Maria Sharapova was one of the more recognizable names at the 2011 U.S. Open, entering the tournament as the No. 3 ranked player and a favorite to make it to the later rounds. Unfortunately for the Russian, however, 26-seeded Flavia Pannetta upset her in Friday’s third round of action.
Pennetta won the first set 6-3, dropped the second set 3-6 and then rallied with a 6-4 victory to decide the match. It was the first time this year that Sharapova failed to win a match that went the distance.
.“I think she played really smart. That’s her game, and she makes you hit a lot of balls,” Sharapova said in her post-match press conference. “Even when I had balls in the middle of the court, I just didn’t do much with them. I thought I could have done a lot more. When you’re down 1-4 and you get yourself back in a position where can you win again and start making errors, it’s just too inconsistent to win the match against her.”
Pennetta, an Italian, is now 2-2 all-time against Sharapova.
“The tennis was amazing. We fought a lot,” Pennetta said in an on-court interview. “I want to thank the crowd for supporting me. This is one of the best victories of my career. I hope to get through in the next round.”
Sharapova was considered the favorite behind only Serena Williams to win the entire tournament.