All season long, Flavia Pennetta has struggled with three-set wins, carrying a 9-7 record heading into Friday’s third round match against Maria Sharapova. It was frustrating for her, and at times it shook her confidence when matches came down to a decisive third set.
But just a few days ago, she admitted that she felt her results in three-setters would change soon. And against No. 3 seed Sharapova, they did.
After bolting to a 4-1 lead in the final frame, the Italian held her nerve against a threatening Sharapova comeback and closed out the match to win it 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 and send the former US Open champion packing.
Pennetta showed true grit when it counted most, playing aggressive and fighting to the very end. Her self confidence showed when she stepped in for a down-the-line service return winner that won the match, ending Sharapova’s 12-0 streak in three-set matches.
Reflecting on the match, she cited this victory as perhaps the best in her career.
“I was really happy. It was great winning for me, and I think in the third set I was a little bit nervous when I starting to think too much about closing the match,” she said. “So I'm really proud of my game today, and I just want to enjoy this moment now.”