Sharapova in the Quarterfinals of the US Open!
In an unpredictable and streaky match between two Russian six-footers, marked by jarring momentum shifts and a rain delay of 75 minutes, Maria Sharapova outlasted countrywoman Nadia Petrova, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Sharapova, the No. 3 seed, advances to her first US Open quarterfinal since 2006, when she won the title at Flushing Meadows.
“I’m so glad to be back in the quarters,” Sharapova said on court after her win. “It’s been so many years.”
The rains came with Petrova up 2-0 in the third set. But Sharapova returned to the court visibly pumped up. She exhorted herself with ever-more vigorous fist pumps and cries of “C’mon!”, winning five of the first six games and willing herself to victory.
Asked what her coach had told her during the rain delay, Sharapova laughed and said: “He told me to get my act together.”
In her post-match press conference, Petrova called the rain delay Sharapova’s “lucky day.” Sharapova shot back: “Great. I’m the winner, so whatever she wants to call it is fine with me.”
Sharapova is now 11-0 in three-set matches this year. Bidding to win her second Slam of 2012, she will meet surprise winner Marion Bartoli, who upset fifth-seeded Petra Kvitova.
Sharapova had steamrolled her way through the first three rounds, surrendering just seven games. Against Petrova, she initially looked to be in just as unsympathetic a mood. But after efficiently rushing through the opening set 6-1, Sharapova suddenly lost focus and began to spray unforced errors where she had been pounding clean winners.
While the No. 3 seed showed typical grit in clawing her way back into the match, Sharapova committed 41 unforced errors and eight double faults.