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andrewbroad
May 21st, 2005, 01:16 AM
My analysis of the draw

Full first-round draw:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/draws/ws/

The following is an excerpt from my analysis of the whole draw, which is available to members of the jeldani Yahoo! Group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/message/2360


Maria's eighth

113. NATHALIE DECHY [13] v Michaela Paštiková
115. Silvija Talaja v Samantha Stosur
117. Youlia Fedossova [WC] v Kristina Brandi
119. Nuria Llagostera Vives v AI SUGIYAMA [23]
121. PAOLA SUÁREZ [26] v Anna Chakvetadze (both nice)
123. qualifier v Klára Koukalová
125. Camille Pin [WC] v Aravane Rezai [WC]
127. Evgenia Linetskaya v MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] (DAVAI MARIA!!)

Not a particularly kind draw for Maria, as she faces a repeat of her French Open 2004 quarter-final (Suárez beat her 6-1 6-3) in the third round! So for Maria's sake I'm going to support Chakvetadze in her all-nice first-round match against Suárez.

Suárez went through the first four months of 2005 not winning a match in singles, but at Rome she stunned US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-4 in the second round.

Evgenia Linetskaya is one of the tougher first-round opponents Maria could have drawn, as she boasts a 16-10 win/loss record for 2005 so far, beating Vera Zvonarëva in the quarter-finals of Pattaya City (unfortunately Vera has been on a mission to give as many players as possible their first win over a top-eleven player :o).

Linetskaya beat clay-court experts Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko to reach the quarter-finals of Rome last week, but reportedly looked slow and overweight as she was thrashed 6-1 6-0 by Patty Schnyder. Maria should be just too strong for #40-ranked Linetskaya - Maria hasn't lost to anyone outside the top 15 this year, except to Kim Clijsters (#38) in the Miami final.

A fourth-round against Ai Sugiyama could be a bit of a nightmare for Maria, as she struggled to overcome Sugiyama's relentless retrieving even on the fast grass of Wimbledon last year. Logically, then, Sugiyama on slow red clay should be as tough as it could get for Maria. Sugiyama has a mediocre 9-12 win/loss record for 2005 so far, including three third-rounds on clay.

Maria's other potential seeded opponent in the fourth round, Nathalie Dechy, has a 17-12 win/loss record for 2005 so far, including a semi-final at the Australian Open, but I don't rate Dechy's chances against Maria because the players who have beaten Dechy on clay this year are Yvonne Meusburger, Ana Ivanovic, Dally Randriantefy, Maria Elena Camerin and Anabel Medina Garrigues.

Maria's probable quarter-final against Justine Henin-Hardenne is as far as I'm willing to look ahead at this stage. Henin-Hardenne won the French Open 2003, and has a stunning 17-0 win/loss record on clay this year, winning Charleston, Warsaw and Berlin (where she beat Maria 6-2 6-4 in the quarter-finals). In fact Maria is the only player to beat her in 2005 so far, but that was on the hard courts of Miami - Henin-Hardenne's first tournament back after a year of illness and injury (during which she nevertheless won the Gold Medal at the Athens 2004 Olympics).

So I'm hoping for Maria at least to reach the quarter-finals and defend her points from last year, and I'm hoping for Davenport to lose in the first round - the #1 ranking would then depend on quality points based on the rankings of Maria's beaten opponents, and on the points for what is currently Davenport's 19th-best tournament (a datum I don't have to hand).

Realistically, Maria is not going to take over the #1 spot immediately after the French Open unless she can find a way to beat Henin-Hardenne in the quarters, and then she has a ton of points from Birmingham and Wimbledon 2004 to defend. She's going to have to defend those points just to stay within striking distance of #1, so her dreams of number one may well have to wait until after her successful Wimbledon defence.

One set - just one more set against Patty Schnyder at Rome, and Maria could have displaced Steffi Graf as the fourth-youngest world number one of all time. The last date on which Maria could become the fourth-youngest #1 is 20th June (first Monday of Wimbledon), so it's hugely important to the history of women's tennis that Maria makes the best of this difficult draw.


Maria: "I'm a lot better than I was in last year's claycourt season, and I have so many years ahead of me to get better. I'll have a good week of training. I got better and better as the matches went on last week [Rome], so hopefully I'll take that experience into Paris."

--
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/

Doc
May 21st, 2005, 01:09 PM
Yes. The Henin draw is really annoying. Seeding the favourite for the title at No 10 is ridiculous! Justine is one of the few people who is going to be incredibly hard for Maria to beat on clay.

The best scenario would be for Sveta to take out Justine in the 4th round, since Sveta (when playing her best) has the power to hit right through Justine. the Masha, assuming she has got there safely, has a chance to take out Sveta.

Maria Croft
May 21st, 2005, 03:49 PM
okay, here is what I think of the draw:

Maria should have no trouble with Linetskaya because she just like Maria isn't very good on clay, also Linetskaya likes to return very high, Maria loves that, however, Linetskaya doesn't make many mistakes so it's up to maria really if this first round will be difficult, she has to stay focused and patient, then she will be fine

the 2nd round can't be difficult, it will be either Pin or someone I don't even know

Then of course she could face Suarez but she shouldn't be dangerous, considering the fact that Suarez hasn't one much this year and has injury problems a lot, and also she lost to a power hitter on clay just 2 weeks ago (Bovina) and Maria is way better then Bovina (she beat her 6-2 6-2) so I only see a problem in Suarez if she is playing really really good tennis and maria isn't, and I don't expect Maria to play bad tennis in a grand slam, I just don't.

4th round should be a surprise, she could meet Sugiyama or Dechy but since they both have had a horrible season so far I doubt that, anyway if one of them makes it Maria should be more then ready for them.

then there is the horrible QF vs Henin of course, I would be in shock if Maria would win that, Henin hasn't lost a single match on clay and is playing out of her mind right now because she has nothing to lose, the only change Maria has in this match is hoping that Henin isn't playing well, of course Maria doesn't have to anything to lose either in that QF but knowing Maria she really wants it bad against Henin, then let's not forget Kuznetsova, she could beat Henin, you never know. if that happens Maria is still in trouble, because Kuznetsova has to be really good to beat Henin and will be on fire after that win, and of course she is good on gravel, so it really doesn't matter if she will play against Kuznetsova or Henin, I expect both of them to play really good against Maria

the SF, ha, I don't even think Maria get's this far but you never know, Mauresmo should be waiting here, if Maria really makes it there she will also beat Mauresmo, I mean Mauresmo under pressure and Maria just beat Henin or Kuznetsova, of course she could also meet Petrova but she has just as much trouble with her nerves as Mauresmo has, should be difficult but Maria should have the advange.

the final (yeah sure) of course Maria could meet anyone here but I only see a couple of names making it, Venus, Clijsters, Davenport and Schnyder, the only one to worry about from those is Schnyder if you ask me

But it's RG, it always has a surprise or 2, high seeds falling early and most of the time a surprise winner (could be Maria lol) or she could also lose early, but that doesn't really matter, Maria only has 250 points to defend and she is up 600 on Mauresmo that also has something close to that to defend, I just hope that Maria will do her best and has some fun and play without pressure

Good luck Maria

andrewbroad
May 24th, 2005, 08:33 PM
Court Lenglen (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
MS 1r: Raemon Sluiter v MARAT SAFIN [3]
WS 1r: Evgenia Linetskaya v MARIA SHARAPOVA [2]
MS 1r: Gaël Monfils [WC] v GUILLERMO CAŃAS [9]
WS 1r: TATIANA GOLOVIN [17] v Lilia Osterloh

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/


Maria: "I am a much more experienced player now. I know what to do. I have played many great players in the past year and my confidence is high.

"I enjoy playing on clay because it teaches me what I have to do to improve. It shows me my weaknesses and the things I have to work on. This is definitely the most difficult surface for me. But I have worked hard and progressed a lot in recent weeks. I feel far better than last year.

"A lot of players will be dangerous of course and I will take one match at a time, as long as I feel good about the way I play."

About Justine Henin-Hardenne:
"She has been in great form on clay, so she's one of the favorites. I think there's a lot of competition in this event. A lot of players can be dangerous."

--
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
May 24th, 2005, 08:35 PM
Maria survived an almighty scare against the relentless retrieving of fellow 18-year-old Russian Evgenia Linetskaya, dropping the first set and trailing 1-3 (with a point for 1-4) in the third before clawing her way to a 6-7 (3/7) 6-2 6-4 victory.

Maria: "These are the sorts of matches I play for. When you come off the court and you feel like you were losing the whole match, and all of a sudden you pulled it out, you know, it's those moments that you feel you've trained for and worked hard for.

"When you're down a break in the third, you're just begging for mercy. But I just tried to fight it out and tried to find a way, just an opening. As the third set went on, I thought the conditions were a little lighter and the ball flew faster. I was able to hit shots that she wasn't able to run down. In the first and second set, I felt like she was running down every single ball. No matter how good my ball was, it was coming back. In the third, I felt like everything seemed lighter and I could hit the ball and I got a good advantage from it."

---------
First set
---------

Sharapova ___@*@ @*__@ 6(3)
Linetskay @*@___@__*@_ 7(7)

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

Started 14:09 CEST.

Maria serving 0-0: 30/0 -> 30/40 (BP), broken!
Linetskaya serving 1-0: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad L, held.

I hope this is not going to be "one of those days"!

Maria serving 0-2: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad L (BP #2), broken.

Maria's W:UE ratio is 2:11 so far.

Linetskaya serving 3-0: 0/15, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.
Maria serving 1-3: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, held.

Two games with no UEs from Maria - now Linetskaya is making them and Maria has 6 winners now.

Linetskaya serving 3-2: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.
Maria serving 3-3: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/40 (BP), broken.
Linetskaya serving 4-3: broken to love.
Maria serving 4-4: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, held.
Linetskaya serving to stay in the first set at 4-5: 40/0, 40/30, held.
Maria serving 5-5: 15/0, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.
Linetskaya serving for the first set at 6-5: 0/15, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.
6-6 tiebreak: Maria *0/0, 1/0*, 1/1*, *1/2, *2/2, 2/3*, 2/4*, *2/5, *2/6 (4 SPs), 3/6*, Linetskaya won the first set 7-6 (7/3) at 15:07.

Maria finished the first set with a W:UE of 15:28, Linetskaya 9:16. Maria served 3 double faults, and is winning only 21% of the points on her second serve.

----------
Second set
----------

Sharapova _*@* *@* 6
Linetskay *___*___ 2

Linetskaya serving 0-0: 0/30 -> 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad L, held.
Maria serving 0-1: held to love.
Linetskaya serving 1-1: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad L, Deuce #2, ad M (BP #2), broken.

That was a very important game for Maria to win. If she had lost it, I would have to have said that she was missing too many opportunities today, and unable to take control of the match.

Maria serving 2-1: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, held.
Linetskaya serving 1-3: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad L, held.
Maria serving 3-2: 0/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, held.
Linetskaya serving 2-4: 0/15, 30/15, 30/40 (BP), broken.
Maria serving for the second set at 5-2: 15/0, 15/15, 15/30, 40/30 (SP), Maria won the second set 6-2 at 15:45.

Maria had a W:UE of 13:10 for the second set, Linetskaya 4:13. In contrast to the first set, Maria won 67% of points on her second serve.

---------
Third set
---------

Sharapova _*__@*@ @* 6
Linetskay * *@___@__ 4

Linetskaya serving 0-0: held to love.
Maria serving 0-1: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15 -> 40/40, ad M, Deuce #2, ad M, held.

An important hold for Maria after letting a 40/15 lead slip, as she did so often when losing the Miami final to Kim Clijsters and the Rome semi-final to Patty Schnyder.

Linetskaya serving 1-1: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad L, held.

What a waste of opportunities. If Maria loses this match now, it'll be because of that game.

Maria serving 1-2: 15/0, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.
Linetskaya serving 3-1: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30 (point for 4-1), 40/40, ad M (BP), broken.

Huge sigh of relief! Maria would have had to dig very deep to pull this one out from 1-4 down, but we have to question whether Linetskaya has the self-belief to win this match.

Linetskaya still has the advantage of serving first, so I don't think Maria can afford to be broken again.

Maria serving 2-3: 0/15, 15/15, 40/15, held.
Linetskaya serving 3-3: 15/0, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs) -> 40/40, ad M (BP #3), Deuce #2, ad M (BP #4), broken.

A very important game, with Maria needing four break-points to go clear in this final set. Only a terrible rash of unforced errors will save Linetskaya now (Maria has 15 already in this set).

Maria serving 4-3: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.

Well, Maria made four UEs in that game, and I'm shaking with tension right now.

Linetskaya serving 4-4: 0/15, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.
Maria serving for the match at 5-4: 30/0 -> 30/30, 40/30 (MP), Maria won 6-7 (3/7) 6-2 6-4 at 16:35, hitting three winners in the final game.


Maria finished the match with a winner-unforced error ratio of 50:59, Linetskaya 19:38. She hit three aces but committed a monstrous 11 double faults, 7 of which came in the third set.

Maria got 65% of first serves in, winning 66% of the points when she did so, but only 29% (for the match as a whole, and for the third set) when she had to rely on her second serve.

The set-by-set statistics suggest that Maria played brilliantly in the second set, but in the third set she was back to her bad old ways from the first set in terms of unforced errors and a poor success-rate on her second serve.


In the second round, Maria will play the winner of the French wild cards: Aravane Rezai beat Camille Pin 2-6 6-2 6-2. Rezai is also 18, and has won four titles on the ITF Women's Circuit (most recently the $50k at Saint Gaudens two weeks ago), but I must confess I had never heard of her before I saw the draw.

Anna Chakvetadze made Maria's third-round draw easier with a 7-5 1-6 6-0 win over Paola Suárez, who had thrashed Maria 6-1 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the French Open 2004. I would love to see Maria play the cute Chakvetadze on BBC 1's Grandstand on Saturday.

Maria's French Open profile:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/bios/ws/wtas961.html

Photos:
1. http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
2. http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=66
3. Search Getty Images for "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
May 25th, 2005, 10:45 PM
Court Chatrier (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
MS 2r: GUILLERMO CORIA [8] v Novak Djokovic [Q]
WS 2r: Aravane Rezai [WC] v MARIA SHARAPOVA [2]
MS 2r: Arnaud Clément v NICOLAS KIEFER [28]
WS 2r: NATHALIE DECHY [13] v Samantha Stosur

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
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
May 27th, 2005, 11:25 PM
Prior to her second-round match, Maria said: "I think I'll be working on the serve a lot more. There's not too much you can do with one day off in between your next round. First round is never easy. You have to try to improve things in the second."

Well Maria did improve the scoreline in the second round, as she scored a 6-3 6-2 win over plucky French wild card Aravane Rezai, who unleashed some "stunning groundstrokes", hitting 5 more winners than Maria, but 27 more unforced errors. It was tougher than the final scoreline implies, as Maria had to recover from 1-3 in the first set, suffered three breaks of serve, and survived some long games that Rezai had points to win.

Rezai's appearance at the French Open follows a life of travelling and living in a camper, and playing barefoot even in winter [www.rolandgarros.com]. Like Maria, these hardships have made her mentally strong (we British have it easy - that is why we fail at tennis).

Maria: "She had nothing to lose, and she was just going for her shots. Some balls were just too good. But I finally started feeling a good rhythm out there, and began playing better."

Maria twisted her ankle at 1-1 in the first set. "I was a little distracted by it. But it got better after the fourth game of the first set. I just tried to find a way."

---------
First set
---------

Shara *___*@*@* 6
Rezai _*@*_____ 3

Started 13:30 CEST.

Maria serving 0-0: 40/0, 40/30, held.
Rezai serving 0-1: 0/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.
Maria serving 1-1: 0/30 -> 30/30, 30/40, broken.
Rezai serving 2-1: 0/30 -> 30/30, 40/30, held.

Maria really needs to cut out these slow starts! I think the reason for this one is that Novak Djokovic retired against Guillermo Coria with a set and a half to go in the previous match on Court Chatrier, so Maria had to play much sooner than she would have expected (as she also had to in that infamous loss to Lindsay Davenport in the Indian Wells semi-finals).

Maria serving 1-3: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 40/30, held.
Rezai serving 3-2: 15/0, 15/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad R, Deuce #2, ad M (BP), broken.

Quite a relief after the scoreboard had said 4-2 Rezai!

Maria serving 3-3: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, held.
Rezai serving 3-4: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad M (BP #2), Deuce #2, ad M (BP #3), broken.

www.rolandgarros.com (http://www.rolandgarros.com) has the following description of the point at Deuce #2:
>>>
Rezai watched as a Sharapova shot clipped the top of the net and dropped towards the AD-court sideline. Thinking the ball would be out, she did not play the point through, but the ball landed on the edge of the paint.
<<<

Maria serving for the first set at 5-3: 40/0 (3 SPs), 40/15, Maria won the first set 6-3 at 14:06.

Amazingly, Rezai was the more aggressive player in the first set, with a W:UE ratio of 12:18 compared with Maria's 9:4.

----------
Second set
----------

Shara @ @ @*@* 6
Rezai _@ @____ 2

Rezai serving 0-0: broken to love.
Maria serving 1-0: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.
Rezai serving 1-1: 15/0, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.
Maria serving 2-1: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.

This has degenerated into an ugly set of break and counterbreak. :mad:

Rezai serving 2-2: 0/15, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.
Maria serving 3-2: 15/0, 15/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad M, held.
Rezai serving 2-4: 0/40 (3 BPs), 30/40, broken.
Maria serving for the match at 5-2: 0/15, 40/15 (2 MPs), 40/30, Maria won 6-3 6-2 at 14:37.


Rezai continued to be the more aggressive player, with a final W:UE of 20:40 next to Maria's 15:13. It was a very baseline-oriented match, with Maria only coming to the net once and losing that point, while Rezai won 2 of 4 points at the net.

Maria got 63% of first serves in, winning 65% of the points when she did so, and 33% on second serve (Rezai 51%, 54% and 21%). So I guess they both attacked each other's second serves well.

Maria served 5 aces and 4 double faults, while Rezai committed 7 double faults. Rezai's fastest serve (185km/h) was 10km/h faster than Maria's, while they both had an average first-serve speed of 160km/h.

Maria broke 6 times from 11 break-points, while Rezai broke 3 times from 4 BPs.


Maria's win sets up an attractive all-Russian third-round match with Anna Chakvetadze, who removed Maria's French Open 2004 conqueror Paola Suárez 7-5 1-6 6-0 in the first round, and her Australian Open 2003 conqueror Klára Koukalová 6-4 6-3 in the second round. Most famous for her US Open 2004 upset of Anastasia Myskina, Chakvetadze has had a solid but unspectacular year so far, with a 17-10 win/loss record including her two wins here.

Chakvetadze is quite cute, but I've never seen her play. I'm hoping this will change on Saturday, if their match takes place before BBC's Grandstand coverage (starts 12:10 BST on BBC 1; tennis provisionally scheduled for 14:00 - 14:55).


Maria's French Open profile:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/bios/ws/wtas961.html

Photos:
1. http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
2. Search Getty Images for "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
May 28th, 2005, 12:54 AM
Court Lenglen (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
WS 3r: Anna Chakvetadze v MARIA SHARAPOVA [2]
WS 3r: NATHALIE DECHY [13] v Nuria Llagostera Vives
MS 3r: TOMMY HAAS [21] v NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO [12]
MS 3r: GUILLERMO CORIA [8] v Jürgen Melzer

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
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
May 29th, 2005, 03:34 PM
I have just uploaded my third-round report for Maria Sharapova v Anna Chakvetadze to my website, for I saw the second set on BBC television:
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/french_open2005.html

For digital viewers in the UK, there will be French Open coverage on BBCi throughout the second week.

There will also be a documentary called The Making of Maria on Saturday 18th June on BBC 2.

------------------------
Order of play for Sunday
------------------------

Court Lenglen (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
WS 4r: LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1] v KIM CLIJSTERS [14]
MS 3r: Paul-Henri Mathieu v GUILLERMO CANAS [9]
MS 4r: ROGER FEDERER [1] v CARLOS MOYÁ [14]
WS 4r: Nuria Llagostera Vives v MARIA SHARAPOVA [2]
MS 4r: DAVID FERRER [20] v GASTON GAUDIO [5]

At the time I post this message, Federer leads Moyá 6-1 6-4 4-2.

--
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
May 29th, 2005, 10:35 PM
After beating three fellow 18-year-olds in a row, Maria found herself up against 25-year-old Nuria Llagostera Vives, ranked #46 after winning the Tier IV title at Rabat this month, and a diminutive lady of only 5'1" (Maria is 6'0").

Maria was leading 6-2 3-3 when play was suspended for the day by rain - in fact she had just been broken back after leading 3-1 in the second. So I pray for a hot, dry day and a flying start for Maria on Monday morning!

---------
First set
---------

Sharapova @* * *@* 6
Llagoster __* *___ 2

The match started at Sunday 17:59 CEST on Court Lenglen.

Llagostera Vives serving 0-0: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.

Maria serving 1-0: 0/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.

Llagostera Vives serving 0-2: 15/0, 15/30, 40/30, held.

Maria serving 2-1: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.

Llagostera Vives serving 1-3: 0/40 (3 BPs for 4-1), 15/40 to 40/40, ad L, held.

Just when I was wondering if I'd have any comments about this match other than "journeywoman thrashed", the 40/15-to-40/40 syndrome strikes Maria again!

Maria serving 3-2: 0/15, 40/15, held.

But Maria bounces back with her "masculine mentality to holding serve".

Llagostera Vives serving 2-4: 0/15, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.

Maria serving for the first set at 5-2: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 40/15 (2 SPs), Maria won the first set 6-2 at 18:31.

----------
Second set
----------

Sharapova _*@*_ 3
Llagoster *___* 3

Llagostera Vives serving 0-0: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.

Maria serving 0-1: 15/0, 15/40 (2 BPs) to 40/40, ad M, held.

Maria has committed 6 UEs already in this set - no doubt a little lapse in concentration after cruising through the first set so easily against such a lesser opponent - but that masculine mentality comes to the rescue!

Llagostera Vives serving 1-1: 0/15, 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.

Maria serving 1-2: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs) to 40/40, ad M, held.

And again - from 15/40 in her last two service-games!

Llagostera Vives serving 1-3: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, held.

Maria serving 3-2: 0/40 (3 BPs), 15/40, broken.

But she can't recover three times in a row - it's lucky it's 3-3 now instead of 1-5! The momentum has definitely shifted towards the Spaniard, and for the first time in this match I'm a little bit anxious for Maria.

Due to rain, play was suspended for the day at 18:59, even though on Court Chatrier they played on until 19:33. Perhaps Maria asked for it to be suspended - she doesn't like playing on a cold, damp clay court which makes the balls slow and heavy.

------------------------
Order of play for Monday
------------------------

Court Lenglen (start 12:00 CEST = 10:00 GMT = 11:00 BST)
WS 4r: Nuria Llagostera Vives v MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] (to finish)
MS 4r: GUILLERMO CORIA [8] v NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO [12]
MS 4r: NICOLAS KIEFER [28] v GUILLERMO CAŃAS [9]


Maria's French Open profile:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/bios/ws/wtas961.html

Photos:
1. http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
2. Search Getty Images for "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
May 31st, 2005, 01:20 AM
Maria came back on court on Monday morning with her match against Spanish retriever Nuria Llagostera Vives tightly poised at 6-2 3-3. The weather-conditions did not favour Maria - windy, damp and only 60°F - but just nine minutes after the resumption of play, Maria emerged a 6-2 6-3 winner!

----------
Second set
----------

Sharapova _*@*__@*@ 6
Llagoster *___*@___ 3

Play resumed at 12:10 CEST on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Llagostera Vives serving 3-3: 0/15, 30/15, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.

Maria serving 4-3: 0/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, held.

Llagostera Vives serving to stay in the match at 3-5: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 MPs), Maria won 6-2 6-3 at 12:19 when Llagostera Vives "shanked a backhand" [www.rolandgarros.com].

----------
Statistics (for the match as a whole)
----------

Maria's W:UE ratio was 17:22, against 10:18 for Llagostera Vives. Maria went to the net more, winning 11 of 15 points there.

Maria will want to improve her first-serve statistics, as she got only 51% of first serves in, winning only 64% of the points when she did so, and 58% on second serves (Llagostera Vives 50%, 46% and 41%). Certainly the statistics confirm that Maria served considerably faster than the 5'1" Spaniard!

Maria broke 5 times from 8 break-points, and was broken once from 6 BPs against her serve.

-----------------
Quotes from Maria
-----------------

"It's never easy coming back after being a set up and then being up 3-1 and all of a sudden it becomes 3-all. You know, it's going to be a different match from there. But I guess I was playing the right way yesterday. When the rain started coming down, the conditions got a lot heavier. I was rushing it a little bit. I guess it was good just to have a good night's sleep.

"I've been playing a lot better in my last two rounds than I did in my first two. I've actually been feeling a lot better. I never thought I needed to prove anything to anyone. I think I'm getting better and better. I've said this before, if people underestimate me on clay, then they'll be surprised. Hopefully I'll go out and just be even tougher.

"I have that mentality with every single match I play. If I go on the court and I feel like I don't want to be out there, then there's really no point in going out there. There are times when you're tired and you physically feel fatigued. But I'm usually mentally always ready for every single match I play."

---------------------
Quarter-final preview
---------------------

I watched Justine Henin-Hardenne beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (8/6) 4-6 7-5 to set up the much-anticipated quarter-final against Maria, in a match that lasted 3 hours 15 minutes this afternoon. It was a long, boring, error-strewn match, but as the contest approached the three-hour mark, I must confess I got a sadistic thrill out of seeing how very tired they looked, less than 24 hours before the winner would have to face Maria in the quarter-finals!

They both had strapped thighs; Kuznetsova was waddling around the court between points like a wounded elephant, while Henin-Hardenne looked even more exhausted, clutching her injured lower back after points. So I was rooting for Henin-Hardenne to win, and was thrilled to see that she had to come back from 3-5 down in the third set (saving two match-points) to do so - she made Kuznetsova serve for the match at 5-4, and Kuznetsova completely choked.

Henin-Hardenne: "I was seeing her very nervous. She was afraid to win the match; that was very clear. And when you can see that in the eyes of your opponent, it makes you feel very good. So you have to see what's happening in the other side of the net; that is very important - the body language and everything. That's why I not showing too much to the other players what I feel, if I'm nervous or not. It's very good to be - to have good stability of your emotions. Tennis is not about luck. It's about being strong at the right moment."

So Henin-Hardenne proved that she is one of the (perhaps even the) mentally strongest competitors in women's tennis today, but one thing's for sure - she's going to be one tired cowgirl tomorrow! :)

Obviously I'm feeling much better about Maria's chances against Henin-Hardenne after seeing her so tired and injured, but we must not underestimate Henin-Hardenne's ability to recover. At the US Open 2003, she beat Jennifer Capriati 4-6 7-5 7-6 in the semi-finals, then thrashed Kim Clijsters 7-5 6-1 in the final the very next day.

And if that isn't a big enough warning, consider Henin-Hardenne's results at Berlin 2005:
1r + Iveta Benešová, 7-5 4-6 6-1
2r + Maria Kirilenko, 2-6 6-1 6-3
3r + Kveta Peschke [Q], 4-6 6-4 6-2
qf + MARIA SHARAPOVA [1], 6-2 6-4
sf + PATTY SCHNYDER [7], 6-0 6-1
f + NADIA PETROVA [6], 6-3 4-6 6-3

So Henin-Hardenne has the ability to rise to the big occasion - as of course does our Maria. Clay is Maria's worst surface, as huge shots that would be winners on any other surface keep coming back, and Henin-Hardenne knows how to exploit Maria tactically on clay. The clay at Berlin is much slower than the clay at Roland Garros, but unfortunately tomorrow is going to be another cold and damp day, which will make the balls heavy and slow.

Maria can certainly match Henin-Hardenne in the mental-strength department, but she's not infallible. I've seen Maria get nervous trying to close out a match (against Patty Schnyder at Birmingham 2004), and of course she served for the match twice and had three match-points against Serena Williams at the Australian Open 2005. Maria has to not show any signs of nerves, given Henin-Hardenne's fondness for reading the opponent's body-language.

>>>
Q. How do you rate your chances against Maria Sharapova?

JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: It's gonna be another tough match. Right now I really believe in it. Even if it was a tough match today, even if I didn't play very well, I think tomorrow is gonna be another day, another match, another kind of player. You know, Kuznetsova is playing very, very heavy. The ball is coming very, very strong. Sharapova is probably playing faster, but not as heavy. So it's gonna be a very different match, and we will see tomorrow.

But I will try to forget what happened in Berlin. I played very good match. But here it's the French Open and it's different kind of pressure. But I believe I can win... I think it's a 50/50 chance for me tomorrow.

Q. Do you feel as good for tomorrow as the day after the match against Capriati?

JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE: Well, it's difficult to say. I'm not really worried from a physical point of view; I have to recover mentally because today was a real drain on my energy. There were a lot of turnarounds in the match.
<<<

In conclusion, Maria has to be the favourite for this match now, given that Henin-Hardenne will have had less than 24 hours to recover from an exhausting three-set war of attrition, and is also nursing a lower-back injury. If Henin-Hardenne is going to win at all, it will have to be in two quick sets - the longer the match goes on, the more Maria will be able to take advantage of Henin-Hardenne's fatigue.

-------------------------
Order of play for Tuesday
-------------------------

Court Lenglen (start 12:00 CEST = 10:00 GMT = 11:00 BST)
WS qf: NADIA PETROVA [7] v ANA IVANOVIC [29]
WS qf: JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE [10] v MARIA SHARAPOVA [2]
MS qf: RAFAEL NADAL [4] v DAVID FERRER [20]


Maria's French Open profile:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/bios/ws/wtas961.html

Photos:
1. http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
2. http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=67
3. Search Getty Images for "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
Jun 3rd, 2005, 12:27 AM
I have just uploaded my quarter-final report for Maria Sharapova v Justine Henin-Hardenne to my website, for I saw the whole match on BBCi:
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/french_open2005.html


Maria's French Open profile:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/bios/ws/wtas961.html

Photos:
1. http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
2. Search Getty Images for "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/