SINGAPORE: Maria Sharapova recovered from a second-set meltdown to record her first victory at this year’s WTA Finals with a 7-5 6-7(4) 6-2 triumph over Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanksa on Friday but the Russian still bowed out of the elite eight-woman tournament.
After losing her opening two Red Group round robin matches, Sharapova needed to win in straight sets to stand any chance of advancing to the semi-finals and maintaining her pursuit of Serena Williams’ number one ranking.
The Russian looked set fair to keep her side of the bargain when she roared into a 5-1 lead in the second set but she ran into a wall called Radwanska with the Pole returning everything Sharapova threw at her to save three match points and reel off five straight games.
Sharapova held a nervy service game to send the second set into a tiebreak and with her booming forehands suddenly unable to find their range, Radwanska ended her opponent’s interest in the tournament when she claimed the breaker 7-4.
For Radwanska, winning the set was crucial as it now means any victory for Caroline Wozniacki in the final Red Group game against Petra Kvitova later on Friday will send her through to the semi-finals along with the Dane.