Re: what's wrong with Maria?
Shaky service worries Sharapova
POSTED: 5:08 a.m. EST, February 2, 2007
TOKYO, Japan -- World number one Maria Sharapova battled her way into the semifinals of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo with a 4-6 6-0 6-1 victory over Japan's Ai Sugiyama on Friday.
The 19-year-old Russian squandered a 3-1 lead to drop the first set but quickly recovered after a calming head-to-head with coach Michael Joyce to whitewash Sugiyama in the second.
Sharapova has dismissed on-court coaching as a gimmick but she only clicked into gear in her opening match against Italy's Francesca Schiavone following a dressing-down from Joyce.
Watched by Japan's Prince Akishino, Sharapova made another rapid transformation after dropping the first set, winning 12 of the next 13 games to advance to the last four.
"I was giving Ai all the time in the world to do her thing," said Sharapova, who served 14 double faults after an embarrassing 17 against Schiavone.
"I wasn't going for my shots in the first set. Michael told me to step in and be more aggressive."
Sharapova, who faces fifth seed Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals, admitted her erratic serve was causing her concern.
"I'm not going to win too many matches serving the way I'm serving," said Sharapova, beaten by Serena Williams in the final of the Australian Open at the weekend.
"I'm not going to get away with it against higher-ranked players."
Asked by a Japanese reporter if any tweaking of her service action was to blame for all the double faults, Sharapova snapped: "No. Don't need a translation for that!"