WTA Finals: Maria Sharapova Survives In Three Set Marathon Over Agnieszka Radwanska

In the second match of the Red Group in the WTA Finals, and the first night match in Singapore, third-seeded Maria Sharapova faced off against fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in their opening match of the round-robin Red Group. This would be Sharapova’s second match since Wimbledon, retired in Wuhan, and would pick up her first win at the Singapore Indoor Stadium defeating Radwanska 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Radwanska Takes The Opening Set

In the early stages of the match, Sharapova looked sharp only missing two first serves in her first two service games, but as well as she was serving, the Pole was just as sharp in playing phenomenal defense to keep her on track. The Russian was tested in that second service game though after leading from 40-15 and battled through four deuces before holding.

In the following service game, the Russian had a couple of looks at break points but was unable to convert on either. The troubles for Sharapova began to pile up as Radwanska continued to put pressure on her service games with her array of shots. Her low, flat, forehands kept Sharapova at bay as she would keep over hitting them. She was able to save a couple of break points in the seventh game after an ace and a forehand pass from the Pole found the net.

Sharapova would lead 4-3 at that point, but that was the last game she would win after Radwanska won three on the bounce to take the set. The three seed fell behind once again and saved the first break point of the ninth game with an ace, but a netted forehand ended it. The net was a familiar place for the Russian in the first set as she netted three consecutive times to end the set to give Radwanska the set 6-4.

The Russian Mounts Her Comeback

After a disappointing end to the first set, Sharapova began her comeback quickly with three games on the bounce to open the set. Radwanska hit an errant drop shot at 30-40 to give the break, and this one looked like it was headed three.

What looked like to be the turning point of the set was the sixth game, Radwanska was living on the edge and nearly fell behind 1-5 but saved two break points, one off a phenomenal cross-court forehand winner. Sharapova would then be broken for 3-4 despite saving two break points as Radwanska looked to have the match turned on its head. However, a break right back with the five seed serving to nod the set up at four apiece. Sharapova took the set 6-3 and forced a third set as this matchup was headed the distance for a second consecutive year in Singapore.

Third Set Thriller

To begin the third set, it was quite a battle. Sharapova would save three break points in a near 14 minute game which had everything from fantastic defense to drop shot winners. Those rued opportunities would haunt Radwanska in the next game as the Russian began blasting return winners to earn the elusive break to put her up.

Return winners continued to rain down on the Radwanska serve as she was broken for 5-2 but picked up one break back as Sharapova began to show signs of rust as she failed to serve out for the match a first time. After another hold for the Pole, Sharapova began to feel the pressure as she fell behind 15-40, but the turning point of the game was on that point when Radwanska hit an overhead right at the Russian who was able to lob her.

A backhand dropper put the game back to deuce and she would clinch the match on her second match point and looked on to her box with a shrug and a smile after winning a second consecutive marathon in Singapore against Radwanska. Next up for Sharapova will be Simona Halep while Radwanska faces Flavia Pennetta.