Madrid Open: Svetlana Kuznetsova stuns Maria Sharapova to seal final spot
Svetlana Kuznetsova denied Maria Sharapova the chance to successfully defend her title at Madrid.
Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the final of the Mutua Madrid Open with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Maria Sharapova.
Her rather nervy win against Caroline Wozniacki was enough evidence that Sharapova, currently ranked three in the world, was far from her usual dominant self and, was clearly a far cry from the imperious player she had been last season, when she seemed nigh invincible on clay, losing just a single match on the surface. Against compatriot, Kuznetsova, her vulnerabilities were laid bare as she succumbed to a straight-sets loss in the Madrid Open semi-final.
That is not to say that Kuznetsova doesn’t deserve credit for the win. The sixth seed attacked relentlessly throughout the match, not allowing Sharapova to settle. Kuznetsova’s belligerence paid rich dividends, as Sharapova committed as many as 20 unforced errors to her 12.
Sharapova was tested most severely on her serve, with her opponent managing to steal as many as six break point opportunities, of which she succeeded in converting three. In stark contrast, Sharapova had just the one break point, which she squandered.
Sharapova also did help her cause any further by serving as many as five double-faults. Kuznetsova was also much more dominant at the net, where she won seven of the eight points. Although Sharapova had 20 winners to her opponent’s 13, she committed far too many unforced errors than can be considered safe.
Kuznetsova will meet the winner of the semi-final between Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova.