Sharapova battles past Schnyder to reach San Diego final
Sat Aug 5, 2006 7:42pm ET
By Matthew Cronin
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Second seed Maria Sharapova stormed into her first Acura Classic final with a hard-fought 7-5 6-4 victory over Patty Schnyder on Saturday.
Sharapova moved well, played consistent tennis and served superbly to reach her first WTA tour final since March in a match lasting one hour 39 minutes.
"Each point she 100 percent focused and never gives you a breath," Schnyder told reporters. "She hits a lot of winners and is a really complete player.
The two fought tooth and nail from inside the baseline with Schnyder trying to keep Sharapova off her back by mixing heavy topspin forehands and sharp two hand backhands.
Sharapova played patiently and carefully waited for her opportunities to attack.
"She feels comfortable moving on hardcourts," Schnyder said. "She's a tall girl who has a lot of reach. Her serves were very accurate and she varies the height of the bounce, which made it hard for me to get a rhythm, especially on the backhand side."
Sharapova broke Schnyder to 6-5 in the first set when she laced a forehand down the line winner, and won the set with a brilliant forehand swing volley.
The 19-year-old Russian immediately broke the Swiss to open the second set with an inside out forehand return of service winner, and broke her again to 4-1 when Schnyder erred on a backhand.
The experienced Swiss came storming back, however, breaking Sharapova to 3-5 with a forehand winner down the line.
Schnyder held to 5-4 but in the final game Sharapova served big and won a long rally to clinch victory when she forced the Swiss into a forehand error.
Sharapova has reach the final of all three U.S. outdoor Tier 1 tournaments she has played this year. She has made at least the semi-finals in all but one of the nine tournaments she has played.
"I served smart," Sharapova said. "I mixed it up well. Against her, you have to be patient. She makes you go for winners and in some games I went for a little too much, but other than that, I made her move, played smart and when I got my opportunities, I took them."
Sharapova will face the winner of the second semi-final between top seed Kim Clijsters and seventh seed Nicole Vaidisova.
interesting article and its very nice to hear what patty had to say about maria! especially when she said 'she is a really complete player.' that was nice of her to say! hard luck patty! and good luck masha!