If one had asked the general US population who Camila Giorgi was before yesterday’s third round match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, one probably could have expected several response: An Italian runway model, a fashion designer of some sorts, or perhaps even a Real Housewives star. After her victory over the world’s No. 5 ranked women’s tennis player, Maria Sharapova, however, Giorgi proved to the world that she is indeed a tennis player.
It took Giorgi three sets and 2 hours and 36 minutes to defeat defending champion Sharapova, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, yesterday in a tightly contested match. Giorgi’s victory over Sharapova marked only her third victory over a top-ten ranked opponent in her eight year career, with previous victories coming against No. 7 Sara Errani in 2012 and No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki in last year’s US Open.
Despite emerging victorious against the two-time winner of the BNP Paribas Open, both Giorgi and Sharapova struggled mightily. Sharapova, known for her power and grace on the court, suffered from a plethora of unforced errors (58 in total) and a complete dearth of winners (only 16). Giorgi did not fare much better, however. The No. 79 ranked Italian had 48 unforced errors of her own, with only 24 winners. Perhaps most surprisingly, Giorgi was able to defeat Sharapova while only serving at 45 percent.
“I did not play a good match at all and I started very poorly. I’ve never played against her, but she’s someone that doesn’t give you much rhythm. She’s quite aggressive, but some shots she hits incredible for a long period of time. Sometimes they go off a bit. But if I’m speaking about my level, it was nowhere near where it should have been,” stated Sharapova.
Sharapova suffered from a shoulder injury late in 2013 and did not compete in the last 3 months of the year. Thus far in four tournaments of 2014, Sharapova has failed to reach a final round. Instead of letting the lack of success affect her game negatively, Sharapova believes this most recent loss will provide a spark for the year-to-come: “Losses motivate me a lot, because as a competitor you don’t want to lose these types of matches. It’s individual matches that really fire you up, and I hope that these last few losses will do that for me.”
Not only did Sharapova have a positive outlook for herself, but also for Giorgi: “I think if she played at this level for a consistent period of time I don’t think she’d be a qualifier here. I think that’s pretty obvious.”
The No. 5 ranked Sharapova will slip to No. 7 in the world following this defeat, her lowest ranking since 2011.
Image via Camila Giorgi Official Website