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andrewbroad
Nov 10th, 2004, 02:20 AM
Preview

The Sorting Hat has announced its verdicts:

BLACK GROUP {
Maria Sharapova
Vera Zvonareva
Svetlana Kuznetsova
Amélie Mauresmo
}

RED GROUP {
Anastasia Myskina
Elena Dementieva
Serena Williams
Lindsay Davenport
}

Each player plays the other three in her group (the round-robin stage). The winner of each group plays the runner-up of the opposite group in the semi-finals on Sunday. The final is on Monday.


Maria has a very tough draw, on top of being injured. :mad: She has until Thursday night to recover from her right-shoulder strain before she takes on Vera Zvonareva in a mouthwatering match that I hope will be repeated in the final! :hearts:

It will be Maria and Vera's fourth meeting, all of which have taken place in 2004. Vera won 7-6 6-2 in the semi-finals at Memphis in February, going on to win her only singles title of the year. Maria got her revenge in the third round of the French Open, 6-3 7-6. Vera outlasted Maria 4-6 6-4 6-4 in the third round of Montréal to give herself a 2-1 lead in their head-to-heads.

Maria is 0-2 against Svetlana Kuznetsova - the only player ever to beat her in the women's singles at Wimbledon, 6-1 2-6 7-5 in the fourth round in 2003. The US Open champion also did the dirty on Maria in the semi-finals at Beijing this year, 6-2 6-2. Revenge for Maria would be sweet indeed.

Maria has never played Amélie Mauresmo before, and it would be sweet also if Maria could emphasise that the best player in the world is the Wimbledon champion, not one who was world number one without ever winning a Grand Slam title. Maria should certainly have the edge in mental strength over the bottler that is Mauresmo; unfortunately Maria is injured while Mauresmo is in top form.

I hope to God I will be proved wrong, but I have a nasty feeling that Maria is going to lose all three of her round-robin matches (assuming she is fit to play them all), and that Vera is going to lose to everyone except Maria. :(

It would have been better for Maria to be in the Red Group with Elena Dementieva (against whom she is 3-1 in head-to-heads) and Serena Williams who probably still thinks about that Wimbledon final every day, and might also find it difficult to play against Maria for another reason:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news?slug=ap-williams-sharapova&prov=ap&type=lgns ;)


Here's the order of play for the first two days:
(PST = GMT - 8 hours)

Wednesday 10th November 2004 (start 18:30 PST = Thursday 02:30 GMT)
1. Vera Zvonareva v Amélie Mauresmo
2. Anastasia Myskina v Serena Williams (20:00 PST)
3. Elena Dementieva v Lindsay Davenport

Thursday 11th November 2004 (start 18:30 PST)
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova v Amélie Mauresmo
2. Maria Sharapova v Vera Zvonareva (20:00 PST = Friday 04:00 GMT)
3. Elena Dementieva v Serena Williams

So, shall I stay up till 6am or get up for 4am to follow live scores? It's worse than the Australian Open! ;)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/

Dan23
Nov 10th, 2004, 03:17 AM
Hey Andrew
They've changed the schedule on you :D
I also think Maria is in the good group, where she avoids a couple of the real big hitters which is good considering the condition her shoulder is in.
Some interesting comments from Serena there too - "Serena says Maria is sexy" ;)
They seem to have been able to avoid each other pretty well since Wimby - but a SF battle here would be huge :eek:

lakan kildap
Nov 10th, 2004, 04:45 AM
Well, Kuznetsova is a BIG hitter. I agree with Andrew's fears. Maria could end up being shut out here, although with this girl, we always never know.

I hope she wins the title, but she needs to get to the final to do that. And that is the hard part.

Dan23
Nov 10th, 2004, 05:19 AM
Well 1 BIG hitter in the Black group versus 3 in the Red Group is a better draw for Maria :)

Andy.
Nov 10th, 2004, 05:26 AM
Maria is a very big hitter in her own right and can match it with the best of them in the power department She likes to play against other big hitters i think she will have most problems with Mauresmo because of her variety based game that Maria does not like to play against.

Dan23
Nov 10th, 2004, 05:45 AM
What I was getting at Andrew is that playing against BIG hitters requires a lot of big hitting in order to win and with her shoulder no where near 100% that could mean a problem if there are too many drawn out sets against the more powerful players.

Andy.
Nov 10th, 2004, 06:01 AM
I get what your saying now Dan sorry for the Mix up

Lemonskin.
Nov 10th, 2004, 06:31 AM
If they swapped Masha and Nasty, Masha would be in a group where she has a winning record over everyone ;)

lakan kildap
Nov 10th, 2004, 06:53 AM
If they swapped Masha and Nasty, Masha would be in a group where she has a winning record over everyone ;)

I agree. In another thread, I wished she was in the Red group.

andrewbroad
Nov 10th, 2004, 10:49 PM
Maria has blamed her recent chest- and shoulder-injuries on the heavy Tretorn balls used on the WTA Tour, and wants these balls to be withdrawn from the WTA Tour Championships at Los Angeles.

"I'm sure the WTA doesn't want anyone to get injured," she said.

But Tour-spokesman Darrell Fry said, "There's no correlation at all between player injuries and Tretorn balls."


The WTA has changed (or corrected) the order of play from that which I originally posted, such that Maria now plays Svetlana Kuznetsova first:

(PST = GMT - 8 hours)

Wednesday 10th November 2004 (start 18:30 PST = Thursday 02:30 GMT)
1. Vera Zvonareva v Svetlana Kuznetsova
2. Anastasia Myskina v Serena Williams (20:00 PST)
3. Elena Dementieva v Lindsay Davenport

Thursday 11th November 2004 (start 18:30 PST)
1. Vera Zvonareva v Amélie Mauresmo
2. Maria Sharapova v Svetlana Kuznetsova (20:00 PST = Friday 04:00 GMT)
3. Elena Dementieva v Serena Williams

Davai Maria i Vera!

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/

Andy.
Nov 10th, 2004, 11:37 PM
If it is proven that Maria is having those problems because of the balls then they should not be used. Good Luck day 2 Masha

Lemonskin.
Nov 10th, 2004, 11:44 PM
Andrew Masha isn't on today... It's still Wednesday in the U.S.A

Dan23
Nov 11th, 2004, 12:07 AM
Yep Wednesdays matches start in an hour and a half...
geez these Americans are miles behind...:D

Lemonskin.
Nov 11th, 2004, 12:20 AM
I know eh... faaaar out.

It's nearly 12:30pm Thursday in Sydney, and they're still an hour away from starting Wednesday's matches!!!

lakan kildap
Nov 11th, 2004, 02:33 AM
I don't know if it's more due to Maria's hitting that she's sore and strained. I hate to go opposite everybody here, but so far, only Vera has agreed with her. Maybe it's just a case of the other players pouncing on a crippled opponent by intentionally not backing her up, but I can't ignore that no other player has echoed Maria's complaint.

many experts predicted during the summer that Roddick would run into shoulder, wrist and elbow problems down the road due to the severity of his hitting. Well, that's exactly what happened in Bangkok, when he couldn't put up a decent fight against Federer. I think the same is happening to Maria.

She needs to really rest for a while.

Dan23
Nov 11th, 2004, 03:01 AM
Exactly Lakan, Maria has been playing too much tennis for her body to handle at the moment.
Although shes strong for her size her arms arent built for such continuous power hitting.

Lemonskin.
Nov 11th, 2004, 03:21 AM
EvilKuzzie just beat Vezvo 6-2 6-4

Andy.
Nov 11th, 2004, 04:09 AM
Well Maria is really going to have to be on her game if she wants to contend with Evil Kuzzie now. Good Luck Masha she is not unbeatable.

Sharapower
Nov 11th, 2004, 05:59 AM
Well, as far as the first match was Kuznetsova vs. Zvonareva (instead of the previously announced Mauresmo vs. Kuznetsova) , logically, the next one has to be Mauresmo vs. Sharapova. That is gonna be VERY electric after all the controversies and the bitchy comments from Amelie around maria's withdrawal in Philly and the Tretorn balls stuff. Maria is likely to be on fire like she was when she played Elena Dementieva in Zurich.

Sharapower
Nov 11th, 2004, 06:07 AM
Well, as far as the first match was Kuznetsova vs. Zvonareva (instead of the previously announced Mauresmo vs. Kuznetsova) , logically, the next one has to be Mauresmo vs. Sharapova. That is gonna be VERY electric after all the controversies and the bitchy comments from Amelie around maria's withdrawal in Philly and the Tretorn balls stuff. Maria is likely to be on fire like she was when she played Elena Dementieva in Zurich.
Oh well I didn't see the new schedule was already posted here. Sorry.
This scheduling is a complete joke with no understandable logic. The WTA officials are really crazy people.

andrewbroad
Nov 12th, 2004, 07:21 AM
Last night Maria took a giant step towards the semi-finals with her first win in three matches against Svetlana Kuznetsova. Now all she has to do is score the expected win over Vera Zvonareva, or an unexpected one over Amélie Mauresmo. :)

I got up at 4am GMT, half expecting to find that Maria had pulled out with her shoulder-injury. But there were no signs of that in the match [1].

Instead, she treated me to a joyous sequence of live score-updates on the tournament-website, with a 6-1 6-4 thrashing of Kuznetsova who offered little resistance to Maria winning the 12 games that she won.

I never expected Maria to beat the US Open champion this easily, but I know how hard it is for anyone to play against Maria when she's in that zone where she seems to have all the time in the world to decide what to do with each ball! :D


I followed live scores at http://www.wtachamps.com/event_schedule_singles.asp

They appeared on the scoreboard at 20:03 PST (28:03 GMT).
Play started at 20:10 PST.


FIRST SET

Maria raced away with the first set in 25 minutes, hitting 12 winners to Kuznetsova's four, and dominating her opponent with "a powerful precision baseline game" [1].

Maria averted a mini-crisis when, serving at 4-1 40/15, she hit a double fault and two forehand errors to give Kuznetsova a break-point. But Maria got out of that game with a "powerful FH winner" and a "great inside-out forehand winner" [2].

Maria won 78% of points on first serve, Kuznetsova 52%.

(BP = break-point, SP = set-point, MP = match-point)

Kuznet 0-0: 15/0, held
Sharap 0-1: 40/0, 40/15, held
Kuznet 1-1: 40/40, ad K, 40/40, ad M (BP), broken
Sharap 2-1: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, 40/30, held
Kuznet 1-3: 0/40 (3 BPs), broken
Sharap 4-1: 30/0, 40/15, 40/40, ad K (BP), 40/40, ad M, 40/40, ad M, held
Kuznet 1-5: 0/40 (3 SPs), 15/40,
Maria won first set 6-1 at 20:35 PST.


SECOND SET

I couldn't have been happier with the first set, but I've seen too many turnarounds in my 12 years of following professional tennis - most recently Maria's collapse in the Zurich final (when she first sustained her shoulder-injury) - to take any lead for granted.

Maria won her seventh game in a row as she held serve at the start of the set, but then made two double faults [2] to suffer her first break of the match for 1-2.

Maria, like all great champions, broke back immediately, but as she faced another break-point at 2-2 30/40 a dark, hooded figure with a hook in one hand and a noose in the other swam towards me in my mind's eye, cackling inanely, and Maria was broken for 2-3. But it turned out that the hook and the noose were for Maria's use against Kuznetsova! :)

This could have been the start of something bad, but Maria again broke back immediately, held to love, and with Kuznetsova serving at 0/30 and then 30/40, my nostrils were filled with the sweet scent of vicarious victory.

Maria let Kuznetsova off the hook by allowing her to hold for 4-4, but I still felt more confident in Maria than the 75% probability that a set and 4-4 implies. It just felt like Kuznetsova hadn't put up much resistance in the games that Maria had won.

Maria tightened the noose by holding to 15, forcing Kuznetsova to serve to stay in the match at 4-5. Kuznetsova, who had struggled on serve throughout the match, soon found herself 0/30 down, then facing two match-points at 15/40. Maria sealed victory with a crosscourt-backhand return-winner [3].

Sharap 0-0: 0/15, 15/15, 40/15, held
Kuznet 0-1: 0/15, 15/15, 30/15, held
Sharap 1-1: 15/0, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Kuznet 2-1: 15/0, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken
Sharap 2-2: 0/15, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken
Kuznet 3-2: 0/15, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Sharap 3-3: 40/0, held
Kuznet 3-4: 0/30, 15/30, 30/40 (BP), ad K, held
Sharap 4-4: 30/0, 40/15, held
Kuznet 4-5: 0/30, 15/40 (2 MPs),
Maria won 6-1 6-4 at 21:12 PST (62 minutes).

WINNERS: Maria 23, Kuznetsova 9
UNFORCED ERRORS: Maria 14, Kuznetsova 12
ACES: Maria 4, Kuznetsova 1
DOUBLE FAULTS: Maria 5, Kuznetsova 2
FIRST-SERVE POINTS: Maria 68% of 25, Kuznetsova 57% of 13
SECOND-SERVE POINTS: Maria 33% of 5, Kuznetsova 40% of 9
AVERAGE FIRST SERVE: Maria 103mph, Kuznetsova not recorded
FASTEST SERVE: Maria 110mph, Kuznetsova not recorded
POINTS WON AT THE NET: Maria 7 of 7, Kuznetsova 4 of 4
BREAK-POINTS CONVERTED: Maria 6 of 9, Kuznetsova 2 of 3
TOTAL POINTS WON: Maria 60, Kuznetsova 40


Maria: "In Beijing, she was coming off such a big winning streak [14 matches] and she was unstoppable. This time, it was very important to start off well and {put some/keep the} pressure on her. I definitely went out there, played my game and I was dominant."

"I love it here. The atmosphere is great. To be here where the Lakers play, you just feel that excitement. I love basketball."


Kuznetsova: "I didn't serve well. She was returning pretty good, but I let her do this. She was putting pressure on me all the time."


References:
[1] http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news?slug=wtatourchampionship&prov=st&type=lgns
[2] http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=140492&page=7&pp=40
[3] http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_5723_rx.asp

Photos:
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=4462850


Tonight Maria plays the delightful Vera Zvonareva... the whipping-girl of the Black Group. On Wednesday night Vera lost to Kuznetsova 6-2 6-4, and on Thursday night to Amélie Mauresmo 6-1 6-0. :o Will Maria take Vera to the cleaners too?

Friday 12th November 2004 (start 18:30 PST = 02:30 GMT)
1. Anastasia Myskina v Lindsay Davenport
2. Maria Sharapova v Vera Zvonareva (20:00 PST = 04:00 GMT)
3. Svetlana Kuznetsova v Amélie Mauresmo

What a shining star tennis (not basketball, thank goodness!) has in Maria! :D

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/

Dan23
Nov 12th, 2004, 07:27 AM
Good report as usual Andrew :)

What a shining star tennis (not basketball, thank goodness!) has in Maria! :D You're right there..Shining Star Sharapova..
..and gee wouldnt that make a nice name for this forum..:p :hehehe: :lol:

lakan kildap
Nov 12th, 2004, 08:46 AM
Hmmm, Maria better keep a good, safe distance away from the lecherous Kobe Bryant.

Andy.
Nov 12th, 2004, 09:12 AM
Great report Andrew good Luck Masha with Vera tomorow a win against her would be awesome and mean she would be into the Semi finals.

Sharapower
Nov 12th, 2004, 09:56 AM
This morning I only saw a few games (to be correct a few points) of the match against Svetlana but the little I saw confirmed me that Maria is really improving on the forehand side, which is IMHO the key for her recent successes. She still makes UE's on this side but she drastically increased her number of forehand winners and that gives trouble to her opponents whose tactical plan used to be "feed her forehand".

The point that worries me a little bit is her double faults. She still made 5 against Svetlana,and she made a bunch last week against Molik. These DF's are the main reason why she gets broken while she could have easier wins..

andrewbroad
Nov 13th, 2004, 11:04 AM
More quotes from after the Sharapova v Kuznetsova match:

Maria: "I know I went out there and played my game. I was on. I'm so excited to be here as one of the top eight girls."

Kuznetsova: "Playing indoors is to her advantage because she doesn't have to move as much. I had to do something different with my game, but I didn't. I didn't serve well and she returned pretty good. She didn't let me build me game."


Last night, Maria took a 2-0 round-robin record with an exciting 6-4 7-5 win over the highly emotional Vera Zvonareva, who put up much stiffer resistance than Svetlana Kuznetsova had done, detaining Maria on the slow blue carpet-court for almost twice as long (119 minutes as opposed to 62) before Maria's awesome power finally got the better of Vera.

This was a mouthwatering match between my top two favourite Russians, and one that I badly wanted Maria to win. I knew that a win for Maria would all but book her place in the semi-finals. A loss would almost certainly have required Maria to beat Amélie Mauresmo to get there.

Vera's chances of reaching the semi-finals were basically over after a disappointing 6-2 6-4 loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova (Vera fought back three games from 1-5 in the second) followed by a tearful 6-1 6-0 meltdown against Amélie Mauresmo.

Vera's fourth meeting with Maria was her last chance to restore some pride before leaving the Championships. She responded by playing her best match of the week. I am a demi-fan of Vera so I didn't want to see her humiliated again, but her resistance at times had me worried as a faithful Maria fan! ;-)

From what I've read about the match [1], and what I already know about Maria and Vera, it seems to have been a classic case of the irresistable force narrowly overcoming the immovable object, Vera living with Maria's awesome power by running everything down, and Maria hitting harder and harder with her recently-improved forehand. It was a super-high-quality match from both players according to fans who were lucky enough to watch it [1].


I followed live scores at http://www.wtachamps.com/event_schedule_singles.asp

They appeared on the scoreboard at 20:14 PST (28:14 GMT).
Play started at 20:19 PST.

(BP = break-point, SP = set-point, MP = match-point)

FIRST SET

Maria won the first set 6-4, on the strength of a single break in the first game. She had to save three break-points (at 2-1 and 3-2), while taking Vera to deuce on three of Vera's other service-games.

Vera had a nasty-looking fall at 4-2, but she was alright [1].

Vezvona 0-0: 0/30, broken
Mashara 1-0: 0/15, 40/15, held
Vezvona 0-2: 40/0, 40/15, 40/40, ad V, held
Mashara 2-1: 15/0, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad M, held
Vezvona 1-3: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, held
Mashara 3-2: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad M, 40/40, ad V (BP #2), 40/40, ad M, held
Vezvona 2-4: 0/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad V, held
Mashara 4-3: 0/30, 40/30, ad M, held
Vezvona 3-5: 15/15, 40/15, 40/40, ad V, held
Mashara 5-4: 40/0 (3 SPs)
Maria won the first set 6-4 at 21:11 PST (52 minutes).


SECOND SET

The pair traded breaks in the first three games, leaving Maria 2-1 up and Vera in tears [1]. Maria squandered two points for a double break with Vera serving at 1-3, and Maria threw her racket after losing that game [1]. As soon as Maria, serving at 3-2, went 0/15 down I sensed danger.

Vera broke back for 3-3, and held for 4-3 after a fierce game in which Maria had seven break-points including 0/40. Maria overcame that psychological blow to hold for 4-4, and wasted another break-point as Vera held for 5-4. Maria was getting tight [1].

Vera had two set-points on Maria's serve at 4-5 15/40, but Maria won four points in a row to save them (with two solid first serves [3]) and hold for 5-5. Maria had a single break-point on Vera's serve at 5-5, and took it to serve for the match at 6-5.

At 0/15 and 15/30, it looked like we were in for a tiebreak which would have been the ultimate game of Russian Roulette. But Maria sealed victory three points later.

Vezvona 0-0: 0/15, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Mashara 1-0: 0/40 (3 BPs), broken
Vezvona 1-1: 0/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Mashara 2-1: 30/0, 40/15, held
Vezvona 1-3: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), 40/40, ad V, 40/40, ad V, held
Mashara 3-2: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), 40/40, ad V (BP #3), broken
Vezvona 3-3: 0/40 (3 BPs), 40/40, ad M (BP #4), 40/40, ad M (BP #5), 40/40, ad M (BP #6), 40/40, ad M (BP #7), ad V, held
Mashara 3-4: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, 40/30, held
Vezvona 4-4: 0/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad V, 40/40, ad V, 40/40, ad V, held
Mashara 4-5: 15/0, 15/15, 15/40 (2 SPs), 40/40, ad M, held
Vezvona 5-5: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad M (BP), broken
Mashara 6-5: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30 (MP)
Maria won 6-4 7-5 at 22:18 PST (1 hour 59 minutes).


WINNERS: Maria 58, Vera 12
UNFORCED ERRORS: Maria 36, Vera 13
ACES: Vera 4, Maria 2
DOUBLE FAULTS: Maria 7, Vera 3
FIRST SERVES IN: Maria 60%, Vera 53%
POINTS WON ON FIRST SERVE: Maria 65%, Vera 56%
POINTS WON ON SECOND SERVE: Maria 52%, Vera 48%
AVERAGE SERVE-SPEED: Maria 101mph, Vera 99mph
FASTEST SERVE: 110mph for both girls
POINTS WON AT THE NET: Maria 26 of 33, Vera 2 of 5
BREAK-POINTS CONVERTED: Maria 4 of 17, Vera 2 of 9
TOTAL POINTS WON: Maria 92, Vera 81

What a spectacular match this must have been! Despite Maria's numerous high-pitched yelps [2], a 58:36 winner:UE ratio is very healthy... 58 winners against Vera's amazing retrieval-skills! Maria was able to put Vera on the defensive early in the rallies, hence Vera's much lower number of winners [1].

My main concern for Maria is all the wasted break-points, like when she nearly lost to Ai Sugiyama at Wimbledon.

Although Maria was described as playing "a bashing baseline game" [2], it's also interesting to see that she went to the net a lot more than she usually does.


Maria: "I didn't come in as much as I would have liked to, I should have ended the points a lot quicker. But a win is a win. I did the best I could. It feels good to be in the championships and beating some of the tops girls.

"It's a good revenge. I got my whole game together."


References:
[1] http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=140658&page=16&pp=40
[2] http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news?slug=wtatourchampionship&prov=st&type=lgns
[3] http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_5728_rx.asp

Photos:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?ei=ISO-8859-1&c=news_photos&p=sharapova
http://www.wtatour.com/photogallery/


Amélie Mauresmo beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-2, which means that she and Maria have both reached the semi-finals! Maria and Mauresmo have both won two matches, eliminating Kuznetsova who finished 1-2 and Vera 0-3.

Had Kuznetsova beaten Mauresmo, and Maria lost to Mauresmo, that would have given each of these three players 2-1 records in the Black Group, and they would have had to use the following criteria to decide who would have qualified for the semi-finals:

"The official rules state that if a 3-way tie in W-L record exists after the conclusion of round robin play, the tie is first broken with the player(s) with the highest percentage of sets won. If a tie still exists, the player(s) with the highest percentage of games won will move on." [3]


Order of play for Saturday 13th November 2004 (start 13:00 PST = 21:00 GMT)
1. Lindsay Davenport v Serena Williams
2. Maria Sharapova v Amélie Mauresmo
3. Anastasia Myskina v Elena Dementieva

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/verazvonareva/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/

andrewbroad
Nov 14th, 2004, 04:19 PM
Maria lost 7-5 6-4 to Amélie Mauresmo in a lacklustre [1] round-robin match between the two players who had already qualified for tonight's semi-finals. I don't think Maria was trying her hardest, but it was still a much closer score than Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva combined had achieved against Mauresmo!

Maria admitted she was tired after completing her win over Vera just nine hours before this one started. For me in the UK (eight hours ahead of Los Angeles), this meant that Maria played both matches without me sleeping between them.

The consequence of Maria's loss is that she finishes second in the Black Group and therefore faces Anastasia Myskina, who finished top of the Red Group. Maria has a 0-3 head-to-head record against Myskina, so I would have preferred her to face Serena Williams, who finished second in the Red Group.

The other consequence is that Mauresmo will get more ranking-points for beating Maria, and could well finish the year as world number one (without ever winning a Grand Slam title) now that Lindsay Davenport has been eliminated.

Maria "turned on the style, playing left- and right-handed"! [1] Maria is naturally ambidextrous; I remember her hitting a left-handed forehand against Jelena Dokic at Wimbledon 2003.

Maria didn't hit at full power, and played some more experimental tennis in this match, trying out new things in her game such as serve and volley, blocked returns, dropshots, moonballs and slices [2].

Mauresmo served faster than Maria, and gave Maria trouble with heavy looped shots and low-bouncing slices [2].


I followed live scores at http://www.wtachamps.com/event_schedule_singles.asp

They appeared on the scoreboard at 15:14 PST (23:14 GMT).
Play started at 15:23 PST.

(BP = break-point, SP = set-point, MP = match-point)

FIRST SET

The first set featured five breaks of serve, the most interesting one coming when Mauresmo served for the set at 5-4 and Maria broke her to love, and the crucial one coming against Maria in the game after that.

Sharapov 0-0: 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Mauresmo 1-0: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Sharapov 1-1: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken
Mauresmo 2-1: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, 40/30, held
Sharapov 1-3: 0/15, 15/15, 30/30, 40/30, held
Mauresmo 3-2: 0/15, 15/30, 40/30, 40/40, held
Sharapov 2-4: 40/0, 40/30, held
Mauresmo 4-3: 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, held
Sharapov 3-5: 40/0, held
Mauresmo 5-4: 0/40 (3 BPs), broken
Sharapov 5-5: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad AM (BP), broken
Mauresmo 6-5: 0/15, 15/15, 40/15 (2 SPs)
Mauresmo won first set 7-5 at 16:06 PST (43 minutes).


SECOND SET

Another scrappy set, and it may be for the best that Maria didn't take it to a third set, as she needs to regain some energy for the semi-finals.

Sharapov 0-0: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Mauresmo 1-0: 30/0, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken
Sharapov 1-1: 15/0, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), held
Mauresmo 1-2: 0/15, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, held
Sharapov 2-2: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, held
Mauresmo 2-3: 0/30, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, ad AM, held
Sharapov 3-3: 0/30, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad AM (BP #2), 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad MS, held
Mauresmo 3-4: 15/0, 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, held
Sharapov 4-4: 30/0, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad AM (BP), 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad AM (BP #2), broken
Mauresmo 5-4: 30/0, 30/30, 40/30 (MP)
Mauresmo won 7-5 6-4 at 16:57 PST (1 hour 34 minutes).


WINNERS: Maria 35, Mauresmo 19
UNFORCED ERRORS: Mauresmo 17, Maria 35
ACES: Mauresmo 5, Maria 4
DOUBLE FAULTS: Maria 4, Mauresmo 8
FIRST SERVES IN: Maria 67%, Mauresmo 53%
POINTS WON ON FIRST SERVE: Mauresmo 80%, Maria 61%
POINTS WON ON SECOND SERVE: Maria 33%, Mauresmo 30%
AVERAGE SERVE-SPEED: Mauresmo 110mph, Maria 98mph
FASTEST SERVE: Mauresmo 118mph, Maria 109mph
POINTS WON AT THE NET: Maria 21 of 33, Mauresmo 10 of 16
BREAK-POINTS CONVERTED: Mauresmo 5 of 11, Maria 3 of 3
TOTAL POINTS WON: Mauresmo 81, Maria 75


Maria: "I was a little tired from Friday night. It definitely took a lot out of me. And I don't think I had enough time to rest. So I was a little bit fatigued. And I didn't really have that much energy to show a lot of emotions. It was sort of a practice match; I sort of enjoyed myself. She's very consistent. She knows more what she has to do to win and that comes from experience."

Mauresmo: "The match wasn't the best ever played. I think it is very difficult for both of us to stay really focused because we both qualified for the semis. And I think it made it a little tough to really be one hundred percent focused on this match. So it was pretty strange, some up and downs I think from both of us."


References:
[1] ITV Teletext p.497, "Mauresmo holds off tricky Sharapova"
[2] http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=140741&page=10&pp=40

Photos:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?ei=ISO-8859-1&c=news_photos&p=sharapova


Final standings of the Round-Robin stage:

Black Group:
1. Amélie Mauresmo (3:0)
2. Maria Sharapova (2:1)
3. Svetlana Kuznetsova (1:2)
4. Vera Zvonareva (0:3)

Red Group:
1. Anastasia Myskina (2:1, sets 5:2 = 71%)
2. Serena Williams (2:1, sets 5:3 = 63%)
3. Lindsay Davenport (2:1, sets 4:3 = 57%)
4. Elena Dementieva (0:3)


Order of play for Sunday 14th November 2004 (start 12:00 PST = 20:00 GMT)
1. (sf) Serena Williams v Amélie Mauresmo
2. (sf) Maria Sharapova v Anastasia Myskina
(followed by doubles semi-finals)

Myskina: "Tomorrow is a pretty tough match for me. Maria played really well here."

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/

mrush2004
Nov 14th, 2004, 05:55 PM
thanks for the reports, you can listen live on eurosport for audio btw.

also did she playoften with the left hand? even though she lost i might just have to get this on dvd so i can see her try new things.

Also, i dont know hte rule book, but could you serve right handed one point and than serve left handed if you wanted to? or is that against the rules?

andrewbroad
Nov 14th, 2004, 06:54 PM
Also, i dont know hte rule book, but could you serve right handed one point and than serve left handed if you wanted to? or is that against the rules?There are no rules governing which hand(s) you hold the racket with, except that it doesn't count if you throw the racket at the ball, even if the ball goes over the net! You also cannot hit the ball with anything other than the racket.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)

mrush2004
Nov 14th, 2004, 07:34 PM
thats cool, i wonder if masha will ever try serving with her left hand? or will the other player be pissed that she is serving left, i wonder, that be cool to watch though.

andrewbroad
Nov 15th, 2004, 01:03 PM
Maria reached the final of her first-ever WTA Tour Championships with a terrific fightback to stun #3-ranked French Open champion Anastasia Myskina 2-6 6-2 6-2. :banana:

It was her first win against Myskina. Nobody beats Maria Sharapova four times in a row! ;)

I'm so proud of Maria. It was beyond my wildest dreams that she would make the final here after pulling out of the Philadelphia semi-finals with a shoulder-injury.


I followed live scores at http://www.wtachamps.com/event_schedule_singles.asp

They appeared on the scoreboard at 14:52 PST (22:52 GMT).
Play started at 14:59 PST.

(BP = break-point, SP = set-point, MP = match-point)

FIRST SET

Maria led 2-1 on serve (I noticed at 2-2 that she already had 10 winners)... then lost five games in a row.

"I wasn't playing my game. I was letting her play her game. And I was sort of in one of those mudslides where you go in and can't come out. And I was totally playing the way she wanted me to play against her."

Sharap 0-0: 0/15, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, held
Myskin 0-1: 15/0, 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, held
Sharap 1-1: 0/15, 0/30, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad AM (BP #2), ad MS, 40/40, ad MS, held
Myskin 1-2: 40/0, 40/15, 40/30, held
Sharap 2-2: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Myskin 3-2: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, held
Sharap 2-4: 30/0, 30/15, 40/30, 40/40, ad AM (BP), 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad AM (BP #2), 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad AM, broken
Myskin 5-2: 15/0, 30/15, 40/15 (2 SPs)
Myskina won the first set 6-2 at 15:36 PST.


SECOND SET

Maria played more aggressively in this set [1], racing to a 5-0 lead. Myskina reduced this lead by two games, breaking Maria to love when she served for the set at 5-1, but Maria broke Myskina to 15 to win the second set 6-2.

Myskina took an injury-timeout at the end of the second set, to get her right ankle taped. Apparently it was nothing serious [2], so I don't think it devalues Maria's victory in any way.

Sharap 0-0: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, held
Myskin 0-1: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, ad AM, 40/40, ad AM, 40/40, ad AM, 40/40, ad MS (BP), broken
Sharap 2-0: 0/30, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad MS, held
Myskin 0-3: 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Sharap 4-0: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, 40/30, held
Myskin 0-5: 15/15, 30/30, 40/30, held
Sharap 5-1: 0/40 (3 BPs), broken
Myskin 2-5: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 SPs)
Maria won the second set 6-2 at 16:09 PST.


THIRD SET

Maria broke to lead 2-0, and perhaps crucially, saved two break-points at 15/40 in the next game, and saved another in a game of five deuces at 3-1.

It was in that fifth game of the set that Yuri Sharapov cost his daughter a code-violation for illegal coaching - not for the first time this year.

Maria: "I didn't hear what he said. It doesn't matter what the coach says. You still have to go out and you have to win."

Myskina: "He always coaches her. Maria's father did something really loud. That is why the chair umpire saw it."

Maria raced away with the last three games of the match, her only hiccup coming when Myskina saved two match-points on her own serve at 2-5. It was third time lucky for Maria after a single deuce.

Sharap 0-0: 15/0, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, held
Myskin 0-1: 0/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, broken
Sharap 2-0: 15/0, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), 40/40, ad MS, held
Myskin 0-3: 15/0, 30/15, 40/15, 40/40, ad AM, held
Sharap 3-1: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad MS, 40/40, ad MS, held
Myskin 1-4: 40/0, 40/15, held
Sharap 4-2: 15/0, 30/15, 40/15, held
Myskin 2-5: 15/15, 15/40 (2 MPs), 40/40, ad MS (MP #3)
Maria won 2-6 6-2 6-2 at 16:44 PST, after an hour and 45 minutes of play.

So although Myskina took a set off Maria, it was Vera Zvonareva who detained her on court for the longest time! :)


WINNERS: Maria 34, Myskina 17
UNFORCED ERRORS: Myskina 17, Maria 37
ACES: Maria 2, Myskina 0
DOUBLE FAULTS: 3 for both players
FIRST SERVES IN: Maria 70%, Myskina 52%
POINTS WON ON FIRST SERVE: Myskina 63%, Maria 59%
POINTS WON ON SECOND SERVE: Maria 48%, Myskina 40%
AVERAGE SERVE-SPEED: Maria 102mph, Myskina 94mph
FASTEST SERVE: Maria 112mph, Myskina 106mph
POINTS WON AT THE NET: Maria 25 of 37, Myskina 7 of 11
BREAK-POINTS CONVERTED: Maria 5 of 7, Myskina 3 of 11
TOTAL POINTS WON: Maria 94, Myskina 86


Maria: "I am just so excited to be in the final that I could care less about my chances. I am obviously playing really well to come back and to win today. Knowing that I was a little bit fatigued, and I thought after slipping away the first set, that she was going to get on me. But I kept my cool and I just picked up my level quite fast.

(Remembering 3rd July 2004) "Oh, yeah, in reality there was one. She [Serena Williams] might not have been in reality.

"Serena obviously is going to want her revenge. But hey, I'm in the finals of the championships and I want it badly, too."


Myskina: "I played bad. That is my worst match probably, not in the week, in the past couple months. She won, and she deserved it. I just think I got really tired, and I lost my concentration.

"The way Serena played today, I don't think [Maria] has any chance. I think she played unbelievable. If Maria can play the same level as Wimbledon, she was not showing me today."

Are these just sour grapes from Myskina after being shown to be inadequate by a 17-year-old?


Williams: "I think it's really hot if I were able to win tomorrow. I've got one under my belt. I don't like to lose twice in a row, so that was also a motivation for me.

"I can't reflect back. I don't believe I played Wimbledon. I don't know who it was, but that was someone else. I wasn't at Wimbledon this year.

"I love me. I love everything about me. I love my legs, my arms, my lips. I love my eyes. I think it is important for everyone to love themselves."

Williams is a great comedian with her self-deprecating humour, I'll give her that! :lol:


References:
[1] http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_5739_rx.asp
[2] http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=140902&page=2&pp=40

Photos:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?ei=ISO-8859-1&c=news_photos&p=sharapova


Order of play for Monday 15th November 2004 (start 19:00 PST = Tuesday 03:00 GMT)
1. Singles final: Maria Sharapova v Serena Williams
2. Doubles final: Cara Black/Rennae Stubbs vs Nadia Petrova/Meghann Shaughnessy


If Maria wins the final, she will jump to #4 in the rankings. If she loses, she will remain at #6.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/

xan
Nov 15th, 2004, 03:31 PM
Great to see Maria beat the Myskina Jinx.

it was fun to see how happy she was when she hit a good shot. I'm sure that beating Nastya is worth almost as much to her as winning the tournament would be.

She sank to her knees at the end of the match. Then she got up to shake hands solemnly with Myskina nad the umpire, before turning away to yell with delight!

Edward.
Nov 15th, 2004, 03:46 PM
I hope to God I will be proved wrong, but I have a nasty feeling that Maria is going to lose all three of her round-robin matches

Andrew made one hell of a blunder with that prediction! :devil:

Josh B.
Nov 15th, 2004, 04:27 PM
hehe.

How do ya feel now Andrew?? :devil:

franny
Nov 15th, 2004, 06:36 PM
I bet ya he feels great for being proven wrong. I was proven wrong too. I thought that Myskina would beat Maria for sure. I love when Maria proves me wrong!

Andy.
Nov 15th, 2004, 09:47 PM
Wow Maria is really charging the net in these Matches.

Edward.
Nov 15th, 2004, 09:55 PM
I bet ya he feels great for being proven wrong. I was proven wrong too. I thought that Myskina would beat Maria for sure. I love when Maria proves me wrong!

:yeah:

lakan kildap
Nov 16th, 2004, 02:07 AM
Remember that I agreed with Andrew considering Maria's recent injury and her losing record at the beginning of the tournament to Sveta and Vera. It turned out quite the opposite, she beat both Russians and she lost to Mauresmo, where I predicted she'd win.

Remarks by Myskina and Williams are better ignored. I don't know what Serena was thinking with that remark, or with her "20 percent" bit last July. It's so ridiculous it has me thinking she must be an idiot or on crack. Who is she fooling?

I don't know how the rest of you remember Wimbledon, but I remember Serena embarassing Capriati in the QF and then toughing it out with Mauresmo in the semi. After her thrashing of Jen, she even proclaimed "I'm back" or something like that. If she doesn't think that was Serena in the final, then why didn't she lodge a protest? :D This is exactly the reason why I hate tennis post-match interviews, especially from the losing players.

I hope Maria mops the floor with Serena today.

andrewbroad
Nov 17th, 2004, 01:32 AM
Now I must eat my own words:

"I hope to God I will be proved wrong, but I have a nasty feeling that Maria is going to lose all three of her round-robin matches."

I can't believe my reverse-jinx was so successful! :) For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.


Maria reaffirmed to me that she is the best thing to happen to tennis since Monica Seles by winning the WTA Tour Championships at Los Angeles, beating Serena Williams (the woman who won four consecutive Grand Slam titles in 2002/2003) 4-6 6-2 6-4 in the final.
:bounce: :banana: :bounce:

In my opinion, this is the most important title in women's tennis after the four Grand Slams and the Olympics - certainly worth more than being ranked #1 without winning any of these titles.

I predict that Maria will be world number one by the end of 2005... I mean, I predict that she will slide out of the top 100 because I hope that she will be #1! ;)

No one can say that winning Wimbledon and the WTA Tour Championships in the same year was a fluke, even though Maria had more than her fair share of luck here - with her last two opponents both needing injury-timeouts. But no tennis-player can be successful without some luck along the way, and I've surely been due for some luck after having to endure all the misfortunes that my other six players have suffered in the last couple of years.


Fortunately I don't have access to Eurosport, so I followed live scores at http://www.wtachamps.com/event_schedule_singles.asp

They appeared on the scoreboard at 19:02 PST (03:02 GMT).
Play started at 19:10 PST.

(BP = break-point, SP = set-point, CP = championship-point)

FIRST SET

Maria, serving first, got off to a good start as she held serve comfortably (saving one break-point at 3-3 30/40) until 4-4. Both players put up "tremendous serving performances" [4].

Maria had two break-points on Williams's serve at 1-2 15/40, and when Williams saved them I said to myself, "dammit, that could be really crucial."

At 4-4, Williams inflicted the psychological blow of breaking Maria (on a double fault [4]) after Maria had led 40/0 - what I call the "Alexandra Stevenson Syndrome" after seeing Daniela Hantuchová break Stevenson twice in this way at Eastbourne 2003. And Williams took full advantage by swiftly serving out the set 6-4.

Afterwards, Williams revealed she had felt pain in her stomach right from the start of the match [1].

Sharapov 0-0: 40/0, held
Williams 0-1: 0/15, 15/15, 40/15, held
Sharapov 1-1: 40/0, 40/15, held
Williams 1-2: 15/0, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), 40/40, held
Sharapov 2-2: 40/0, held
Williams 2-3: 30/0, held
Sharapov 3-3: 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad M, held
Williams 3-4: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, held
Sharapov 4-4: 40/0, 40/40, ad W (BP), broken
Williams 5-4: 40/0 (3 SPs), 40/15
Williams won the first set 6-4 at 19:44 PST.


SECOND SET

Maria recovered from 0/15 and 15/30 to hold for 1-0, which was an important game for her to win. She was broken for 1-2 (again on a double fault), but like all great champions she broke back immediately (to 15) for 2-2.

When Maria had Williams serving at 2-3 15/30, I sensed this as the turning-point of the match. Maria broke for 4-2, and saved a break-point as she held for 5-2.

The scoreboard stayed at 5-2 0/0 for much longer than the standard 90 seconds, so I guessed that there was an injury-timeout, and I guessed that it was for Williams. I was right: Williams had called the trainer to see to her strained abdomen, and she left the court to have her midriff taped while Maria "took the time to work on her serves." [2]

Williams, now in excruciating pain [2] and unable to serve with her usual venom, was broken to 30 as Maria won the second set 6-2.

Sharapov 0-0: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, held
Williams 0-1: 40/0, held
Sharapov 1-1: 0/15, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), 40/40, ad W (BP #3), broken
Williams 2-1: 15/0, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken
Sharapov 2-2: 15/0, 15/15, 15/40, held
Williams 2-3: 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad M (BP #2), broken
Sharapov 4-2: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad W (BP), 40/40, ad M, held
Williams 2-5: 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (SP)
Maria won the second set 6-2 at 20:24 PST.


THIRD SET

An injured tiger is a dangerous animal. Despite the fact that Williams's "normal 100-plus mph first serves had dwindled down in the 80s and some even in the 70s due to the pain she was feeling in her stomach" [1], Williams went for broke on her groundstrokes and raced into an astonishing 4-0 lead for the loss of only two points. I could only hope that the storm would blow itself out.

Maria: "I think she figured that she can't really do anything from her serve, so she's got to hit everything as hard as she could. And that is exactly what she did. And there's not too much I could do. She was hitting the ball as hard as she could. And everything was going in.

"After she got the medical treatment, I could tell that she had problems serving, but on the groundstrokes she was just teeing off on absolutely everything. Beside her serve, she didn't look injured once she was playing, so she was actually being really tough. I couldn't capitalize on the weak serves that she hit."

Williams "grimaced on nearly every serve in the third set when her 120-mph blasts were reduced to 60-mph cream puffs." [3]

Serena: "I was actually really surprised. I didn't think I would be able to stay out there. I just started blasting every ball as hard as I could. I think I lived off her mistakes. I don't how I was able to stay out there. Once she stopped making them, she was able to come back and win the match."

I must admit that part of me was simply rooting against Maria losing 0-6, but I did not consider it a lost cause at 0-4. Maria still had a little time left to dig in - she'd just have to fight for every game.

And Maria won every game left in the match! The momentum suddenly swung back in her favour as she cut out her errors and "began to tee off on Williams's soft deliveries" [2].

Maria: "I couldn't capitalize on the weak serve, so I just tried to find a little opening and get back in there. I guess I was mentally strong. I figured if I could hold my serve, then I knew I would get a chance on her serve."

Williams, her first serves now little more than 70mph, double-faulted three times to make it 4-4 [1]. Maria held to love for 5-4, had two championship-points at 15/40 on the Williams serve, and dropped to her knees and lay on the court after "hammering an up-the-line forehand service return winner" [2].

Sharapov 0-0: 0/40 (3 BPs), broken
Williams 1-0: 40/0, held
Sharapov 0-2: 0/40 (3 BPs), 15/40, broken
Williams 3-0: 15/0, 30/15, 40/15, held
Sharapov 0-4: 40/0, 40/15, held
Williams 4-1: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken
Sharapov 2-4: 0/15, 15/15, 40/15, held
Williams 4-3: 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken
Sharapov 4-4: 30/0, held
Williams 4-5: 0/30, 15/40 (2 CPs)
Maria won 4-6 6-2 6-4 at 20:56 PST! (1 hour 46 minutes)


WINNERS: Williams 23, Maria 17
UNFORCED ERRORS: Williams 24, Maria 26
ACES: Williams 8, Maria 5
DOUBLE FAULTS: Williams 7, Maria 5
FIRST SERVES IN: Maria 69%, Williams 47%
POINTS WON ON FIRST SERVE: Williams 72%, Maria 68%
POINTS WON ON SECOND SERVE: Maria 48%, Williams 45%
AVERAGE SERVE-SPEED: Maria 102mph, Williams 98mph
FASTEST SERVE: Williams 123mph, Maria 110mph
POINTS WON AT THE NET: Maria 11 of 18, Williams 5 of 5
BREAK-POINTS CONVERTED: Maria 6 of 10, Williams 4 of 9
TOTAL POINTS WON: Maria 82, Williams 75

"During the on-court ceremony where Sharapova received her million dollar check and a large Porsche key, Sharapova announced she would be donating the vehicle to the victims of September's school hostage tragedy in Beslan, Russia." [4]


Maria quotes:

"I'm still in shock. I can't believe the way I pulled it out. It's very unreal the way I stuck in there.

"It's been an amazing week, it's been an amazing year. This has been an extraordinary experience for me. I finished it off and I'm so happy.

"I don't think I could have asked for anything better this year. It has been an extraordinary year for me. And to finish it off just beating players that are the best in the world, and playing five days in a row with my body, it's not very easy.

"I know I'm not showing a lot of emotion, but I'm sort of just speechless. It's quite an amazing year, I've accomplished so much. I've been through ups and downs in my life. And to achieve so much at 17 years old. A lot of people don't realize I'm still 17.

"It is a bit of a struggle. There are a lot of things that emotion-wise, expectation-wise that, even though I love expectation, I mean, I am still 17 years old. And I had to face a lot of it. I am just one girl in front of millions of people.

"And a lot of people are watching me, looking at me every second to what I am doing and wanting me to win and this and that. And I just had to realize it is not about winning and it is not about losing. But it is about doing what you can, learning from your mistakes, trying to get better and most importantly, working hard."

(On her rise from #32 to #4 in 2004)
"It just shows that I have come a long way in a short period of time. It is just really unbelievable."


Serena quotes:

"It is extremely disappointing. I figured I would have a good chance at this title, but there is nothing I can do about it.

"It's definitely a muscle pull or a strain or a tear, unfortunately. I actually noticed it in the first game of the match. I felt something in my stomach and thought it was just a stitch, but it wouldn't go away. Whenever I would serve or made a muscle in my stomach, I felt the pain. In a zero to a 10, it was like a 10 pain-wise. Once I got into the rallies it was much better.

"I thought at times I wouldn't finish, but I like to fight. I was thinking, `I'm not going to be out for six months.' I wasn't going to go for any big serves, it's not worth it. With the new year coming around the corner, I just thought, 'Oh my God, it's not worth it to me.'

"I had definitely an up and down year I guess. For a Serena year, it wasn't superb. But I think over all, it has been a really tough year for me in general. So I just try to stay positive."


References:
[1] http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_5758_rx.asp
[2] http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news?slug=wtatourchampionship&prov=st&type=lgns
[3] http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news;_ylc=X3oDMTBpNDU1cml1BF9TAzk1ODYyNTg0BHNlYwN0 aA--?slug=ap-wtachampionships&prov=ap&type=lgns
[4] http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_5751_rx.asp

Photos:
http://tennis.info/WTAChamps4.asp (all eight LA competitors)
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?ei=ISO-8859-1&c=news_photos&p=sharapova

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/

andrewbroad
Nov 18th, 2004, 12:27 AM
From http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news;_ylc=X3oDMTBpNDU1cml1BF9TAzk1ODYyNTg0BHNlYwN0 aA--?slug=ap-sharapovasyear&prov=ap&type=lgns
>>>
Relieved Sharapova ends `amazing' year

By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
November 16, 2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- So what's a girl who loves to shop do with $1 million?

"That's a lot of shoes," says Maria Sharapova, winner of Wimbledon and the year-end WTA Championships.

The 17-year-old Russian is headed off to a "super-fantastic" vacation knowing she beat the world's top players over five consecutive days to earn one of the richest paychecks in women's tennis.

"I certainly deserve a spot on that list," she said.

Sharapova rose to a career-high fourth in the year-end WTA rankings released on Tuesday after starting the year at No. 32. She finished with a 55-15 match record and her fifth title after defeating an injured Serena Williams 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Monday night.

"I've had an amazing year and accomplished so much," she said. "To achieve so much, I don't think a lot of people realise that I'm still 17."

Lindsay Davenport claimed the year-end No. 1 ranking for the third time in her career, although she failed to advance to the semifinals after winning a Tour-best seven titles.

"To be able to do it at 28 is quite an accomplishment," she said.

Sharapova's run through the season-ending tournament proved a breakthrough, with three victories over players she had losing records against. She beat countrywomen Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva in straight sets, and outlasted fellow Russian Anastasia Myskina in three sets after losing to her three other times this year.

"It just shows that I came a long way in a short period of time," she said. "It's just really unbelievable. I played five days in a row and with my body at 17, it's not very easy to do that."

Sharapova's biggest challenge came against former No. 1-ranked Amélie Mauresmo in the semifinals. The two had never played before and Sharapova won 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

"When I was playing Amélie I was absolutely dead, I felt that I couldn't go on," she said, "but I found an inner strength in myself."

The long year clearly took a toll on Sharapova, who didn't smile much as the tournament wore on and had a muted reaction when she beat Williams.

"It was a relief," she said. "I froze."

Sharapova's life turned into a whirlwind of promotional appearances, photo shoots and constant scrutiny after her stunning 6-1, 6-4 victory over Williams at Wimbledon. Expectations piled up on her thin shoulders, too.

She played 10 more tournaments the rest of the year, winning titles in South Korea and Japan before beating Williams again.

"There were definitely a lot of difficult periods. That's how I learned to be at the top. That's how I learned a lot about myself," she said. "After winning Wimbledon at 17, it's a bit of a struggle. I'm just one girl in front of millions of people and a lot of people are watching me, looking at me every second to see what I'm doing, wanting me to win and this and that."

Sharapova's recognition among non-tennis fans has gone up, especially when she hands over her credit card in stores.

"Unfortunately, I have to give them my credit card lots of times because I am a big shopper," she said.

At times, Sharapova finds the attention to be intrusive, especially if she's approached while eating in public.

"Then yeah, it is a little bit like, `You are bothering me.' It is very difficult when some fans are a little crazy," she said. "But other times, I don't mind if people come up to me and ask for my autograph."

The blond beauty's looks have generated as much interest as her game, helping give women's tennis a marketing boost during a year in which Serena and Venus Williams didn't win a Grand Slam tournament.

Organisers of the WTA Championships focused their advertising on Sharapova, featuring her in a short skirt and without her racket in tournament posters and billboards with the tag line, "The closer you sit the hotter it gets."

Williams, who loves fashion as much as Sharapova does, saw nothing wrong with a 17-year-old being portrayed in an alluring way.

"I love her legs in this picture. Her legs are so sexy," Williams said. "She is not being sold in this picture. This is a hot picture."

WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott defended the ads, saying, "They were respectful and tasteful. I was surprised for any questions to be raised."

Sharapova didn't have a problem with the ads, and enjoys getting dolled up for photo shoots.

"I find it to be very glamourous because definitely the work on the court is not very glamourous," she said. "So it feels good to get the makeup on. I am a Renaissance woman. I love to try different things."

Sharapova showed a gracious side after beating Williams. She said she planned to give the SUV worth $56,300 that she won or proceeds from its sale to the survivors of the September hostage-taking in Russia that left more than 300 people dead, half of them children.

And she later acknowledged slipping up during the post-match awards ceremony. "I forgot to thank Serena," she said. "I'm sorry I didn't mention her name."

If Sharapova's success continues in 2005, she knows there will be fewer days to act her age.

"I just have to realise that it's not about winning and it's not about losing," she said. "It's about what you can learn from your mistakes, trying to get better and most importantly working hard."
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