There is nothing like a good cry to get Flavia Pennetta in a winning frame of mind.
The defending champion from Italy sent world number two Maria Sharapova crashing out of Indian Wells on Tuesday, winning a three-set, two-hour marathon after almost letting her emotions get the best of her.
Pennetta got off to a rough start in the opening set and it wasn’t until after she broke down emotionally that she says she was able to rally for the 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 fourth round victory.
“Sometimes a woman has these moments,” said Pennetta, adding she felt “refreshed” after leaving the court and going into the tunnel area under the stands, where she let loose with a screaming, sobbing and crying episode.
“Sometimes you just need to take everything out. On the court it is not easy to do that.
“I was just trying to keep calm and play every point. But when I finished the first set I was feeling, I have to go out … just go and let everything out, screaming, do something.
“After that I was refreshed a little bit and I tried to get back on the court and start again.”
Asked by reporters if there might be something going on in her personal life that would cause her to do that, Pennetta said without hesitation, “Si, si. I am really happy.”
Happy indeed, after shocking the five-time Grand Slam winner and second seed Sharapova, who was hoping to become the first three time female winner at Indian Wells.
“No real excuses. I went out and lost the match,” Sharapova said.
Sharapova committed 11 double faults and was broken four times.
Pennetta advanced to the quarter-finals, where she will meet either Caroline Garcia of France or Sabine Lisicki of Germany.
Pennetta, who won her 10th and biggest title of her career with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Agnieszka Radwanska last year, extended her match winning streak to nine.
Sharapova started the season by winning her 34th career singles title in Brisbane, Australia then reached the Aussie Open final where she lost to Serena Williams.
Sharapova said she didn’t see Pennetta leave the court so she had no idea what was going on.
“News to me,” she said when told of the defending champ’s breakdown. “She was seeing the ball much better than I was.”
This was the fifth career meeting between the two with Pennetta now holding a 3-2 edge.
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