SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Maria Sharpova’s bid to end the year ranked number one was left hanging by a thread after she suffered a second straight defeat at the WTA Finals on Thursday.
The only woman capable of leapfrogging Serena Williams for the top spot, Sharapova was beaten 6-3 6-2 by Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at Singapore’s Indoor Stadium.
Sharapova still has a slim mathematical chance of finishing number one but has to win the title and rely on other results going her way after she also lost her opening match to Caroline Wozniacki.
“It’s easy to sit here and say, yeah, I’m tired. I lost two matches,” said Sharapova.
“But that’s not the way I feel or the way that I choose to speak. I still have a match ahead of me, and I will do my best to finish it on a good note.
“That’s the only thing I can ask of myself.”
Wozniacki edged closer to booking her place in the semi-finals with an impressive 7-5 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska.
Showing no signs of fatigue after her exhausting three-set win over Sharapova two days earlier, Wozniacki rebounded from a slow start to overrun Radwanska with an ominous display.
Wozniacki was down an early service break in the opening set but quickly got back on terms and proved too strong for Radwanska, running the Pole ragged on Singapore’s purple hardcourts.
“I just kept fighting for every point. There was some ridiculous shot making there at times,” said Wozniacki. “I just had to keep going and keep trying to stay close to the baseline really.
“I’ve been pleased with the way I’ve been running a lot of balls down, been serving well, just taking advantage of the important points.”
Wozniacki plays her final group match against Kvitova on Friday.
The Czech lost her opening match to Radwanska but stayed in the hunt with a much better performance against Sharapova.
“I was really disappointing when I lost against Aga (Radwanska). It was a match probably I really didn’t know what I’m doing on. I was so tired and sick of the tennis for a moment,” Kvitova said.
“So I didn’t practise today at all and I just really relaxed and cleaned my mind a little bit. I knew that I have a game to beat Maria.
“Everything what I did today was really good, and I’m glad that I beat her and I have still a chance to go to semi-final.