Tag Archives: errani

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova to meet in WTA Championship final

Serena and Sharapova set for season-ending showdown in Istanbul

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UPDATED:

17:43 GMT, 27 October 2012

Serena Williams will meet Maria Sharapova in Sunday's final of the WTA Championships after both players secured straight-set wins in Istanbul.

Williams sent out an ominous warning as she stormed into her fifth season-ending final by beating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour.

Sharapova was more troubled as she overcame Victoria Azarenka, who confirmed she would finish the year as the top ranked women's player, 6-4, 6-2.

Eyes on the prize: Serena Williams is in her fifth season-ending final

Eyes on the prize: Serena Williams is in her fifth season-ending final

Despite Sharapova's impressive success the No 2 seed is set to go into the final as the underdog after Williams took full advantage of a visibly tired Radwanska.

The Pole was involved in the longest-ever WTA Championship match on Friday when she confirmed her semi-final place in a three hour, 29-minute epic with Sara Errani.

'I probably had an idea she was tired,' Williams, who had a long exchange with Radwanska at the net after the match, told www.wtatennis.com.

'I just told her that it was awesome she played so well and played through another match, after playing a good eight hours. It was really inspiring for me.'

Russia with love: Maria Sharapova stands in Serena's way of glory

Russia with love: Maria Sharapova stands in Serena's way of glory

Radwanska, 23, admitted she was out on her feet.

'Those last two matches really killed me,' she said. 'Especially that I didn't have the day off, and especially that surface – it's very sticky, so three and a half hours is a lot.

'I really tried today and I really wanted to run, but my legs just didn't. This is the kind of tournament where you have to be fit every match to win.

'I was trying, but Serena played too fast. I couldn't do anything.'

Sharapova, the 2004 winner, had lost her previous two matches with Azarenka but proved too strong despite knowing she could not topple the Belarusian from the top of the year-end rankings.

The Russian will face a tough task in the final, however, with Williams having won her past 12 matches against top-four players.

Victoria Azarenka stays world No 1 with win in Istanbul

Queen Victoria: Azarenka stays world No 1 after win over Na in Istanbul

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UPDATED:

23:06 GMT, 26 October 2012

Victoria Azarenka ensured herself the No 1 spot until the end of the year with a straight-sets win over Li Na in the WTA Championship in Istanbul.

The Belarus player and No 1 seed defeated her eighth-seeded Chinese opponent after being pushed hard in the opening set.

Azarenka went to take it on the tie-break before dominating the second set to win 7-6 (7/4) 6-3.

On top of the world: Victoria Azarenka kept her No 1 spot after beating Li Na in Istanbul

On top of the world: Victoria Azarenka kept her No 1 spot after beating Li Na in Istanbul

On course for victory: Azarenka on her way to victory over Na

On course for victory: Azarenka on her way to victory over Na

Maria Sharapova swept past Sam Stosur 6-0 6-3 but that was not good enough to take the No 1 ranking after Azarenka's win.

The Russian second seed made it three wins but was already qualified for the semi-finals before she faced Australian Stosur, who had replaced defending champion Petra Kvitova after the Czech Republic player withdrew with illness.

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland reached the
semi-finals when she edged Sara Errani of Italy 6-7 (6/8) 7-5 6-4 in a
match that lasted three-and-a-half hours.

Fighting hard: Li Na can't prevent being beaten by Azarenka

Fighting hard: Li Na can't prevent being beaten by Azarenka

Job done: Azarenka is congratulated by Na at the end of the match

Job done: Azarenka is congratulated by Na at the end of the match

The fourth-ranked Radwanska will now play Serena Williams on Saturday after the American finished her three group matches undefeated.

Azarenka was thrilled with her achievement in securing the year-end world number one spot.

'It's a dream come true and I feel great,' she said.

'Now I just want to play my last matches
of the year and then after that I can relax and enjoy this moment more.
Right now I'm in competition and trying to focus on every single day –
there's still a lot of challenge in this tournament.'

Not quite enough: Maria Sharapova beat Samantha Stosur but could not claim top spot in the rankings

Not quite enough: Maria Sharapova beat Samantha Stosur but could not claim top spot in the rankings

The 23-year-old will face world No 2 Sharapova in the last four. She leads the Russian 7-4 in head-to-head meetings and has won their last six hardcourt encounters.

On the victory, Azarenka reflected: 'I felt like the first set was a bit of a rollercoaster – she was playing well at some points and I was playing well at some points, and we're both big shot-makers, so it all depended on who was getting control at what time.

'The momentum was going back and forth, but I'm glad I stayed through it and fought hard, even though I didn't feel I was executing well.'

Sports pictures of the day: October 24

Sports images of the day: Our picture editor's selection

UPDATED:

15:37 GMT, 24 October 2012

Each day, MailOnline sports picture editor Dave Muir will choose his favourite photographs from around the world in the past 24 hours.

Enjoy today's selection right here…

Usain Bolt poses with the famous Christ the Redeemer statue on a vist to Rio de Janeiro

Usain Bolt poses with the famous Christ the Redeemer statue on a vist to Rio de Janeiro

Javier Hernandez scores as Manchester United battle back to beat Braga 3-2 at Old Trafford

Javier Hernandez scores as Manchester United battle back to beat Braga 3-2 at Old Trafford

Maria Sharapova returns a shot (and lets out a roar) against Sara Errani in Istanbul

Maria Sharapova returns a shot (and lets out a roar) against Sara Errani in Istanbul

St Louis Rams cheerleaders and the team mascot Rampage pose at the famous crossing on Abbey Road

St Louis Rams cheerleaders and the team mascot Rampage pose at the famous crossing on Abbey Road

CFR Cluj's Nicolas Godemeche takes a ball in the face during his side's Champions League clash with Galatasaray

CFR Cluj's Nicolas Godemeche takes a ball in the face during his side's Champions League clash with Galatasaray

US Open 2012: Serena Williams beats Sara Errani

Williams hammers Errani to set up US Open final clash with world No 1 Azarenka

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UPDATED:

00:17 GMT, 8 September 2012

Serena Williams will face world No 1 Victoria Azarenka in the US Open final on Saturday after the American ended the run of Sara Errani in a one-sided semi-final.

Williams triumphed 6-1 6-2 in one hour and four minutes in a match that could not have been more different to the earlier contest between Azarenka and Maria Sharapova which was a far closer affair.

Williams is looking for her fourth title at Flushing Meadows in her sixth final after losing to Sam Stosur last year, and she has lost only one of 10 previous meetings with Azarenka.

Easy does it: Serena Williams hammered Sara Errani in her semi-final match

Easy does it: Serena Williams hammered Sara Errani in her semi-final match

The clash against Errani always looked like a mismatch, and so it proved. At only 5ft 4 1/2in and slight, Errani was giving away a huge amount of power to her opponent, and it told.

Williams won the first five games before the Italian finally got on the board, and that was only a minor delay before the fourth seed clinched the opening set after half an hour with a backhand winner.

It was her 18th winner in seven games compared to three from her opponent, and the pattern continued at the start of the second set.

Errani has had a brilliant season, reaching her first grand slam final at the French Open and establishing herself in the top 10, and she certainly was not about to give up.

Powerhouse: Williams set up a final with Victoria Azarenka at Flushing Meadows

Powerhouse: Williams set up a final with Victoria Azarenka at Flushing Meadows

Not quite there: Sara Errani threw everything at Williams but it wasn't enough

Not quite there: Sara Errani threw everything at Williams but it wasn't enough

She won the third game of the second set to at least give herself hope, but that was fading fast as Williams extended her lead to 4-1.

Errani simply could do nothing to take the American out of her comfort zone and Williams set up match point with a crunching backhand winner down the line.

She missed that one and Errani doggedly held serve but the Italian had got nowhere near Williams' serve all match and the 30-year-old clinched victory with a second-serve ace, letting out a scream of delight.

Williams was the hot favourite to win the title before the tournament after her Wimbledon and Olympic success, and that has certainly not changed.

She has dropped only 19 games in six matches, and blasted 38 winners compared to only six from Errani.

Williams said: 'It's really awesome. This is what I wanted and what I dreamed of all year. I'm really happy, I'm in the final again, and I'm excited.'

Errani still has a chance of winning US Open silverware when she and fellow Italian Roberta Vinci take on Czech pair Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova in the women's doubles final.

Stars on show: The likes of Eva Longoria and WIll Ferrell attended the thrilling match

Stars on show: The likes of Eva Longoria and WIll Ferrell attended the thrilling match

Stars on show: The likes of Eva Longoria and WIll Ferrell attended the thrilling match

French Open 2012: Maria Sharapova beats Sara Errani in final

Sharapova completes the Slam as world No 1 sweeps aside Errani to win French Open

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UPDATED:

15:04 GMT, 9 June 2012

Maria Sharapova has completed a career Grand Slam after seeing off the challenge of Sara Errani to win the French Open.

The new world No 1 swept Errani aside to win 6-3, 6-2 and claim her first Major since the 2008 Australian Open.

Knee-sy does it: Sharapova sinks to the clay on realising the enormity of her achievement

Knee-sy does it: Sharapova sinks to the clay on realising the enormity of her achievement

Knee-sy does it: Sharapova sinks to the clay on realising the enormity of her achievement

All smiles: Sharapova celebrates her first Grand Slam title since 2008

All smiles: Sharapova celebrates her first Grand Slam title since 2008

Sharapova is the 10th
woman to achieve a career Grand Slam, following in the footsteps of the
likes of Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.

Errani's
brilliant run to the final, which included wins over Ana Ivanovic,
Svetlana Kuznetsova and Sam Stosur, was one of the most surprising for
many years but in the end Sharapova's extra power was simply too much.

There's something about Maria: Sharapova brushed aside Errani to win in Paris

There's something about Maria: Sharapova brushed aside Errani to win in Paris

Sharapova's last grand slam title came in prior to the shoulder surgery that she feared at one stage might end her career.

It has been a long road back but she
has been in superb form this season, winning titles on clay in
Stuttgart and Rome to emerge as one of the main contenders on a surface
once so alien she described herself as like a cow on ice.

Throwing in the towel: Errani was no match for the new world No 1

Throwing in the towel: Errani was no match for the new world No 1

Errani is totally at home on clay and
could boast one more title than her opponent from a breakthrough season
but there was no disguising the power advantage of Sharapova.

She made the perfect start to the
second set, breaking the Errani serve to love in the opening game, and
then staved off a break point as the Italian sought to level at 2-2.

Deep purple: The Italian won just five games in Saturday's French Open final

Deep purple: The Italian won just five games in Saturday's French Open final

Sharapova was certainly not having
things all her own way but she was winning the points that mattered, and
she moved 4-1 ahead after a lengthy Errani service game.

The Italian was trying everything to
knock Sharapova off her stride, including plenty of trips to the net,
but, after pulling one break back, she promptly lost her serve again as
the Russian powered away a backhand winner.

That left Sharapova serving for the
title, but again Errani made her work very hard for it. The Italian had
made many fans with her never-say-die attitude and she saved two match
points, one with a pinpoint drop shot, but on the third Sharapova was
simply too good, the Russian sinking to her knees in celebration.

New world No 1 Sharapova pulverises Kvitova to reach maiden French Open final

New world No 1 Sharapova pulverises Kvitova to reach maiden French Open final

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UPDATED:

18:06 GMT, 7 June 2012

Maria Sharapova booked her place in her first French Open final and guaranteed she will overtake Victoria Azarenka as world number one with a hugely impressive 6-3, 6-3 victory over Petra Kvitova.

It was a rematch of the Wimbledon final, which Kvitova won, but Sharapova was much the better player today and ensured it was third time lucky after two semi-final defeats at Roland Garros.

Sealed with a kiss: Maria Sharapova is through to her first French Open final

Sealed with a kiss: Maria Sharapova is through to her first French Open final

The 25-year-old Russian, who last
topped the rankings before her shoulder troubles in 2008, will meet
surprise finalist Sara Errani on Saturday after the Italian defeated US
Open champion Sam Stosur 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 earlier.

Sharapova had won both meetings with
Kvitova since Wimbledon, including a semi-final at the Australian Open,
and she looked like she meant business from the start.

Power play: Sharapova's serve was much improved

Power play: Sharapova's serve was much improved

Her serve has been her one major
weakness since her shoulder problems, and the windy conditions provided a
real test, but she was rock solid.

The second seed broke for the first
time in the fifth game and then again to win the set, and in the second
set she quickly moved 3-1 ahead.

Kvitova fought back to level with
some big groundstrokes but Sharapova simply broke again and she clinched
victory with an ace – mirroring her opponent's finish at Wimbledon.

Outgunned: Petra Kvitota lost in 77 minutes

Outgunned: Petra Kvitota lost in 77 minutes

The Russian will now have the chance
to win the only grand slam title to have so far eluded her and her first
since the Australian Open in 2008.

Errani's success means there will be
an Italian in the women's final for the third year in a row after
Francesca Schiavone's two runs in 2010, when she beat Stosur, and last
year's defeat by Li Na.

But the 25-year-old is an even more
unlikely finalist – she had won only one match at Roland Garros prior to
this year and had never beaten a top-10 player.

Hair-raising: Sharapova won convincingly

Hair-raising: Sharapova won convincingly

Errani let the emotion show as she
sobbed into her towel at the end of the match, but she said of the final
moments: 'I was very nervous but at the same time I was really focused
on the game.

'Maybe she had more pressure. I just wanted to think about what I had to do and try to forget everything, forget where I was.'

Errani, who is less than 5ft 5in
tall, is having the best season of her career – helped by the change to a
longer racquet – and today's win means she will climb into the top 10
from her current ranking of 24th.

Emotional: Errani

Emotional: Errani

She said of her run: 'It's incredible
for me. I didn't expect it, and I'm here. So I don't know what to say.
I'm very happy about how I've played because I think I've played good
matches. It's not finished, I have one match more. I have to think about
that.

'I don't feel like I'm top 10 but now I
will be, so it's a strange sensation. Maybe my problem always was that I
couldn't believe that I could beat the strong players.'

French Open 2012: Sara Errani beats Sam Stosur

Errani takes advantage of Stosur errors in thrilling clash to reach first Grand Slam final

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UPDATED:

16:00 GMT, 7 June 2012

Italy's Sara Errani reached her first grand slam final with a stunning 7-5 1-6 6-3 victory over Sam Stosur at the French Open on Thursday.

The 21st seed was a huge underdog against the 2010 finalist, who had not dropped a set all tournament, but she played at a high level throughout and was nerveless at the conclusion.

Errani had only ever won one match at Roland Garros before this year but her greater consistency was the deciding factor, with Stosur's 48 unforced errors simply too high.

Victory: A delighted Sara Errani celebrates after reaching the final

Victory: A delighted Sara Errani celebrates after reaching the final

Favourite: Samantha Stosur was fancied to beat Errani

Favourite: Samantha Stosur was fancied to beat Errani

The Australian – who lost to another Italian, Francesca Schiavone, in the 2010 final – made the perfect start with an immediate break of the Errani serve, but the Italian has shown this fortnight what a feisty competitor she is and she hit straight back.

Errani stands less then 5ft 5in tall and had been expected to struggle with the kick serve and heavy topspin of Stosur, but she was taking the ball early and more than holding her own.

Both players held serve reasonably comfortably until the 11th game, when Errani put her opponent under huge pressure.

Get ready: Errani will face the winner of the other semi-final, between Petra Kvitovaseed and Maria Sharapova

Get ready: Errani will face the winner of the other semi-final, between Petra Kvitovaseed and Maria Sharapova

Twice Stosur used her big forehand to great effect to get out of trouble but a third break point followed and this time the Australian netted a backhand volley.

Errani was not about to let the chance to clinch the set slip by and a lovely wide serve and forehand combination put her in the driving seat.

But the 25-year-old had never won in five previous meetings with Stosur, and the sixth seed came out firing at the start of the second set.

Errani could have won the opening game, but Stosur powered away a backhand winner on break point, and from there she reeled off another four games in a row.

But, despite the one-sided nature of the second set, it still felt like the match was on a knife edge, with the start of the decider all important.

Power: Stosur won the second set with brute force

Power: Stosur won the second set with brute force

And it was Errani who seized the initiative, exploiting a series of errors from Stosur to break and move 3-0 ahead.

The wind had got up, making conditions very tricky, but Stosur dug in and retrieved the break. The 28-year-old's greater weight of shot always had the potential to be the difference, but she had to keep her error count low.

And Errani simply was not going away. She forced two more break points at 4-3, both saved brilliantly by Stosur, but the Australian then double-faulted and Errani pounced.

Thrilling: Errani held her nerve to beat Stosur

Thrilling: Errani held her nerve to beat Stosur

Serving for a place in the final, she displayed the same fearlessness she had shown throughout, bringing up three match points and powering away a forehand on the first.

Errani is having the best season of her career and her victory ensured a third Italian finalist in three years here following Schiavone's two appearances in 2010 and 2011.

French Open 2012: Sara Errani beats Svetlana Kuznetsova

Errani stuns former champion Kuznetsova to reach French Open quarter finals

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UPDATED:

12:27 GMT, 3 June 2012

Italy's Sara Errani became the first woman into the French Open quarter-finals when she knocked out former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-0 7-5.

Clay-court specialist Errani, who had never gone beyond the second round at Roland Garros before this year, reeled off the first eight games before Kuznetsova won her first game, on a break.

Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion who had beaten Errani in five previous meetings, hit a succession of shots into the net to give away match point in the 12th game and then put a forehand wide.

Shock: Sara Errani celebrates after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova

Shock: Sara Errani celebrates after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova

Errani, seeded 21st, will now meet 10th-seeded German Angelique Kerber.

Kerber bludgeoned her way into the last eight for the first time with a 6-3 7-5 win over Croatian Petra Martic.

Power play: Angelique Kerber beat Petra Martic to reach the last eight

Power play: Angelique Kerber beat Petra Martic to reach the last eight

Kerber made an impressive run to reach the U.S. Open semi-finals last year and has a chance to match or even improve on that result after dispatching her 21-year-old opponent on a dark and gloomy Suzanne Lenglen court.

With the heavens threatening to open, a muttering Kerber did not want to hang around longer than necessary and yelled out an almighty 'Come on' after she fired down a backhand winner on her third match point.

Australian Open 2012: Maria Sharapova beats Ekaterina Makarova

Ice maiden Sharapova crushes Makarova to book Kvitova clash

Maria Sharapova got the better of
Russian compatriot Ekaterina Makarova to advance to a semi-final meeting
with Petra Kvitova at the Australian Open.

In a match of hard-hitting baseline
rallies, fourth seed Sharapova possessed the greater accuracy,
particularly at the key moments, to move through 6-2 6-3.

Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates beating compatriot Ekaterina Makarova

Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates beating compatriot Ekaterina Makarova

Done it: Maria Sharapova celebrates beating Ekaterina Makarova

Makarova, the world number 56 and appearing in her first grand slam quarter-final, acquitted herself well but was not able to make enough headway on the Sharapova serve.

She started nervously, having to save three break points in her opening service game, but when Sharapova threatened again the 2008 champion in Melbourne made no mistake with a blistering forehand winner.

The forehand was prominent once more when Sharapova broke at 5-2 to claim the opening set, a drilled return cross court giving Makarova no chance.

See you soon: Maria Sharapova celebrates in Melbourne

See you soon: Maria Sharapova celebrates in Melbourne

Her victory over Serena Williams in the previous round proved Makarova was not one for respecting an opponent's reputation and she started the second set strongly, breaking for a 2-1 lead but Sharapova hit back straightaway and then ran through the next three games to take the match away from the 23-year-old.

Makarova made her serve it out after Sharapova squandered a straightforward opportunity on match-point, netting a mid-court backhand, but she made no mistake to give herself the chance to avenge her loss to Kvitova in the Wimbledon final last July. Earlier, Kvitova overcame a mid-match slump to beat Sara Errani 6-4 6-4.

With her big-hitting game, the match was always going to be played on Kvitova's terms against the smaller Italian.

Runaround: Makarova lost the key points

Runaround: Makarova lost the key points

So it proved as the rallies were won or lost by the Czech with Errani simply trying to make it as difficult as possible for her opponent.

And for the most part she did a good job.

With service holds at a premium, the opening set came down to Kvitova's consistency and she held it together long enough to claim it in 53 minutes.

And she looked on her way to a routine win when she also claimed the Errani serve at the start of the second.

Hot heads: Fans wear protection from the baking heat

Hot heads: Fans wear protection from the baking heat

But the world number 48, appearing in her maiden grand slam quarter-final, had other ideas as Kvitova's game started to disintegrate.

The number of unforced errors from the Czech increased rapidly – she made 44 in the match – and Errani took full advantage, wisely keeping the ball in play and making her opponent play one more shot.

It led to her winning four games on the trot.

But Kvitova, sensing the match was getting away from her, refocused and having held for 2-4, reeled off another four games in a row, reasserting her authority from the baseline.

'I expected it to be tough,' said Kvitova. 'She played very well today and also over the past few days. I didn't expect it to be easy.'