Maria Sharapova stuggles past Tsvetana Pironkova at Wimbledon
Thursday 28 June 2012
Maria Sharapova survived a Wimbledon scare as she fended off Tsvetana Pironkova in three sets.
The 25-year-old top seed and title favourite led by a set and a break in their second-round contest when bad light stopped play last night.
But Bulgarian Pironkova, a Wimbledon semi-finalist two years ago and quarter-finalist last year, threatened to turn the match around before a destructive display from Sharapova in the deciding set gave her a 7-6 (7/3) 6-7 (3/7) 6-0 victory.
"I started too slow today and she came out firing," Sharapova said.
Pironkova made the perfect start by reeling in the break of serve by which Sharapova had led.
That break back was immediate, with 24-year-old Pironkova bringing the second set back on serve at 3-2 and then staying with the Russian to 6-5, at which point the underdog was made to serve to stay in the match.
A stunning drop shot after an electrifying rally put Pironkova ahead, Sharapova netted with a backhand on the next point, and the players were soon into a tie-break.
Pironkova claimed the first mini-break but gave it back with a double fault. Sharapova, who for a large part of her career has had a serving problem, threw in a pair of doubles to trail 4-1, then lanced a shot beyond the baseline to bring a deciding set closer.
And when a forehand landed long, the set belonged to Pironkova.
But that was the end of her resistance, with Sharapova showing the poise which has taken her to number one in the world as she shook off her mid-match blues and raced ahead by a double break.
A third break soon followed to carry Sharapova into a 5-0 lead, with the decibel levels from her grunting seemingly rising with the soaring level of her performance.
Sharapova then ploughed a crosscourt forehand past Pironkova's defences to make sure of her last-32 place.
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
- 5 Dutch paedophile club to fight their ban at the European Court of Human Rights
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains