Sharapova set for WTA Finals in Singapore
SINGAPORE (AP) Maria Sharapova hasn’t played a whole match since Wimbledon but the Russian believes she’s healthy enough to compete Sunday at the season-ending WTA Finals.
”It’s a big step for me to be here and feel that I am healthy,” Sharapova said. ”It will be a bigger step that I’ll be able to compete in those three (group) matches and finish them off healthy. That’s my goal.”
The third-seeded Sharapova was recovering from a leg injury after Wimbledon, where she journeyed to the semifinals. She didn’t play again until Wuhan, China, earlier this month when she was forced to retire in the third set of her first match back with a left arm injury.
”It was definitely quite disappointing to give myself a bit of false hope in Wuhan because I felt like I was feeling quite healthy coming into the tournament,” Sharapova said. ”The best I can do going into this event is taking care of that injury and working through it and practicing as much as I’ve been able to.”
Sharapova’s appearance in Singapore was cemented by her consistent performance during the first half of the season. She’s won two titles, at Brisbane and Rome, and lost in the Australian Open final to Serena Williams.
Sharapova is scheduled to play fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in Sunday’s night match after top-seeded Simona Halep takes on seventh-seeded Flavia Pennetta in the day match.
This is Sharapova’s eighth career season-ending championships appearance. ”(It) makes me feel old,” she joked.
Sharapova won the WTA Finals trophy on her tournament debut in 2004, and was a finalist two more times.
Pennetta, the reigning U.S. Open champion, is the only player in the entire field to hold a winning edge – 3-2 – over Sharapova.
Sharapova has an impressive record against the two other players in her round-robin group, leading Halep 5-0 and Radwanska 12-2.
”I never beat her, but maybe I will have the chance here,” Halep said. ”We are the best eight players in the world so every match is like a final.”