Sharapova gets past Petrova in 3 sets at US Open

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With a game suited to the surface, Sharapova showed up at the U.S. Open this time and immediately began playing well. She had lost only seven games through three matches, but two-time French Open semifinalist Petrova had exceeded that total by the opening game of the final set.

After splitting the match’s opening two games, they went back and forth, back and forth. Sharapova took five games in a row. Petrova took the next four. Then came four for Sharapova. And then four for Petrova.

Already leading 3-0 in the second set, and with a chance to go up by another break with Sharapova serving at 30-all, Petrova let a point get away from her and lost it with a backhand into the net. Dismayed, Petrova put her left palm over her face and smacked herself in the head with her racket a couple of times.

But Petrova recovered and did take that game to go ahead 4-0 in that set.

That, though, is where Sharapova showed up again, taking the next four games to get to 4-all.

And in yet another momentum shift, Petrova broke Sharapova with a forehand winner down the line to take the second set.

Petrova carried that swing into the third, too, extending her run to 10 points in a row by taking a 2-0 lead as rain began to fall. Behind 1-0, Sharapova double-faulted to give Petrova a break point, then flubbed a drop shot, sailing it wide, to get broken at love.

That’s when a drizzle got stronger, and the players were sent to sit in their sideline chairs to see whether it might let up. Five minutes later, they headed to the locker room.

A little more than an hour after that, Sharapova and Petrova walked back out onto the court, warmed up and resumed. Petrova began things with a serve at 116 mph, her fastest of the evening to that point, but Sharapova quickly came up with four winners to break Petrova and then held at love to make it 2-all.

At 3-3, Sharapova got the key break, producing a superb lob winner and also getting help from Petrova’s unforced errors.

How to explain Sharapova’s ups and downs?

“The finish line is near, she starts hesitating, thinking a little bit maybe too much. And then she kind of starts a little bit falling apart, sometimes double-faulting, making too many unforced errors,” Petrova said. “And she has this thing in the third _ she’s able to regroup, bring that Maria from the first set back.”

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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