Sharapova stunned, and blames herself for shock loss
It was gripping, it lasted over three hours, it was, simply put, epic.
Yet, the crowd of nearly 10,000 who sat glued to their seats inside the Indoor Stadium last night watching Caroline Wozniacki's 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-5), 6-2 win over Maria Sharapova in their BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global will feel the Russian world No. 2 will have more to offer as she battles to qualify for the semi-finals out of the White Group.
Sure, Denmark's world No. 8 Wozniacki brought her 'A' Game.
The 24-year-old had many fine moments in the match, and hit arguably the shot of the day when she recovered brilliantly to meet Sharapova's smash late in the second set and return a winner beyond the Russian's reach.
Even though she threw a strop when she was temporarily distracted by the stadium's lights that seemed to malfunction during the second set, and also smacked her racket against the net when disputing a call later in the set, few would argue Wozniacki didn't deserve her win.
But, after three hours and 13 minutes, it just felt like Sharapova had paid the price for being so sloppy.
The 27-year-old had some good moments, hitting 43 winners in the game, compared to only 14 from Wozniacki.
But she also made 76 unforced errors. Her rival made only 35.
She also chalked up a mind-boggling 15 double-faults.
Plus, the five-time Grand Slam winner reached break point first in each of the opening six games in the first set, but trailed 0-3 before dragging herself back to 3-3.
Facing the press about an hour after her match, Sharapova admitted she could have done better and that her troubles were her own doing.
"Of course, as a competitor, after a three-hour match, it's tough to be the one that loses it," she said.
"But I'm sitting in this chair not thinking there's nothing I could have done.
"I really feel a lot of the reasons the match turned out the way it did was because of what I did."
Elaborating, she added: "I just committed a lot more unforced errors than she did. She was the more consistent one.
"I felt like I had opportunities in the first set, but I didn't commit to finishing them off."
Sharapova had arrived in Singapore a week before the action began on Monday, hoping to end the year as world No. 1 and win her second WTA championship, following her 2004 success.
But she now needs at least to reach the final in Singapore to have a chance of overtaking Serena Williams and finishing the season as the top-ranked player for the first time.
And, as if recovering from last night's draining match wasn't enough of a hurdle to clear, she could well meet Williams in the semi-final, too.