Third set lucky for Sharapova to outbattle Bartoli


Flushing Meadows

Maria Sharapova's comeback to beat Marion Bartoli in the quarter-finals of the US Open here yesterday was almost as inevitable as the rain which has put its habitual dampener on the second week of the year's final Grand Slam. When matches go to three sets there is no more likely winner than the 25-year-old Russian, who beat Bartoli 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to earn a semi-final against Victoria Azarenka.

Sharapova has been taken to three sets on 12 occasions this year and has won every time. Last year she lost just once in the 13 three-set matches she played. While she is rarely found wanting physically, it is Sharapova's remarkable mental strength that is usually the telling factor.

Bartoli led 4-0 when the match was called off because of rain late in the afternoon on Tuesday. When play eventually resumed after rain also delayed the start of play yesterday it was soon clear that the stage was set for another Sharapova comeback, although the recovery started too late for her to save the first set.

At 4-4 in the decider Bartoli saved two break points, but on the third Sharapova turned defence into attack to thrilling effect to give herself the chance to serve for the match. Playing in her first quarter-final here since she won the title six years ago, Sharapova went on to create match point with her 10th ace and promptly converted it when Bartoli hit a return wide and long.

"The rain break gave me a few hours to think about things," Sharapova said afterwards. "I came out flat yesterday and she was playing so tough. I had a good night's sleep and came back ready to start again."

The win ensured that Sharapova will climb one place to No 2 in the world rankings at the end of the tournament, though she cannot overhaul Azarenka. Sharapova won her last meeting with the world No 1, on clay in Stuttgart earlier this year, but Azarenka leads 5-4 in their overall head-to-head record.

In the other half of the draw Sara Errani reached the semi-finals at the expense of her friend and doubles partner, Roberta Vinci. Errani, who won 6-2, 6-4, said: "Playing a quarter-final against your best friend is difficult. There is much tension. Because of the rain we were on, off, on, off, so it was difficult. We know each other very well. We played together many times. It was strange to see her on the other side of the net. Normally when we walk on the court we go together and we talk. Today was a bit strange."

Errani, runner-up at this year's French Open, will now play the winner of the concluding quarter-final between Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic, which was due to start yesterday's night session.

Tournament organisers were hoping to make up for lost time following the interruptions caused by the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, which started unloading rain on the city on Tuesday. The first of the men's quarter-finals – Andy Murray against Marin Cilic and Roger Federer against Tomas Berdych – were also due to be played last night.

With no cover on any of the courts, bad weather has forced this tournament into a third week for the last four years in succession. Although at this stage there is still plenty of time to complete the event on Sunday as scheduled, organisers will be looking anxiously at the forecasts, which are predicting mixed weather for the next few days.

Thankfully, this should be the last year to feature the final weekend's "Super Saturday", when both men's semi-finals are scheduled, along with the women's final, giving no room for manoeuvre before the men's final on the following day. From next year the plan is to have a day's break between the men's semi-finals and final (as the three other Grand Slam events have), although it is yet to be decided whether the tournament would end on Sunday or Monday.

Andy Roddick's career ended when he was beaten 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 by Juan Martin del Potro in emotional scenes at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The American took the first set tie-break when their rain-delayed match resumed, but once Del Potro had won the second on another tie-break the 2009 champion eased to victory. In the quarter-finals Del Potro will play Novak Djokovic, whose opponent, Stanislas Wawrinka, retired with an injury when trailing 6-4, 6-1, 3-1.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions