Pennetta Edges Stephens In Thriller

Flavia Pennetta outlasted Sloane Stephens on Thursday to become the first Italian woman in the 25-year history of the BNP Paribas Open to reach the semifinals.

Published March 13, 2014 12:15


Embedded code:

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Flavia Pennetta wrapped up the semifinal line-up at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday, outlasting Sloane Stephens in a two-hour, 26-minute quarterfinal thriller, 64 57 64.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Indian Wells right here on wtatennis.com!

The pair had played three times before but all of those meetings were on clay, so this was some new territory - and it was as close as could be, with Pennetta going up a set and a break, then Stephens clawing back in the second set, then Pennetta serving for the match at 64 54, then Stephens reeling off six games in a row to sneak out the second set and build a 3-0 third set lead, with a point for 4-0.

But the final and most important momentum swing went Pennetta's way - the No.20-seeded Italian won six of the last seven games of the match, eventually beating the No.17 seed on match point No.5.

"We didn't play our best tennis," Pennetta said. "Maybe in the beginning we played much better, and in the second one, but the third was a disaster for both of us. I'm happy to get through this match, but I don't have good feelings right now - it's just crazy outside, the wind is just coming out of nowhere.

"But on the other hand I'm happy because I was 3-0 down in the third and fought until the last point."

The wind was visibly affecting both players - how did Pennetta handle the conditions better?

"I was just trying to put the ball in the court - the middle of the court!" the Italian said. "But even though I was trying to do that, none of the balls actually went in the middle. It was always right or left.

"But she was in the same conditions too. I was just trying to stay in it and see what happened."

Pennetta was asked for her thoughts on Stephens and the young American's game. "She's one of the best players. In the future, I think she will be one of the best - Top 10 for sure. She has everything: unbelievable forehand; backhand; she's improved her backhand a lot in the last year; she's powerful.

"She has everything."

Awaiting Pennetta in the semifinals will be No.1 seed Li Na. Li leads Pennetta in their head-to-head, 3-2, and won their only meeting in the last four years in this year's Australian Open quarterfinals.

"She plays more or less like me, but she's more powerful than me," Pennetta said. "I have to be really aggressive tomorrow and try to take control, but it's not going to be easy. She's so good. She's playing unbelievable this year. She started amazing in Australia - the match was completely in one direction and I didn't have any chances at all. But I hope to have a little bit of a chance tomorrow."

Share this page!

Related news

  • Gavrilova Wins Australian Open WC

    December 21, 2014
    A year ago she was watching on crutches, but now she'll play in the main event. Daria Gavrilova has won the third and final Australian Open wildcard play-off event.
  • On This Day: Chrissie Is Born

    December 21, 2014
    It's a very, very special time of the year, as Chris Evert, the WTA's first World No.1 and one of the most accomplished players of all time, celebrates her birthday.
  • Happy Holidays From The WTA

    December 21, 2014
    Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova and the rest of the WTA family want to wish you and yours a Happy Holidays. Check out this video!
To The Top