WTA Finals: Maria Sharapova Tops Red Group As Flavia Pennetta Says Goodbye To Tennis

WTA Finals: Maria Sharapova Tops Red Group As Flavia Pennetta Says Goodbye To Tennis

The Russian came from behind to take the opening set before a dominating second set finished off the Italian's career.

Noel John Alberto

It was a bittersweet night in Singapore when Flavia Pennetta and Maria Sharapova met. Sharapova came out on top in 7-5, 6-1, and due to other results, this would be the last time we would be seeing Flavia Pennetta on a tennis court as the straight sets loss knocked her out of the WTA Finals. It may have not been the way the Italian wanted to go out, but to finish her final season as a US Open champion, inside the top 10, and as a WTA finalist, it was quite the ride these last few months for Pennetta.

Sharapova’s Determination Helps Her Grab Opening Set

The Russian opened up the match serving and was immediately broken at 30-40 with a great backhand return winner down the line from Pennetta. With Agnieszka Radwanska’s straight sets win over Simona Halep earlier in the day, Pennetta needed to take at least a set to guarantee her spot in the semifinals. The break put her in the right spot to at least take a set, but it was still a long way to go.

Both women would hold serve after the Italian broke, but in the eighth game, Sharapova would take control of the 15-40 point after a forehand down the line forced the Italian into a defensive position. After a few more gets from Pennetta, the Russian hit a swinging backhand volley winner to level the match at 4-all. In the 12th game, Sharapova would convert the second of her two set points after a monstrous forehand return set up the swinging forehand volley

Sharapova Steamrolls Pennetta In Her Final Set Of Tennis

The three seed continued her phenomenal play into the second set as she broke Pennetta right away with a drop shot winner to put her up 2-0. Despite facing two break points in the fourth game, the Italian held for lone game of the set. A forehand winner saved one of the two break points she faced in the sixth game, but a double fault gave Sharapova a 5-1 lead and a chance to serve for the match. Sharapova only needed one match point to clinch as Pennetta dumped her backhand into the net.

Pennetta's final walk-off a tennis court in her career. Julian Finney/Getty Images

The two would walk up to the net as Sharapova gave Pennetta a warm embrace in her final career match. As Pennetta walked off, she was treated to a rousing ovation from the crowd for her final goodbyes to the sport of tennis. After the match, Pennetta said she didn’t have it in her to address the crowd as she knew she would break down in tears. It has been a wonderful career for the Italian which was capped off by a phenomenal 2015. We at VAVEL USA would like to wish the best of luck to Pennetta as we say “Addio” to one of the finest tennis players of this era.