Re: 2013 Bold Predictions thread
Janurary 26th, 2013 The Massacare in Melbourne...
Coming into the first grand slam of 2013, Maria Sharapova was ranked #2 in the world. The russian had just come off of one of her most consistant years in 2012, winning the career slam in paris and reaching 9 finals. She would enter Melbourne as a contender for the title. But with arch nemesis Serena Williams and world #1 Azarenka also in the draw, many tennis analyists and fans didn't bank on Maria winning the trophy. Boy where they wrong! After blitzing through her first four opponents with the loss of just eight games, Sharapova would meet world number 8 Kvitova in the Qtrs. Kvitova, having been inspired by a title win in Brisbane over toe-injured Serena Williams, put on a great fight and took the opening set 6-4. But like in the semis the pervious year, Sharapova's mental strength proved to be too much for the Czech, and she eventually won 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3. In the semi-finals, Maria would face up with No. 5 Kerber, who upset Williams in the pervious round. Sharapova would win in straight sets 6-3 6-4 to set up a re-match with world #1 Azarenka. Azarenka had been having a very inconsistant tournament. Although she dominated her first two opponents, she uncharistically dropped sets to an aging Venus Williams in rd 3and Francesca Schiavone in the round of 16. After scrapping through to the quarter-finals, Vika was again taken to three sets by rising tennis teen Laura Robson who had a match point on the belarussian's serve before being taking out. Although Vika dismantled Li Na 6-2 6-2 in the semi-final, many onlooker's questioned the world #1's form. These questions were justified, as the pressure of defending her title and the #1 ranking clearly got to vika in the final. She won just 38% of her first serves and a pathetic 22% of her second serves as Sharapova got her devastating revenge by winning the Australian Open 6-0 6-0 in just under 44 minutes. Sharapova's reutrn and powerful groundstrokes were in fearsome form that evening. The russian won 90% of her first serves and hit 23 aces in the match. She also produced a starring winner to error ratio of 41-9. Azarenka had no chance. This match was henchforth known as the massacare in melbourne.
June 8th, 2013 The Queen of Clay
After winning her second austrailian open in Janurary, Maria Sharapova went on a tear through the WTA. She won five of her next six events at indian wells, miami, stuggart, madrid, and rome. She came into Roland Garros as the defending champion and the world #1. Maria was dominiating tennis in a way no one had seen before. Moreover, she had mastered clay, once thought of as her weakest surface. After reaching the final with the lost of just one set to Stosur in the qtrs, Sharapova faced her greatest test in Serena Williams. Williams had played amazing tennis to get to the final, defeating 2008, and 2009 champions Kuznetsova nd Ivanovic in the process. She was hungry to re-establish her dominatiton of Sharapova with another one-sided win. What transpired however became one of the greatest women's final's in french open history. From the onset it looked like William's power serve and amazing athletic ability would again be too much for the defending champ to handle as Serena handled Maria 6-2. But midway through the second with Williams leading by a break and 3-2, a disputed line call with the umpire saw something snap in the voliate American. Serena began to have a mental breakdown as the crowd, wanting to see a 3 set final for the first time in years, cheered heavily for Sharapova. Maria took her chances well and broke back to level at 3 all. From there, she broke Serena's serve again and held for 5-3. Williams held and Sharapova did too for 6-3. The final set was a dogfight as both women wrestled for the trophy. After playing for nearly 4 hours, Sharapova broke Williams in the 33rd game of the final set to go up 17-16. In shock and disbelief, William would break down in the following game, commiting three striaght unforced errors to drop to 0-40 and hand Sharapova three match points. After saving the first two with aces, Williams would hit a serve out wide to the deuce court, Sharapova would respond with a scorching return down the line. The ball would clip the edge of the line and give Sharapova her second straight FO title. An emotional 2-6 6-3 18-16 win over the woman who had haunted her career for the better part of nine years. William's would later recall Sharapova's match point winner as "lucky," but her comments didn't matter. To the onlookers, Maria Sharapova was the new queen of clay.