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View Full Version : What I took Away from Clijsters Match


franny
Sep 9th, 2005, 11:38 PM
Well guys, I know we're all dissapointed right now. Another slam, another semi, another loss. But with each semifinal, I have noticed an improvement in Maria's game. Here is what I took away from her match.

1. She CAN beat Kim. Yes, Kim ran everything down, but there were just stretches in the match where Maria showed that she can hang in there. Kim got out to a 4-0 lead in the third set, but Maria still won 3 of the last 5 games. It was just a little too late. I mean, overall, Maria can beat Kim. She can rally with Kim, and if she just cut down her errors by using more of those high loopying shots, she can definitely win in the future.

2. Her game is constantly improving. You can't really do much during the year to improve your game. So I mean, her level now is prolly the same as it was in Australia. But that's not to say that she hasn't improved since last year's YEC or Wimbledon. I'm sorry, but last year, Maria was number 4 because of two tournaments, which showed that when she's on, she's on. But this year has been great as well, because she has been so consistent in tournaments. It shows that now, even when she has an off day, she can find ways to win. Usually, this step comes before a slam victory. But for some players like Maria and Serena, they win before they even get to this stage, which is why both struggled to win slams after it. But once Maria hits that high peak where she can play her best in the best moments, she will win many more slams. It just takes time.

3. I saw a lot of things I liked. The thing I found most encouraging is that she used some variety. She still sucks at net, but she used those high loopy shots that were hit well and deep. If she keeps executing those shots, and adding the occasional drop shots, she can get so much better. Her net game needs so much improving. She sucks at volleying, but you can't improve your volleys in the middle of the year. I'm sure that she's gonna arrive in Australia at another level.

4. The offseason is where she will be improving most of her game. Right now, she'll play the rest of this year, but I have noticed that most players make a big improvement in between the Open and the indoor season, and then after the season ends. Look for Maria to really try out some volleying and drop shots indoors where the winds and sun won't be much of a factor. Then look for her to really work on these elements, as well as her fitness and movement, during her offseason.

5. All in all, I'm proud of our girl. SHe played well, fought hard, and though it is another dissapointing slam, she will no doubt come back stronger next year. She reached the semis of all these slams while she was not at her full potential, imagine how great she can be once she gets better. I think she'll win the Aus Open 2005.

Dan23
Sep 9th, 2005, 11:46 PM
Good post Franny :cool:
I agree....Im very proud of her and I liked what I saw against Kim...its clear Maria can beat her.
I really like the look of Maria coming forward to the net, though she needs some work the points she did win there were very well executed. Against Kim that is one way to get on top of her when shes defending from so far back and Maria spotted that and added the drop shots and volleys. There were so many more opportunities to come forward that she didnt take....I really hope Maria works long and hard on it because with her big serve, a good volley would make it a huge weapon for taking easy points. She has the talent and touch to do it.

Maria Croft
Sep 9th, 2005, 11:51 PM
Great post, I'm really proud of Maria, pushed Kim to three without playing her best, improving so much in her game in a busy busy year, handeling the media and all the pressure and she is still so young and still learning so much, after tonight I have a feeling that if Sharapova keeps improving she can really dominate womans tennis in the future

Go Maria !!

Chrissie-fan
Sep 10th, 2005, 12:06 AM
I'm not really a Sharapova fan,but I would just like to say that I think that Maria is deserving of all the respect and admiration she gets from you guys. She's a real fighter and a great player. And never mind all those negative posts in general messages. Just a bunch of idiots over there writing crap. Congrats to Sharapova for another great effort and to her fans for supporting such a great champ. :yeah: :smoke:

cc.bham.dani
Sep 10th, 2005, 12:14 AM
Quite simply, this young Lady is phenomenal!!
The way she fought back against Kim in the 2nd set was unbelievable!
But equally impressive was during the Quarter Final against Petrova, after the 'rogue' ball rolled on to the court and the stubborn umpire with her complete lack of common sense refused Maria's request for the referee to become involved. Her composure over this very frustrating incident was a lesson for all!
Maria, you're one hell of a player! but even more importantly, one hell of a Lady!! :worship: You,ve got an even greater future ahead of you! Enjoy the rest of your season x x

lakan kildap
Sep 10th, 2005, 10:24 AM
I still think her footwork is her greatest weakness. Even though she's long, she doesn't have an explosive first step, so she's not particularly quick. Her stride is often a betweener, they're too long when she needs to make small choppy steps (when attacking the net or retrieving a drop shot), and they're too short when she really needs to make up for distance (when running down a ball that's bee hit crooscourt at the baseline). I think her last three Grand Slam exits showed this.

Andy.
Sep 10th, 2005, 10:31 AM
Great post everyone. Masha showed us today that she shot making under pressure is second to none. She has greatly improved her variety and power and really pushed Kim around the court. She is a tremendous fighter and her movement was very good. She has added so much to her game even in the last 6 months. She is developing a game that will be hard to match in a few years.

WIMBLY2004
Sep 10th, 2005, 11:41 AM
I believe Maria will learn a lot from this match, she tried different new shots on the big stage at the big points and they worked, that will give her a lot of confidence to continue using them in the future.

Many players can do a lot of things in practice but hesitate to use them in real match because of the lack of confidence. I believe this match gave Maria more confidence in trying new things and incorporate more variety into her game.

xan
Sep 10th, 2005, 12:04 PM
2. Her game is constantly improving. You can't really do much during the year to improve your game. So I mean, her level now is prolly the same as it was in Australia. But that's not to say that she hasn't improved since last year's YEC or Wimbledon. I'm sorry, but last year, Maria was number 4 because of two tournaments, which showed that when she's on, she's on. But this year has been great as well, because she has been so consistent in tournaments. It shows that now, even when she has an off day, she can find ways to win. Usually, this step comes before a slam victory. But for some players like Maria and Serena, they win before they even get to this stage, which is why both struggled to win slams after it. But once Maria hits that high peak where she can play her best in the best moments, she will win many more slams. It just takes time.
Very good point. Maria has been consistently very good this year compared to last year. But she has fewer trophies to show for it. If she maintains the improvements in her game, the titles will eventually come. But its hard at this point when she's just missing on so many slams. Maria clearly can beat these players, but she hasn't recently.
I agree....Im very proud of her and I liked what I saw against Kim...its clear Maria can beat her.
I really like the look of Maria coming forward to the net, though she needs some work the points she did win there were very well executed. Against Kim that is one way to get on top of her when shes defending from so far back and Maria spotted that and added the drop shots and volleys. There were so many more opportunities to come forward that she didnt take....I really hope Maria works long and hard on it because with her big serve, a good volley would make it a huge weapon for taking easy points. She has the talent and touch to do it.


Yes. Maria was trying new things, which bodes well for the future. Her serve though, still worries me. It's good enough to dominate the players below Top 8. But she's still losing serve too often against the rest. I think I've mentioned before that she has LOST power on her serve this year. She was serving 114 at Wimbledon 04. Since then her top serve has been about 109, averaging 102 or so. That's clearly not quite enough to give her the easy holds she needs in the big matches. I hope she's not afraid of looking "too big" for modelling. Then again, it may be to do with her growth spurt. Vaidisova hits 114s regularly so Masha should do at least as well.

On coming forward, there were so many occasions she could have come forward to cut off one of Kim's defensive returns, and didn't. I really wish Masha would improve in this area, come in and KILL the ball.

That drop shot on MP No 1 was :hearts:

Dan23
Sep 10th, 2005, 02:07 PM
Yes. Maria was trying new things, which bodes well for the future. Her serve though, still worries me. It's good enough to dominate the players below Top 8. But she's still losing serve too often against the rest. I think I've mentioned before that she has LOST power on her serve this year. She was serving 114 at Wimbledon 04. Since then her top serve has been about 109, averaging 102 or so. That's clearly not quite enough to give her the easy holds she needs in the big matches. I hope she's not afraid of looking "too big" for modelling. Then again, it may be to do with her growth spurt. Vaidisova hits 114s regularly so Masha should do at least as well.Thats true Masha's serve isnt as big as last year..but Maria has said she was working on improving her stamina and movement over the last 12 months or so....she realises that its important for her serve to increase in power. Her placement is still superior to most but its true that the very best players can put pressure on Maria. As for being afraid of being too big for modelling, I dont know...Maria is bigger now than she was last year, and I think the pec problem has showed her that she has to strengthen those muscles.


On coming forward, there were so many occasions she could have come forward to cut off one of Kim's defensive returns, and didn't. I really wish Masha would improve in this area, come in and KILL the ball.Yea there were so many balls that Kim floated back from the deep forehand corner that were asking to be killed. Maria did get onto a few of them...she needs the confidence of putting a few away. Some of her volleys were impressive...shes just got to fully commit to it :)


That drop shot on MP No 1 was :hearts:as was the BH winner on MP 2 :hearts:

Sweep
Sep 10th, 2005, 07:21 PM
If this is what Masha's like now, imagine what she's gonna be like when she gets even stronger.
She will take a lot from her GS experiences this year and hopefully put them into practice next year. I've been very impressed by her performances this year.
2006 will hopefully be a fantastic year GS wise.

sharapova1987
Sep 10th, 2005, 11:43 PM
I am a HUGE Maria fan.......and yes, she CAN beat all of these players, but all of these players can also beat HER. I mean, let's face it, she choked against Serena in the Australian Open, she got waxed by Clijsters at Key Biscayne, she got embarassingly double-bageled by Davenport in Palm Springs, she was beaten fairly easily by Henin-Hardenne at the French Open, and beaten fairly easily by Venus at Wimbledon. Then, she comes out yesterday against Clijsters and can't even hold serve one time in the first set, actually plays well in the second, but then comes out flat as a pancake and gets broken four more times in the third set. I guess my point is that the women's game is EXTREMELY deep right now. I honestly don't believe that Maria is the hands down best player in the world currently, but I would also be hard pressed to say who is. I would probably have to lean toward Clijsters, even though she doesn't have enough matches under her belt over the past twelve months yet. But there are just way too many quality players right now for any one woman to dominate in the forseeable future. I think the #1 ranking could literally be bouncing from one girl to the next on a week by week basis over the coming several years.

xan
Sep 11th, 2005, 01:23 AM
I am a HUGE Maria fan.......and yes, she CAN beat all of these players, but all of these players can also beat HER. I mean, let's face it, she choked against Serena in the Australian Open, she got waxed by Clijsters at Key Biscayne, she got embarassingly double-bageled by Davenport in Palm Springs, she was beaten fairly easily by Henin-Hardenne at the French Open, and beaten fairly easily by Venus at Wimbledon.
I think you've been reading too many of the pundits on GM.

Maria did not get "waxed" by Clijsters in Key Biscayne. It was 6-3 7-5.
Compare her 6-1 6-0 of Mauresmo, and 6-2 6-1 of Dementieva in previous rounds.

Nor did Venus beat maria "fairly easily" at Wimbledon, despite playing at her very best in 2 years.

Justine beat everyone easily on clay this year - but nowhere else.

Then, she comes out yesterday against Clijsters and can't even hold serve one time in the first set, actually plays well in the second, but then comes out flat as a pancake and gets broken four more times in the third set. As I said, maria's serve does need improvement.
I guess my point is that the women's game is EXTREMELY deep right now. I honestly don't believe that Maria is the hands down best player in the world currently, but I would also be hard pressed to say who is. I would probably have to lean toward Clijsters, even though she doesn't have enough matches under her belt over the past twelve months yet.
CURRENTLY on hard courts, Clijsters is the best. She hasn't proved herself on other surfaces. Maria is the most consistently good player over all surfaces. Hence the No 1.

But there are just way too many quality players right now for any one woman to dominate in the forseeable future. I think the #1 ranking could literally be bouncing from one girl to the next on a week by week basis over the coming several years.
All the players challenging Maria are older than she is.

Pierce and Davenport are on their last big hurrahs.
Venus and Serena do not seem able to play well consistently.
Kim has injury worries and wants to retire in 2 years. (She may not though)
Mauresmo is healthy but 26
Justine is most likely to be around a while
Dementieva, Myskina, Petrova may also present a challenge.

As challengers to Masha for No 1 next year, it looks like being Kim, Mauresmo and Lindsay. I can't see anyone else having the consistency - assuming Masha stays okay.

Challengers for slams will include the Williamses and Justine as well.

It can be added that Maria has more potential to improve her game than any of the older players. this is because Maria's game is not fully developed yet.
........................
Challenges from Younger Players.

I can't really see any younger players who look like big threats to Maria yet. Sesil is nowhere near.
Mirza was beaten soundly
Vaidisova looks the best, but is Maria-lite at the moment.
Ivanovic could present a danger in a year or two IF she develops well.

So Maria is in a position to move into being a fairly dominant player if she keeps progressing and improving her game

WIMBLY2004
Sep 11th, 2005, 02:09 AM
I can never understand this, since when losing at 6-3 7-5 became "being waxed", that's just 1 break in a set :rolleyes:

We are not saying Maria will be a dominant player here, we are saying Maria can improve and play better although she lost yesterday.

Derek.
Sep 11th, 2005, 04:08 AM
I think you've been reading too many of the pundits on GM.

Maria did not get "waxed" by Clijsters in Key Biscayne. It was 6-3 7-5.
Compare her 6-1 6-0 of Mauresmo, and 6-2 6-1 of Dementieva in previous rounds.

Nor did Venus beat maria "fairly easily" at Wimbledon, despite playing at her very best in 2 years.

Justine beat everyone easily on clay this year - but nowhere else.

As I said, maria's serve does need improvement.

CURRENTLY on hard courts, Clijsters is the best. She hasn't proved herself on other surfaces. Maria is the most consistently good player over all surfaces. Hence the No 1.


All the players challenging Maria are older than she is.

Pierce and Davenport are on their last big hurrahs.
Venus and Serena do not seem able to play well consistently.
Kim has injury worries and wants to retire in 2 years. (She may not though)
Mauresmo is healthy but 26
Justine is most likely to be around a while
Dementieva, Myskina, Petrova may also present a challenge.

As challengers to Masha for No 1 next year, it looks like being Kim, Mauresmo and Lindsay. I can't see anyone else having the consistency - assuming Masha stays okay.

Challengers for slams will include the Williamses and Justine as well.

It can be added that Maria has more potential to improve her game than any of the older players. this is because Maria's game is not fully developed yet.
........................
Challenges from Younger Players.

I can't really see any younger players who look like big threats to Maria yet. Sesil is nowhere near.
Mirza was beaten soundly
Vaidisova looks the best, but is Maria-lite at the moment.
Ivanovic could present a danger in a year or two IF she develops well.

So Maria is in a position to move into being a fairly dominant player if she keeps progressing and improving her game

Well said. :D

Doc
Sep 11th, 2005, 12:31 PM
I think Maria has shown her quality and consistency this year. She hasn't had the big results. A lot of that is down to not getting the flashes of luck that you need to win a slam. All her most dangerous opponents have been ON for the crucial matches, when the rest of their years have been up and down.

Those who still say maria isn't a contender for the top prizes are fooling themselves.

Go Maria. Continue improving and take the slams next year!

franny
Sep 11th, 2005, 04:59 PM
Oh and one more point. Sharapova's game has improved a lot since Key Biscane. At Miami, Kim was playing at a much lower level I think than she is right now, with a lot less confidence. Kim won 6-3, 7-5. Maria had a chance to take the second set at 5-5, 40-15, could not hold. Kim served it out. This time, Kim is playing much better and on a confident roll. Maria battled and battled and managed to take Kim to three sets. That to me is a good sign.

paulhc
Sep 12th, 2005, 11:23 AM
The way she fought back against Kim in the 2nd set was unbelievable!


Yes, unbelievable IS the word ! I rarely saw someone saving match points this way, with such guts !! :worship:

Sharapower
Sep 12th, 2005, 02:25 PM
Well...
I do agree, I think, with most of the positive comments posted in this thread. But on the other hand there are also negative aspects.

In the beginning of the match, my first impression was that Maria was dominating and that she would blow Kim out of the court in two short sets. The main problem she had was that she couldn't get that 1st serve in (which is not so good) and it began to take on her nerves and confidence (which is much worse). Then it completely jeopardized her attitude-wise almost during the whole match except the end of the second set when she saved those matchpoints.

What worries me the most is that I find she had the same negative attitude in her previous losses against Kim, Justine, Venus and even Patty. There is really an issue to deal with there, otherwise, there's a risk for Maria of getting the "Martina Hingis syndrom". She must take things with more serenity when her tennis is not going the way she would like. Her body language says a lot and her opponents, who are more experienced, take profit.

A little detail : Maria showed her lack of experience taking that long toilet break after the second set. She let Kim come back mentally. It would have been better to continue right away while she had the edge. It was just a few minutes but perhaps they changed everything, Kim was positively detroyed after losing that second set.

tennisjunky
Sep 13th, 2005, 11:25 PM
this is a great thread full of great insite. i really do feel that if maria can control her unforced errors and if the conditions are good, maria will win. i felt that maria was pressing a little too hard and it didnt help that her footwork wasnt to great and that her serve took a while to get going. i still feel that kim hasnt played the same maria that lindsay, serena, and venus have all faced. we all have to remember that kim is match tough and playing in peak form, maria didn't play in the summer and was still working some kinks out in her game. she still took her to three sets.

i am really looking forward to the next time they play, i think kim and her fans are going to be in for a big surprise.

Sharapower
Sep 14th, 2005, 01:40 PM
I think Maria vs. Kim is going to be the big rivalry for the years to come, until Kim retires, as she said she would in 2007.

The Williams Sisters though they still can contend in majors, have their best days behind them. Lindsay is probably not far from retirement. Justine Henin's future is a mystery for me. The way she got whipped by Kim recently makes me think that except on clay, she's a level under Kim and Maria.

Now it is very important that Maria beats Kim in their next encounter. If the losing streak still increases, I'm afraid Maria will be definitely tagged as the challenger and will have to wait for Kim's retirement before taking a solid position on the top of the world.

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Sep 14th, 2005, 06:21 PM
ohhh my...

andrewbroad
Sep 14th, 2005, 11:26 PM
Now it is very important that Maria beats Kim in their next encounter. If the losing streak still increases, I'm afraid Maria will be definitely tagged as the challenger and will have to wait for Kim's retirement before taking a solid position on the top of the world.

You don't get to be on top of the world by waiting for your toughest opponents to retire. You'd always be waiting for someone to retire, and who knows what little terrors Nicole Vaidišová and Ana Ivanovic may have developed into by 2008, not to mention players who haven't joined the WTA Tour yet?

I do think Maria has the ability to dominate the women's game as Roger Federer is currently dominating the men's, but right now there are several women capable of winning Grand Slams. At the Australian Open she was unlucky, at the French Open she ran into a claycourt-expert (Maria's least-favourite surface), at Wimbledon she ran into a player on red-hot form, and at the US Open she ran into the player who has dominated hard courts in 2005, while Maria had gone into the Open with virtually no match-play.

--
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/)
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/)

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

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Sep 14th, 2005, 11:52 PM
So it will keep being Dr Broad until Maria stops it herself...

xan
Sep 16th, 2005, 05:27 PM
You don't get to be on top of the world by waiting for your toughest opponents to retire. You'd always be waiting for someone to retire, and who knows what little terrors Nicole Vaidišová and Ana Ivanovic may have developed into by 2008, not to mention players who haven't joined the WTA Tour yet?

I do think Maria has the ability to dominate the women's game as Roger Federer is currently dominating the men's, but right now there are several women capable of winning Grand Slams. At the Australian Open she was unlucky, at the French Open she ran into a claycourt-expert (Maria's least-favourite surface), at Wimbledon she ran into a player on red-hot form, and at the US Open she ran into the player who has dominated hard courts in 2005, while Maria had gone into the Open with virtually no match-play.


All very true, Dr Doom (see avatar :devil: )

Maria has definitely improved her play this year, but lost some high-profile matches to on-form players. One of the problems is that Maria hasn't developed a "fear factor" yet, and the top players aren't intimidated seeing her across the net. Against some other players, I think losing that 2nd set would have destroyed Kim, but against Maria, she held her nerve. All we can do is hope Maria's form keeps its improving trend, and that she gets that little bit of luck you need to win a slam. soon. Remember it took Serena three years after her first slam win to win another slam and to become No 1. Maria has done the second much faster.

sharapova1987
Sep 24th, 2005, 05:59 PM
Well, as "improved" as Maria supposedly is........she really has not won anything of consequence at all this year. Three very small tournaments are all she has won I believe? Maybe she has been "more consistent" in the grand slams, with three semifinals and one quarterfinals. But I think Maria would probably have rather had one win and three first round losses. As I said before, I am a HUGE Maria fan.........but I still just think the women's game is way too deep for one person to dominate, even like Serena was doing a few years ago. Yes, I am sure we all believe Maria will continue to improve, but aren't we just kidding ourselves if we think that all the other players won't continue to improve too?

Maria Croft
Sep 24th, 2005, 08:06 PM
Well, as "improved" as Maria supposedly is........she really has not won anything of consequence at all this year. Three very small tournaments are all she has won I believe? Maybe she has been "more consistent" in the grand slams, with three semifinals and one quarterfinals. But I think Maria would probably have rather had one win and three first round losses. As I said before, I am a HUGE Maria fan.........but I still just think the women's game is way too deep for one person to dominate, even like Serena was doing a few years ago. Yes, I am sure we all believe Maria will continue to improve, but aren't we just kidding ourselves if we think that all the other players won't continue to improve too?


:lol: she won her first Tier I and II this year and defended her Birmingham title, this has been a very good year, let's hope Maria is healthy next year so she can make up for what she missed this year so her next season can be even better

morningglory
Sep 24th, 2005, 11:58 PM
Let us mourn, another injury, another setback...... :sobbing: :sad:
2005 is NOT a good year for Maria, despite her fantastic efforts.... :sobbing:
Maybe if 2006 is like this I will be wishing for Maria to retire and become a supermodel or something.....

Doc
Sep 25th, 2005, 12:15 PM
Maria has had a good year, play-wise, but has been unlucky at when she has met the best players (always when on their tip-top form of the year, never when normal or down on their best), and with this injury.

I really hope she has better luck from now on.

Maria Croft
Sep 25th, 2005, 07:55 PM
Well I think this has been a fantastic year for any 18 year old, Maria has only gotten better, I sometimes wonder what people expect, that just because Maria won Wimbledon she is one of the greatest ever and will win almost everything? no, I doesn't work like that, Maria wasn't anywhere near the level you need to be to win a grand slam last year but she won it, that changed so much, and Maria got better, now she is playing at the top level, even won her first Tier I and II, and got the top of the world ranking, and we all know that Maria isn't even playing her best tennis, she is going to improve so much and she has already done so much in so little time, we should really look at this positive and say how incredible it was that Maria took that step higher and got better and did what she did after winning her first grand slam, let's not look at what she didn't do but at what she did achieve this year

Go Maria!

xan
Sep 25th, 2005, 09:26 PM
Well I think this has been a fantastic year for any 18 year old, Maria has only gotten better, I sometimes wonder what people expect, that just because Maria won Wimbledon she is one of the greatest ever and will win almost everything? no, I doesn't work like that, Maria wasn't anywhere near the level you need to be to win a grand slam last year but she won it, that changed so much, and Maria got better, now she is playing at the top level, even won her first Tier I and II, and got the top of the world ranking, and we all know that Maria isn't even playing her best tennis, she is going to improve so much and she has already done so much in so little time, we should really look at this positive and say how incredible it was that Maria took that step higher and got better and did what she did after winning her first grand slam, let's not look at what she didn't do but at what she did achieve this year

Go Maria!

Great post! :worship:

The most encouraging thing about Maria is how her game has improved, and how much she still can improve. I quite expect Maria to go on a "tear" when everything comes together, and win everything. probably not this year, now. But maybe sometime in 06 or 07