Pennetta Stops Sharapova in SFs

Flavia Pennetta beat Maria Sharapova under the lights in the semifinals on Saturday night.

Published August 08, 2009 11:59


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LOS ANGELES, CA, USA - Two of the hottest players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour will play for the LA Women's Tennis Championships title on Sunday, after both of them notched impressive semifinal wins at the Premier-level event on Saturday. (Video Los Angeles: SF Highlights)

Video Watch the Los Angeles final live and online at TennisTV.com

Samantha Stosur, who reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the French Open and was also a semifinalist at Stanford last week, reached her first final of the year with a 63 62 win over Sorana Cirstea. Stosur, the No.13 seed, and Cirstea, unseeded, had met only once before, in the quarterfinals of the aforementioned major in Paris. Stosur won that one handily, too, 61 63. (Video Highlights: Stosur vs. Cirstea)

"Overall, it was a very good day for me today," said Stosur, who will be looking for her first singles title on the Tour, although she has been to four finals and does have 22 doubles titles to her name. "I had good variety on my serve and hit some that she really wasn't able to pick up on. I felt I played a good match." (Video Interview: Samantha Stosur)

"Sam played great," Cirstea said. "From my point of view her serve is her biggest weapon. In the first set I couldn't break her; in the second set I had a couple of chances and got a little frustrated because I couldn't get them, and with her you don't get a lot of chances."

Cirstea had upset two Top 8 seeds en route to the semifinals, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska.

At night, No.10 seed Flavia Pennetta edged an unseeded Maria Sharapova in a tight three-setter, 62 46 63. Sharapova struggled throughout the match, hitting a total of 61 unforced errors - which included 16 double faults - but Pennetta kicked it up a notch at the right times en route to her 10th straight win, having gone 5-0 to win the Palermo title a few weeks ago and now 5-0 so far this week. (Video Highlights: Pennetta vs. Sharapova)

"Of course she's going to be frustrated because she's one of the best servers on the Tour. She'll start serving like she used to again," Pennetta said. "Playing against her I had to be very aggressive. Three or four years ago I didn't play a lot of matches against the top players, but now I'm starting to get used to it." (Video Interview: Flavia Pennetta)

"I was surprised it went to a third," Sharapova said. "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. But it's going to take time to reach that perfection." (Video See Sharapova's Shot of the Day)

Pennetta already has seven singles titles on the Tour, six coming on clay and one - Bangkok in 2007 - coming on hardcourts. She is 7-9 lifetime in finals.

Pennetta and Stosur will be playing for the very first time.

"Tomorrow will be tough because Samantha is coming from a good result last week and this week," Pennetta said. "I have to serve much better. I still have to be very, very aggressive. I can't give her a lot of time to play her game. I have to play my game."

"I think I have a good chance tomorrow," Stosur said. "I've never played Flavia, but I'm going to go in there and play my game and do it as best I can and hope that's going to be enough."

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