Bartoli Turns It Around, Sharapova Up Next
Published September 02, 2012 12:00
NEW YORK, NY, USA - In one of the sharpest turnarounds of the tournament Marion Bartoli upset the hottest player of the summer hardcourt season on Sunday night, recovering from a first set blowout to beat Petra Kvitova in three sets and complete her career Grand Slam quarterfinal collection.
Bartoli had lost to Kvitova routinely in their last meeting at Montréal a few weeks ago, 61 61, and things looked headed for the same bottom line as Kvitova blazed ahead, 61 10; but the match turned on a dime from there as Bartoli reeled off 12 of the next 13 games - and at the end of the night the No.11-seeded Frenchwoman ran away against the No.5-seeded Czech, 16 62 60.
Bartoli has now been to the quarterfinals of all four Grand Slams, having done it once at the Australian Open (she was a quarterfinalist in 2009), once at the French Open (a semifinalist in 2011), twice at Wimbledon (a finalist in 2007 and a quarterfinalist in 2011) and for the first time now at the US Open.
Kvitova was the form player of the three week summer hardcourt lead-up season, winning two of the three Premier legs at Montréal and New Haven and reaching the semifinals of the other one in Cincinnati (falling to Angelique Kerber). Kvitova was the Emirates Airline US Open Series winner and, like Bartoli, was also looking to complete her Grand Slam quarterfinal collection.
And it doesn't get any easier whatsoever for Bartoli - next up is No.3 seed Maria Sharapova, who beat No.19 seed Nadia Petrova, 61 46 64. Sharapova looked headed for a straight set win as she led 61 44, but Petrova won four games in a row to take the second set and build a 2-0 lead in the third.
Then, the rain delay.
"I have the experience to get off the court, wait a little bit and just try to start from scratch," Sharapova said of her mentality. "You have a rain delay and you come back, and the people waited through 45 minutes to watch the end of the match. The energy in the stadium, the music and the cheering, it's just unique. It pumped me up. I wasn't going to leave that court without a fight."
Sharapova is now 11-0 in three-setters in 2012, and 23-1 in them since the start of 2011 - the only loss in that stretch came in the third round of last year's US Open to Flavia Pennetta. "It's a nice statistic," Sharapova said. "I don't really think about it going into a new third set situation, because every match is different, whether you started slow and came back in the second, or whether you had a letdown in the second. But overall, I always think that no matter how you start the match, it's always how you finish. Whether it's an hour or three hours you're out on the court, I don't want to give up until the last point.
"That's pretty much the mentality I try to have going into a third set."
Sharapova has beaten Bartoli in all four previous meetings, in straight sets too - but they haven't played in over two years, and Bartoli wasn't ranked higher than No.20 in any of those meetings (she's No.11 at the moment).
"It was a great win for her today, beating someone who has been playing really well this summer," Sharapova said of the Frenchwoman. "It's nice to see her back in the quarterfinals of a Slam. I think she's been a little bit up and down, but obviously her level has stepped up here at the US Open.
"I've played her before. I know her game style. It's a little bit different, non-traditional. But it's the quarterfinals and I'm excited."