5-7 7-5 6-5 BREAK! It will all be decided here. Sharapova gets ahead with a 40-15 lead, forcing a couple of break points. Despite missing the first opportunity, she takes the second one with a blistering forehand return and will get a chance to serve for the match.
5-7 7-5 5-5 Sharapova gets helped by the net cord, her ball landing just on the line and with Radwanska no way near to it. After a well constructed point and an ace, she grabs a 40-0 lead. A couple more points later it’s back to Radwanska’s serve.
5-7 7-5 4-5 Two forehand misses from Radwanska put her under pressure at 0-30 down. But Sharapova is unable to use this advantage and we have got a 30-30 situation here. An oustanding rally follows, with Radwanska finishing it with a delicate forehand passing shot. As she attacks the net in the very next point, she manages to put away the second smash and Sharapova will be serving to stay in this match.
5-7 7-5 4-4 Sharapova stands right inside the baseline, trying to push Radwanska as far back as she can. The Pole is just an amazing athlete, running down some almost unreachable shots from the Russian. But this time Maria comes out on top as she holds to 30.
It’s 1:50 am local time (Istanbul) – but I am sure the crowd are enjoying themselves:)
5-7 7-5 3-4 A forehand winner from Maria opens up this seventh game. She fires a backhand down the line that looks like another winner at first glance, just to be challenged by Radwanska and the hawk eye showing that it landed just wide. The game continues to be on a knife’s edge as the players split the next two points. Sharapova makes another superb move towards the net and gets a break point after a she sinks a forehand, but she is unable to use it, pulling her backhand wide. Radwanska takes the next two points and the game is in her pocket.
5-7 7-5 3-3 BREAK! Radwanska is fighting for every single ball, tries to make Sharapova to hit the extra ball. Goes 30-15 up as the Russian misses a forehand sitter, but subsequently produces a forehand unforced error herself. Yet Sharapova doesn’t do herself any favours as she hits a double fault followed up by a forehand miss. Set back on track!
5-7 7-5 3-2 BREAK! A dropshot well placed and a forehand pass miss from Sharapova hand Radwanska a 30-0 lead. Despite the Pole having a couple of chances to close out the game at 40-15, Sharapova keeps asking the questions as she forces deuce. A spectacular drop shot get and another backhand killer give her a break point which she bags with a forehand cross court followed by a massive come on!
5-7 7-5 2-2 Maria holds to 30 as she hits her 13th backhand winner of the match in the process. After 2 hours and 27 minutes played, this could go either way. It looks like these two players will fight for the first place in the group.
5-7 7-5 1-2 Radwanska shows some superb skills, great anticipation and superb volley skills. On the other hand, Sharapova lets out a loud come on! at 30-30 but she has got a little catching up to do right now as the Pole holds to 30.
Sharapova 48 winners, 48 unforced errors
Radwanska 13 winners 13 unforced errors
5-7 7-5 1-1 The Russian moves 30-0 ahead just before her backhand completely misfires and a net approach goes wrong. Fortunately for her, the serve saves her this time and after hitting two bullet first serve winners, she levels the score at 1-1.
5-7 7-5 0-1 Sharapova’s positive start of the decider, goes 30-15 up, just before hitting two very close ground strokes just landing long with the umpire having to overrule the linesman call twice. An important hold for Radwanska.
5-7 7-5 SET SHARAPOVA! The Russian manages to consolidate the break this time around, holding to 15. Could this be the turn in the match? Her serve helps her in the end and the belief that she can win this surely returned to her.
5-7 6-5 BREAK! Sharapova plays all or nothing now. She is going for every single shot and it pays off for her as she gets herself to advantage and a break point at the same time. Radwanska comes into the net just for Maria to pass her with an oustanding backhand cross court. What a change in comparison to the last game.
5-7 5-5 BREAK! A disastrous game for the Russian. Starts with her 7th double fault of the match and subsequently misses two ground strokes wide. A terrible forehand follows and the set is back on track.
5-7 5-4 BREAK! Radwanska gets off to a superb start, taking a 40-0 lead. A very clever net attack finished with a forehand volley winner get her going. But Sharapova stages a great comeback to get to deuce, firing a couple of winners on her way. The Russian earns herself a break point but Aga averts it as Sharapova’s forehand lands just wide. However, the second break point opportunity for Maria arises and this time she grabs hold of it to give herself a chance to serve for the set and force a decider.
5-7 4-4 A very good start for Sharapova (30-0) is followed by a couple of not so convincing points. Her serve lets her down once again and we have got another deuce on our hands. After Radwanska misses an easy looking ground stroke and gets upset with herself, Sharapova smacks a backhand cross court winner to take the game.
5-7 3-4 BREAK! Radwanska is unable to consolidate as Sharapova miraculously fires three winners in a row and gets the crucial break back. Aga just missed too many first serves her, not a great play this time.
5-7 2-4 BREAK! Sharapova starts with a well needed ace, but the Pole subsequently comes up with a forehand passing shot to set the score at 15-15. Despite hitting a winner to take the lead, it is erased by another double fault. Radwanska gets to a break point after the Russian goes just wide on her ground stroke and the challenge proves it. However, Maria averts the danger with a delicate forehand volley to get to deuce. But unfortunately for her, two extraordinary misses hand Radwanska the game and the 4-2 lead.
5-7 2-3 Probably the most convincing hold for Radwanska so far. With some clever serving she takes it to 15 and Sharapova clearly looks a bit unsure of her tactics right now.
5-7 2-2 Sharapova produces her second ace but she pulls a backhand down the line wide (15-15). The Russian hits another un-returnable first serve that is called out. After she challenges, the hawk eye proves that it was all ok. A backhand cross court winner hands her two game points. Radwanska tries to get back into the game and isn’t too far from doing it as she pulls off another superb drop shot, but then she commits a backhand unforced error and this game is over.
5-7 1-2 Radwanska shows that she can also play aggressive tennis. An ace and a successful net approach finished with an overhead give her two game points at 40-15. A few moments later she has got the lead in the set.
5-7 1-1 BREAK! A forehand inside out winner from Maria and a netted forehand on the Pole’s side start the second game. A double fault follows and the score is set at 30-15. Radwanska moves into the net after Sharapova is forced to hit a short ball and punished the Russian for it. One more double fault give the Pole a re-break point which she takes without a hint of hesitation.
5-7 1-0 BREAK! Now then! Maria earns herself the first break points of the match as she takes a 40-15 lead. Misses an easy looking forehand wide and Radwanska comes up with a very cute looking drop shot to set up a deuce. The Russian forces another break point but the Pole averts this one too. A fourth break point chance arises as Sharapova puts some pressure on her opponent and finishes the rally with a pick up volley drop shot. But Radwanska brings it back to deuce yet again. However, the Russian finally grabs hold of her sixth opportunity and takes a 1-0 lead in this second set.
Stats of the first set:
Radwanska – 4 winners, 4 unforced errors
Sharapova – 21 winners, 24 unforced errors
Sharapova has a little chat with the coach and he is clearly advising her to step in and take the ball early. But that’s exactly what she has been trying to do so far.
5-7 SET RADWANSKA! Sharapova moves Aga around the court, opening it up nicely to set up an easy forehand finish. A cracking first serve hands her a 30-0 advantage. Despite hitting a double fault on the very next point, it doesn’t cause too much damage for her. Radwanska is the one who is trying to attack her opponent’s second serve, sets up a nice forehand approach, but she hits it straight into the net. But she manages to take the game to deuce and force Sharapova to come up with a forehand error. Set point for the Pole. Out of the blue, Radwanska takes the next point as Sharapova’s backhand sails long.
5-6 Radwanska starts the game with a very clever forehand winner. But it is the Russian who is the more aggressive of the two players, even though the Pole is managing to absorb the pressure quite well. A couple of return misses from Sharapova mean that Aga holds to 15 and Maria will be serving to stay in the set for the second time.
5-5 The Russian 2012 Roland Garros champion opens up the 10th game with a backhand winner, followed up with her first double fault. She subsequently erases it with her first ace of the match (on the 2n serve). This time Sharapova is the lucky one as the net cord helps her at 40-30 to win the game.
4-5 Sharapova steps up twice in a row after the Pole’s second serve, hitting one winner and subsequently forcing an error from Radwanska to take a 30-15 lead. A dissapointing return and a good first serve from Aga give her a game point at 40-30 which she takes after Sharapova nets a forehand.
4-4 Radwanska goes 15-0 up before the Russian unleashes her deadly backhand cross court, followed up by a very solid first serve winner. Another serve bullet and a not quite well executed drop shot from the Pole mean that the score is levelled at 4-4.
3-4 Sharapova takes a 30-15 lead but then comes up with a bad miss and a bit of luck on Radwanska’s side as her ground stroke hits the top of net, putting Sharapova off balance. The Pole holds and we are yet to witness a break of serve in this encounter.
We saw a fairly average quality tennis in today’s first match between Serena and Li Na, with the American prevailing in straight sets. It was followed up with an amazing match between Vika Azarenka and Angelique Kerber, with Vika averting two matchpoints and winning in three sets. Hope this last match of the day will offer some specatacular tennis as well.
3-3 The best rally of the match up until now ends with a Sharapova forehand drive volley. A superb inside out forehand winner gives the Russian a 30-0 lead. This is the first time that she is dominating on her serve from the beginning. Another forehand drive volley bullet means three game points. And guess what – there is only one way to finish the game for Sharapova – with yet another forehand drive volley winner:)
2-3 Sharapova is trying to attack the Polish player’s second serve, but without any major success so far. One thing is for sure, the Russian will want to step inside the baseline and force Radwanska right to the back of the court. The Russian gits a backhand return just long after Radwanska’s second serve at 30-30, with the Pole taking the next point to take a lead in the match.
2-2 As a forehand cross court from the Russian sails long and Radwanska wins the longest rally of the match so far, Sharapova finds herself 0-30 down. But a powerful first serve winner and a well executed forehand drive volley bring her back into the game at 30-30. Radwanska shows the Istanbul crowd that she can also hit the attractively looking drive volley and the score is poised at deuce. However, Sharapova’s serve gets her out of trouble in the end.
1-2 The Russian is putting everything into every shot, misses a shot but then again hits a winner. That’s her way of playing. Radwanska is making the Russian to hit one extra shot, forcing her to make an error. It pays off this time as she holds to 15.
1-1 Sharapova doesn’t start the match as she had hoped to. After an easy backhand miss followed up by a forehand error, she hands Radwanska two break points at 15-40 down. But she manages to come up with two solid winners to level the game at deuce. Sharapova eventually holds for 1-1.
0-1 Radwanska wins her opening service game to 30. Takes a quick 40-0 lead after the Russian misses a couple of backhands. Sharapova comes back to 30-40 but the Polish player eventually closes out the game.
Radwanska to serve…
Radwanska has won 3 tournaments this year, same amount of titles for Sharapova in 2012.
The players are warming up…
Live Commentary of the match from the WTA Championships 2012 in Istanbul between Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska will commence here as soon as the players start warming up.
Sharapova leads the head to head against Radwanska with 7-2, but it was the Polish player who won their last encounter in Miami 2012, winning 7-5 6-4.
Both players have won their yesterday group’s matches, the Russian defeating Italy’s Sara Errani 6-3 6-2 and Agnieszka Radwanska beating Petra Kvitova with the same scoreline 6-3 6-2.