Sharapova Reaches All-Russian Final
Saturday, July 6, 2002
An all-Russian encounter between two 15-year-old Marias, one based in Bradenton, Florida, and the other in Moscow, saw Sharapova emerge a satisfying three-set winner over Kirilenko.
It also proved a clash between two styles of coaching, namely the Nick Bolletieri Florida Academy variety against the well-tested and successful Russian method. On this occasion, the American version won.
Maria Sharapova, coached by Robert Lansdorp, held off a strong fight-back by Maria Kirilenko, surviving a gruelling third set seventh game on which the final result hinged. With both players frittering away chances, Sharapova held serve and, in so doing, regained the momentum she had apparently lost, to strike for home and close out for a 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
The Siberian-born Sharapova, ranked 13, was quickly into her stride in true Bolletieri fashion, blasting her ground strokes for winners all over the court. One would have expected Kirilenko to have become dispirited on losing the first set to love, but she dug deep into her own reserves and hit back in the second set sufficiently hard enough to break her opponent in two successive service games and level at a set-all.
In the third set, the two players who are only separated by two places in the ITF World Junior rankings, were toe to toe until that crucial 20-point seventh game where Sharapova, at 13 the higher ranked of the two, held off three break points. She only held her serve on her third game point.
The Girls' Singles Trophy is destined for Russia as Sharapova now meets compatriot Vera Douchevina who comfortably beat Tatiana Golovin of France 6-3, 6-1.
Dominant Douchevina Advances
Saturday, July 6, 2002
Vera Douchevina, the eighth seed, secured a place in the Girls' Singles Final when she defeated Tatiana Golovin of France in two comfortable sets, 6-3, 6-1.
In a game fought out on the baseline, Douchevina, of Russia, dominated from the start, taking an early 3-0 lead. However, Golovin fought back to level the set at 3-3 before Douchevina broke once more when her inventive play left Golovin bewildered. The Russian girl went on to win the set 6-3.
Golovin, the sixteenth seed, served first in the second set but a double fault at 30-40 enabled Douchevina to capture the early lead.
Undeterred, Golovin fought back but despite holding five break points on Douchevina's serve could not secure the game. Douchevina then went on to break Golovin's service game again for a 3-0 lead.
The two games that followed saw both players lose their service game and, at 4-1, Douchevina's cross-court play became stronger.
She went on to take the set 6-1 and secure an all-Russian girls' final with Maria Sharapova, who beat Maria Kirilenko in the other semi-final today.
stupid woman got it wrong, Vera was down 0-3(2 breaks )
Juniors' Finals Preview
Saturday, July 6, 2002
The Girls' Singles title was captured by the Soviet Union eight times but, since its break up, of the Republics that made up the USSR, only Uzbekistan with Iroda Tulyaganova has been able to maintain that success.
Now Russia is guaranteed the prestigious crown as two of its nationals are set to contest the title in Sunday's final. That should not really surprise anyone as last year Dinara Safina reached that stage only to squeezed out over three sets by Indonesia's precocious Angelique Widjaja.
It is hard to pick who of the two will follow in the footsteps of Galina Baksheeva who won it twice as did Natasha Chmyreva and Natasha Zvereva, plus Olga Morozova and Marina Kroshina. Both the finalists, Maria Sharapova and Vera Douchevina, are very much in the current mould, ferocious strikers of the ball even as 15- year-olds. Their games may well lack variety but that will undoubtedly come as they mature as players.
Interestingly, Sharapova, born in Siberia but now living in Bradenton, Florida, where she is coached by Robert Lansdorp, is a student of the Bolletieri form of tennis and has come through the field for the loss of just two sets in five games. A confident player, she eventually dispatched Maria Kirilenko, a fellow Russian, in the semi-final despite a strong second set fight-back, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.
Her opponent in the final is the Muscovite Vera Douchevina, a semi-finalist at last month's French Open Juniors. This was an improvement on her quarter-final place in Melbourne last January. She is ranked at 14, one place below Sharapova, and is coached by Irina Granatouiova, who represents the best of the Russian approach to coaching.
Douchevina arrived in the final having lost only one set in five matches and proved to be in devastating form when she saw off her semi-final rival Tatiana Golovin of France 6-3, 6-1.
The fight for the title will be an interesting duel between two talented youngsters learning their trade at opposite ends of the world.