Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sharapova falters in three shaky sets

NEW YORK — That Maria Sharapova's shaky serving, with a dozen double faults, contributed to her early exit at the U.S. Open came as no surprise.

That her other strokes were problematic Friday could be explained away by the perpetual motion of her third-round opponent, 26th-seeded Flavia Pennetta.

That three-time major champion Sharapova's nerve would fail her in the crucible of a third set? Now that was the real stunner.

Unbeaten this year in 12 previous matches that went the distance, the third-seeded Sharapova dropped the last seven points of a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 loss to the Italian that took 2½ hours.

"She's a good fighter, you know. You can never give up with her. You have to be focused until the last game; until the last point, actually," Pennetta said. "But I think (at) 5-4, she's starting to feel a little bit of pressure."

After trailing 3-0 and 4-1 in the last set, Sharapova turned things around briefly, getting to 4-all, 15-30 on Pennetta's serve. But the 2006 U.S. Open champion didn't win another point.

"I came back. I had chances. There's no doubt I had chances," Sharapova said. "But I guess (Friday) was the day I didn't take them."

Aside from all of those double faults — including two to begin the final game — Sharapova finished with a total of 60 unforced errors, twice as high as her winner count.

Meanwhile, ninth-seeded Sam Stosur, a Tampa resident, edged No. 24 Nadia Petrova 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 to reach the fourth round in a match that took 3 hours, 16 minutes — the longest women's match in tournament history (the previous mark: Sybille Bammer defeated Marion Bartoli in 3:05 minutes in 2008).

On the men's side, No. 4 Andy Murray lost the first two sets against 41st-ranked Robin Haase but rallied to win 6-7 (5-7), 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-4.

"At the beginning, I felt sluggish, felt slow," Murray said. "I started forcing myself to get every single ball."

Defending champion Rafael Nadal built a 6-2, 6-2 lead before Nicolas Mahut quit because of an abdominal injury. In an all-American matchup, Andy Roddick reached the third round by beating 18-year-old Jack Sock 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Other winners included 18th-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and three Americans: Donald Young, who upset No. 14 Stanislas Wawrinka; No. 28 John Isner, a Tampa resident; and Alex Bogomolov Jr.

.Fast facts

Today's key matches

Men: No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. Nikolay Davydenko, No. 3 Roger Federer vs. No. 27 Marin Cilic, No. 8 Mardy Fish vs. Kevin Anderson

Women: No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki vs. Vania King, No. 4 Victoria Azarenka vs. No. 28 Serena Williams, No. 7 Francesca Schiavone vs. Chanelle Scheepers

TV: 11 a.m., Ch. 10; 7 p.m., Tennis

Sharapova falters in three shaky sets 09/02/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 3, 2011 12:34am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    Did the Rays make the right call in picking RHP Austin Pruitt rather than top prospect Brent Honeywell? Though Honeywell had tweeted he was as ready as he'd ever be, the Rays felt better going with Pruitt, who gave them the five innings they were seeking.

  2. Damion Lowe returns to Rowdies after eventful Gold Cup


    ST. PETERSBURG — Pretty well emotionally spent, and not at all rested physically having just finished a life-changing stint with his native Jamaica in the Gold Cup, Damion Lowe wants the Rowdies to know he's ready.

    Damion Lowe, right, returns to the Rowdies — though he is likely to get a rest in tonight’s 7:30 home game against Pittsburgh — after an eventful six Gold Cup matches.
  3. Rays journal: Lineup dominated by Masahiro Tanaka in loss to Yankees (w/video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Sometimes you just have to dig out the good news, and for the Rays on Friday it may well have been that they didn't get no-hit in a 6-1 loss.

    Austin Pruitt waits for Brett Gardner to round the bases after leading off the first with one of three homers Pruitt gives up.
  4. Rays at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. Saturday, New York

    The Heater

    Today: at Yankees

    1:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell throws against the Rockies during the first inning Tuesday. He left after allowing just one hit and striking out nine in six shutout innings.  {Associated Press}
  5. Steve Cishek latest bullpen upgrade for Rays, who now must translate that to wins

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The Rays made another addition to change the look of their bullpen Friday in acquiring veteran side-armer and former closer Steve Cishek from Seattle.

    Reliever Steve Cishek has a 3.15 ERA in 20 games after recovering from offseason hip surgery and a 1.86 ERA since a rocky second outing of the season.