TOKYO - Maria Sharapova’s effort to avenge her Wimbledon final loss to Petra Kvitova was brought to an abrupt end on Thursday after she twisted an ankle in the quarter-finals of the Pan Pacific Open. The Russian world number two was serving 40-15 up at 3-4 in an even first set when the injury struck.
Sharapova received court-side treatment but decided to retire soon afterwards, giving the Czech a free ticket to the semi-finals. “I hit a serve and then landed awkwardly on my left ankle. I felt a sharp pain and next thing I knew I was on the floor. It swelled up immediately and I knew there was no way I could continue,” said Sharapova in a statement.
“I am incredibly disappointed and in a lot of pain. I obviously really wanted to win and felt that I was playing well. “There’s not much more I can say right now. I’m sorry for the tournament and my Japanese fans that the match had to end this way,” added the two-time Pan Pacific champion. Kvitova, who claimed her first Grand Slam title by beating Sharapova in June’s Wimbledon final, described her withdrawal as “sad.”
“Because we played very nice tennis, I think, and it was a great match. I’m very sorry about her, because the ankle swollen was too big straight away. Hopefully, nothing it’s bad and she will be back early,” she said. In the semi-finals, Kvitova will play Vera Zvonareva after the Russian beat compatriot Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-3 earlier in the day. “It always feels great to be in a semi-final. I’m excited about it. It is always nice to go a little bit further than the previous year. I’m looking forward to my semi-final match,” said Zvonareva. Zvonareva, who broke Kirilenko three times, stretched her winning streak against her rival to six.
“I have no secret,” said the fourth seed. “I’m just trying to play my game, trying to find some chances that can cause her discomfort and trying to execute the way I can. So far it’s been working good for me.” Third seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus produced a storming finish in taking the last nine games to beat Marion Bartoli of France 7-5, 6-0 for a place in the other semi-final. “It was a battle in the first set. Second set I stepped up my level and played a more aggressive style of game. I’m really happy to be in the semis after a little bit of a break as it can sometimes be difficult to get the momentum going,” said Azarenka. Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland earned a place against Azarenka when she outclassed Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).