Sharapova thrashes Stosur to finish top of White Group in Istanbul

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Maria Sharapova ended Sam Stosur’s already brief Istanbul campaign with a straight sets rout on Friday evening at the Sinan Erdem Arena. Stosur had entered the tournament as a replacement for the virus-stricken Petra Kvitova, but the Australian could only muster a limited resistance against the second seed, who ends the round robin stage undefeated. The Russian prevailed in two easy sets 6-0 6-3.

The first set was almost an embarrassment for Stosur who, although trailing 2-10 in the pair’s head-to-head matches, had beaten Sharapova in their most recent contest in Tokyo. The ninth seed served up an ugly five double faults, didn’t win a single point on her second serve and won only five points in total as Sharapova took the set 6-0.

Fortunately for the Australian, her performance improved in the second set. She held her first three service games, using her backhand down the line to greater effect and making the light-footed Sharapova cover more of the court. And although her serve still wasn’t the weapon it should have been, Stosur at least managed to cut out the double faults. However, the fightback was short-lived, as Sharapova broke in the seventh game and never looked back, clinching the 6-0, 6-3 victory when Stosur shanked an overhead.

The win means that Sharapova still has a small chance of ending the year as world number one. Should Victoria Azarenka lose her final round robin match to Li Na later on Friday evening, the Russian could snatch the top ranking by winning the tournament.

Stosur, meanwhile, ends a somewhat disappointing season with a desultory loss. The former US Open champion has shown glimpses of her best form this year, but has also suffered several surprising defeats. Having played for five weeks in a row, she will be thankful for the opportunity to recharge during the offseason before the 2013 tour kicks off in her native Australia.

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