Maria Sharapova won a 3-hour tennis match on Saturday at the Sony Open. Her opponent? The very capable Lucie Safarova of Serbia.
''She kept hitting unbelievable shots,'' Sharapova said. ''One more. One more. I said, 'How many chances are you going to get?' I thought our level was quite high in the end.''
The crowd was worked up toward the end of the long battle and endured an extensive and adrenaline fueled duel for the last point. Finally, Safarova wearily drove the ball into the net, ending the match and declaring victory for Sharapova. It was bittersweet, ending with the scores at 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-2 in favor of Sharapova, according to AP.
''After a match like that, it's tough to have only one winner,'' Sharapova said, ''because both players give a lot and both want to win so much.''
The two ended the match with a hug of mutual respect reserved for those who have challenged each other and just truly enjoyed the battle.
Serena Williams also had a dramatic return to the court after a month-long hiatus. That long break might explain 41 unforced errors, including seven double-faults and her self-described "amateur" performance. She made a spectacle with lots of grunting, flailing, and cursing herself.
However, the tennis legend still managed to pull it out at the end against 20-year-old Caroline Garcia after a 2 1/2 hour match with scores of 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
''I can play a hundred times better,'' Williams said. ''I really gave myself a tremendous amount of trouble out there. Granted she played great, but I made so many errors ... 40-something errors. It's not the way to play professional tennis. Maybe amateur.''
Garcia was just happy to play Williams. This time. ''It's always nice to play against a big player,'' she said. ''You are working and practicing to play this match, because it's in this kind of match you can learn more. But next time I prefer to win.''
All in all, a pretty exciting day at the Sony Open for some of Tennis' biggest stars.
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