Facing match point in the quarterfinals, Maria Sharapova was no dreaming about winning her first French Open title. She didn’t want to lose without a single won game. But her never give up, never surrender attitude at least helped her keep her pride.
A tired, rusty Sharapova barely skimmed a shutout but lost Tuesday to Dominika Cibulkova 6-0, 6-2. Cibulkova was one point from victory at 5-love in the second set before Sharapova finally found her form. She won that game and then another, hitting a flurry of winners and saving four match points before Cibulkova closed out the win. Sharapova was playing in just her second tournament after a layoff of nearly 10 months because of a right shoulder injury. The three-time Grand Slam champion had 27 unforced errors to nine for the No. 20-seeded Cibulkova, a Slovak who advanced to her first major semifinal.
Sharapova, playing only her second tournament since a 10-month lay-off because of a shoulder injury, was bidding to reach her second semi-final following a run to the 2007 last four.
The Russian star, whose ranking slumped to No 104 in the world during her time off the tour, had won both her previous matches against the pint-sized, 20-year-old Cibulkova and both were on clay.
But Cibulkova, 11 inches (27cm) shorter than the glamorous Russian, was in complete control of the quarter-final, breaking in the first, third and fifth games of the opening set.
The Slovakian was then quickly 1-0 ahead before receiving a code violation for taking too long between points. Sharapova finished with 27 unforced errors to her opponent’s tidy nine by the end.
Heck, I still respect Sharapova’s comeback. What a great role model and fun tennis player.