SINGAPORE - Maria Sharapova suffered her second straight defeat at the WTA Finals on Thursday, losing to Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-2 6-3.
It was a comprehensive defeat for the Russian, who had won her last five matches against the left-handed Kvitova, dating back over three years.
The last time they met, earlier this month, Sharapova won the final of the China Open, but she was unable to keep up with her younger Czech opponent on Thursday.
"I didn't feel as sharp as I did in the previous matches against her," Sharapova said.
"She served really well. Not fast, but found her spots really well. Found the corners. I think she had a lot of quick points in her service games.
"I just don't feel that I reacted as well in her bigger shots. She's someone that likes to play aggressive and hit the ball, and very deep as well.
"She countered my shots extremely well and I was just never ready for the next ball. That made it quite difficult for me."
The 27-year-old Sharapova looked weary at times against Kvitova but rejected the notion she was tired after her three and a quarter hour loss to Caroline Wozniacki in her previous match.
"I had a long match, over three hours a day ago, but I don't feel tired. I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to be part of this event," she said.
"It's easy to sit here and say, yeah, I'm tired. I lost two matches. But that's not the way I feel or the way that I choose to speak. I still have a match ahead of me, and I will do my best to finish it on a good note.
"That's the only thing I can ask of myself."
For Kvitova, it was a win that revived her hopes of winning her chances of winning her second WTA Finals title.
The 24-year-old lost her opening match to Agnieszka Radwanska but can still make the semi-finals if she wins her final group match against Wozniacki on Friday.
"I was really disappointed when I lost against Aga. It was a match probably I really didn't know what I was doing. I was so tired and sick of the tennis for the moment," she said.
"So I didn't practice today at all and I just really relaxed and cleaned my mind a little bit. I knew that I have a game to beat Maria. I played in the final of Beijing and I knew what I should play.
"I served better than in Beijing for sure. So everything what I did today was really good, and I'm glad that I beat her and I have still a chance to go in semi-final."