

On Friday, the last two spots in the semifinal will be determined from the White Group. Garbine Muguruza will face Petra Kvitova in a first-time meeting. If Muguruza wins just a set she’ll qualify for the semifinals. And lefties Angelique Kerber and Lucie Safarova collide.

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17 Comments for Sharapova, Radwanska Advance To Singapore SFs, Halep Gassed, Pennetta Ends Career

Gypsy Gal Says:

Sharapova has a chance to end whats been a disapointing season on high note,the only other player i can see beating her would be Kvitova from the opposite group,whenever Serenas missing or goes out early from a tourney her chances always increase greatly,she will have been licking her lips and smelling blood with Serenas withdrawal….

RZ Says:

Muguruza has been playing well so she could do it too.

jalep Says:

Muguruza and Sharapova — tho, have not watched any Maria – just have watched highlights. Garbine is on fire.

GG, Petra shows signs of life and brilliance, but her energy level isn’t up to her Fed Cup or Wimbledon winning level quite.

A little surprised Aga finished off Flavia in straight sets. Hate to see either lose but congrats to Aga!

jalep Says:

^^ meant to say Aga finished off Halep in straights, not Flavia. I’m confused at this point…have no idea who is where, except for Sharapova has made it to the weekend.

FedExpress Says:

are women good returners or bad servers?

RZ Says:

So much for my theory that Kerber would have an easy time getting a set. But at least her result means that Kvitova made it through. Come on Petra, take out Shriekapova!

Gypsy Gal Says:

RZ i think shes the only one that could,however its like Jalep says will she be physically up to it?,if not it would be great to see a new first time YEC,but with the way this system works Sharapova can still lose a match get to the final and win the thing,depending on the permatations,any of the ones in the semis could,the whole thing has me scratching my head TBH so confusing….

Ben Pronin Says:

Fedexpress, both.

Honestly I’ve been curious for a long time why women struggle on their serve. I don’t mean holding in general, but just getting the technique down. Most women players can’t hit kick serves. So their first serves are either flat or slice, and their second serves are always slice. There are a few notable exceptions in Serena, Stosur, Kvitova, and a few others.

But then they become good returners because 1) they already have great ground strokes. This comes with the territory of being physically smaller. If you struggle to reach shots more often than not, then your best bet is to stay on top of the baseline, have compact swings to take the ball on the rise, and dictate play that way. The best example of this is Halep. She can look outright dominant when she’s on top of the baseline, but when she moves back and gets passive, even with her speed and defensive abilities she struggles against bigger hitters. And 2) because the serve is a liability, and they’re broken more often, they have to break back in order to stay in the match. Women are just more comfortable and therefore more aggressive when returning.

But my question really is, what are coaches teaching both juniors and pros? The serve is the most important shot in tennis and I don’t understand how these players can come through the ranks with really shoddy technique.

Although, to be fair, even with good technique, you can’t expect a lot of women players to have big serves simply because of their physical stature. Halep is 5’6. Nishikori, for example, is 5’10 and his serve is a liability on the men’s side. There’s only so much you can with that height.

Everyone should take lessons from Kohlschreiber. He’s also 5’10 but has a very good serve for any player, let alone his height.

Margot Says:

Of course I’m now going to play Henin, whom you’re quite likely to say is the exception that proves the rule.
USOpen quarters 2007, Justines average sppedd 105 mph, Serena’s 106.

I know folk don’t like her, allegations she cheated etc, but she was an extraordinary player and is one of my all time favourites.

Ben Pronin Says:

Henin was one of my favorite players. She definitely played above her height class. But yeah, she’s an exception. But notice that she always had good technique on her serve. My biggest issue is all the women players who appear to not know how to hit a proper serve in general.

Margot Says:

Ben, she must’ve had a hell of a technique on her backhand as well. Amazing. Isn’t Fed called a “male Henin?” ;)

RZ Says:

@GG – at this point in the tournament, it’s elimination so if Shiekapova (or any of the ladies) loses a match, she’s out. I still think Muguruza could win this if she keeps up her high level of play. I’m excited to see what she could do next year.

jalep Says:

@ RZ “Come on Petra, take out Shriekapova!” And that’s my problem with Maria, her shriek! Actually have been able to get around Vika’s howl but Maria…it ruins my enjoyment of watching her.

Not sure Petra can beat Maria. What I’ve seen of Petra, she’s still getting winded and weak-kneed when having to work hard for a point. Then it affects her serve, too. But I’m really wanting to watch Garbine v Maria.

Poor Aga is in deep with the 3 giant women. :D :D One of these is not like the others…

FedExpress Says:

look what the absence of serena can do to sharapova.

hope mugu wins it. best player from the remaining players this year.

RZ Says:

@jalep – the shriek is just part of it. There are a lot of things I don’t like about her. But she’s one heck of a competitor and I have to admire that.

Truthsquad Says:

@jalep – “one of these things is not like the others…”

My favorite comment on here today!

Margot Says:

Ah but truthsquad, jalep didn’t actually write that.
You’ve completely changed the meaning.

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