Pennetta ends career with defeat against Sharapova

Flavia Pennetta bowed out of professional tennis with a 7-5 6-1 defeat at the hands of Maria Sharapova in the WTA Finals on Thursday.

The first set was a heated exchange between the Italian and the Russian with Pennetta gaining a two-game lead in the early stages.

However, Sharapova quickly recovered and took advantage of some unforced errors from the US Open champion to close out the set.

The second set saw the 28-year-old Sharapova take control as Pennetta struggled to keep up with her pace and power.

Sharapova would end up hitting 30 winners and 19 unforced errors compared to the Italian’s 18 winners and 14 unforced errors.

"I've lost the last couple of times against Flavia. I know what a tough competitor and opponent she is. I just wanted to get a little bit of revenge before she goes out of the game!" Sharapova said after.

"I just heard this was her last match. It's really sad to see such a great champion go. She's had an incredible career, and I was so happy she got the Grand Slam at the US Open. I was smiling for her."

Sharapova advanced to the semi-finals with her victory,

Joining her from the Red Group is Agnieszka Radwanska, who qualified in second place after she beat world number two Simona Halep 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 to advance to the semi-finals.

"I didn't have a great result here last year, but as I left the court I won my last match, a really tough three-setter against Radwanska," Sharapova said. "Even though I didn't make it to the semifinals last year I was proud I won my last match. That gave me energy, and now I'm back 12 months later."