Maria Sharapova’s chances of claiming the season-ending No. 1 ranking were hurt on Tuesday after a 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-2 loss to Caroline Wozniacki at the WTA Finals. The match lasted three hours and 13 minutes.
No such stamina was required in Tuesday’s other White Group match as Agnieszka Radwanska had a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. It was the fourth straight year in which the pair had faced each other in their opening matches at the WTA Finals.
Sharapova had 15 double-faults, including two while serving for the first set, and 76 unforced errors. Wozniacki finished the match, which has 12 breaks of serve, with 35 unforced errors.
It was Wozniacki’s second straight victory over Sharapova. The Dane had beaten the Russian in the fourth round of this year’s U.S. Open.
Sharapova needs to at least reach the final in Singapore and hope Serena Williams loses her two remaining group matches to overtake the American and finish the season with the top ranking for the first time.
After forcing the tie-breaker in the first set, Wozniacki trailed 2-4 but won five straight points to take the set.
Wozniacki went up a break early in the second, but relinquished the advantage in the sixth game as she complained to the chair umpire about swirling lights which suddenly came on mid-point and remained on for the rest of the game.
The Dane recovered quickly after dropping the set, however, breaking Sharapova early in the third and then again to end it.
The results: White Group: Caroline Wozniacki (Den) bt Maria Sharapova (Rus) 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-2; Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) bt Petra Kvitova (Cze) 6-2, 6-3.