Sharapova Outslugs Kvitova In QFs
Published March 25, 2014 12:14
After a few scratchy matches - she was pushed to three sets by Lucie Safarova and Kirsten Flipkens in her last two rounds - Sharapova came out a little slowly against Kvitova, her unforced errors hitting double digits after just a few games and Kvitova breaking early and building a 4-2 first set lead.
But serving at 2-4, 15-30, the No.4-seeded Sharapova found her range in the nick of time - she would sneak that game out and eventually win 11 of the last 13 games of the match, getting more and more dominant as the match went on and closing out the No.8-seeded Kvitova in straight sets, 75 61.
"I didn't have a good first few games, so I was happy I kept trying to do the right thing - keep steady, but also keep trying to be aggressive," Sharapova said after the match. "I think that really paid off as the match went on, because I made a few too many unforced errors in the beginning of the match.
"I started getting more chances as we played more games in the first set, and little by little I started getting myself back in the points more and playing my game, playing well, going inside the baseline - you're never sure until you finish the match, but I really felt like I started doing the right things."
Sharapova was also very complimentary of her fellow Wimbledon champion after the match. "Petra is a Grand Slam champion," she said. "You can never underestimate someone that goes on the court and has that experience. She's capable of playing really great tennis, and I think everyone knows that."
After getting over the fourth round hurdle at the Sony Open Tennis, Sharapova has never lost before the final - she is now 6-0 in quarterfinals at the Premier Mandatory stop and 5-0 in semifinals.
Williams leads Sharapova in their head-to-head series, 15-2, and has won their last 14 in a row.
"It's no secret that she's been a big challenge of mine, an opponent that obviously I would love to beat," Sharapova said of Williams. "There are certainly ways I need to step up in certain situations I haven't been able to do in the past against her, but it's great I have the opportunity to play her again."
And does Sharapova feel Williams raises her game when the two Career Grand Slam holders play?
"She plays well all the time," the Russian said.