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andrewbroad
Oct 3rd, 2005, 02:38 PM
================================================== =======
SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS PRESENTED BY PORSCHE
(Los Angeles, California, USA; Decoturf, 8th-13th November)
================================================== =======
Standings as of 3rd October 2005
--------------------------------

UPPER CASE = already qualified
Sentence-Case = need to stay in top 8 to qualify
lower case = need to move into top 8

1. KIM CLIJSTERS (4404)
2. LINDSAY DAVENPORT (3826)
3. MARIA SHARAPOVA (3499)
4. Justine Henin-Hardenne (2935)
5. Mary Pierce (2788)
6. Amélie Mauresmo (2768)
7. Venus Williams (2628)
8. Patty Schnyder (2326)
9. nadia petrova (2146)
10. elena dementieva (2035)
11. serena williams (1851)
12. nathalie dechy (1638)
13. svetlana kuznetsova (1388)
14. anna-lena grönefeld (1358)
15. elena likhovtseva (1350)
16. daniela hantuchová (1256)
...
http://www.wtatour.com/rankings/porsche/singles.asp (http://www.wtatour.com/rankings/porsche/singles.asp)

Maria: "I am so excited to return to Los Angeles for the Championships to defend my title."

--
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/)

Andy.
Oct 3rd, 2005, 10:33 PM
Its great to see that she has qualified so early for the YEC, that takes the pressure off her to play when she is trying to rehabilitate from her injury.

Sharapower
Oct 4th, 2005, 02:13 PM
I would be really VERY VERY happy if she won again, to somehow save her 2005 season.

But honestly, I fear for that one.

Sweep
Oct 4th, 2005, 02:52 PM
It would certainly make up for a slamless year. If she doesn't win this - then at least she has held the number 1 ranking.

If she responds well to treatment then I think she has a very good chance of defending her title. :)

xan
Oct 5th, 2005, 01:13 AM
I would be really VERY VERY happy if she won again, to somehow save her 2005 season.

But honestly, I fear for that one.

I don't think Maria's season needs "saving". She's reached No 1 this year and played consistently well. Of course it could have been even better, but she's had the bad luck to always meet a different player on an islolated peak of form at each slam.

Winning the YEC would put a crown on her year though. I would be VERY happy if she can defend. But she's likely to be going in with less match practice than she'd like, due to the injury. I'm sure she'll give it a good shot though! Go Maria!

andrewbroad
Oct 6th, 2005, 01:13 AM
Last year, Maria pulled out of her Philadelphia semi-final with the same injury (right pectoral-muscle strain). She won the WTA Tour Championships after five days of recovery followed by a match a day for the next five days! :worship:

--
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/)

Dan23
Oct 6th, 2005, 01:22 AM
Last year, Maria pulled out of her Philadelphia semi-final with the same injury (right pectoral-muscle strain). She won the WTA Tour Championships after five days of recovery followed by a match a day for the next five days! :worship:Yea that was a huge effort to win the YEC last year....which may be why she needed a rest straight after :D :worship:

http://img362.imageshack.us/img362/973/650gn.jpg

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Oct 6th, 2005, 03:05 AM
Last year, Maria pulled out of her Philadelphia semi-final with the same injury (right pectoral-muscle strain). She won the WTA Tour Championships after five days of recovery followed by a match a day for the next five days! :worship:



Good thinking...:)

She lost to the momonster though..

Maria Croft
Oct 6th, 2005, 08:48 AM
Last year, Maria pulled out of her Philadelphia semi-final with the same injury (right pectoral-muscle strain). She won the WTA Tour Championships after five days of recovery followed by a match a day for the next five days! :worship:

--
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/)


I doubt that Maria had an injury in Philadelphia, I think she was just playing it save because she just had that injury, and since she won the YEC healthy I think that was a good decision

Sharapower
Oct 6th, 2005, 08:56 AM
I doubt that Maria had an injury in Philadelphia

How dare thou doubt Maria's words :p ?

Dan23
Oct 6th, 2005, 12:43 PM
Maria isnt one to whinge publicly about her injury problems...we hardly knew about her troubles at the AO this year until recently. The pec injury wouldnt have come and gone that quickly and a thread during the YEC pointed out (still one of the lowest/worst threads ive seen in the GM) Maria had other things against her too.

Doc
Oct 6th, 2005, 04:05 PM
Good thinking...:)

She lost to the momonster though..

That round robin match didn't count in the tournament, since both had already qualified for the Semis. In other words, they didn't go all out, since they needed to conserve their energies.

I don't really consider that a proper competitive match.

Maria Croft
Oct 6th, 2005, 11:12 PM
How dare thou doubt Maria's words :p ?


lol, what I mean is that she didn't take any changes going into the YEC for the first time, I would have done the same thing

andrewbroad
Nov 8th, 2005, 01:37 AM
================================================== =======
SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS PRESENTED BY PORSCHE
(Los Angeles, California, USA; Decoturf)
================================================== =======

Tournament-website: http://www.wtachamps.com/ (http://www.wtachamps.com/)

---------------
Final standings
---------------

1. KIM CLIJSTERS (4665 points)
2. LINDSAY DAVENPORT (4606)
3. MARIA SHARAPOVA (3597)
4. AMÉLIE MAURESMO (3313)
5. MARY PIERCE (3184)
6. justine henin-hardenne (2936) - not playing
7. PATTY SCHNYDER (2905)
8. NADIA PETROVA (2769)
9. ELENA DEMENTIEVA (2684)

----
Draw
----

Green Group {
* LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1]
* MARIA SHARAPOVA [3]
* PATTY SCHNYDER [6]
* NADIA PETROVA [7]
}

Black Group {
* KIM CLIJSTERS [2]
* AMÉLIE MAURESMO [4]
* MARY PIERCE [5]
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [8]
}

-----
Rules
-----

The round-robin stage will be played from Tuesday to Friday. Each player will play the other three players in her group, with the top two players from each group advancing to the semi-finals.

There are four possible scenarios for each group:

1. Player A finishes 3-0, Player B 2-1, Player C 1-2, Player D 0-3. Players A+B qualify for semis.

2. Players A+B finish 2-1, Players C+D 1-2. Players A+B qualify for semis.

3. Players A-C finish 2-1, Player D 0-3. The two players with the best percentages of sets won* qualify for semis.

4. Player A finishes 3-0, Players B-D 1-2. Player A qualifies for semis along with the player with the best percentage of sets won.*
---
* If "best percentage of sets won" doesn't break the tie, then it's determined by "best percentage of games won", and then (I think) by who beat whom.

In Saturday's semi-finals, the winner of the Green Group will play the runner-up of the Black Group, and the winner of the Black Group will play the runner-up of the Green Group. The final will be played on Sunday.

-------------
Maria preview
-------------

Maria comes into the Championships with a big question-mark over her fitness, having played just four tournaments since Wimbledon due to a right pectoral-muscle strain, and just recently a right-thumb sprain with which she pulled out of Philadelphia.

So my worst fears are that she will either pull out of the Championships, or finish the round-robin stage 0-3.

But I had these exact fears for Maria last year, when she pulled out of her Philadelphia semi-final with a right pectoral-muscle strain, with just five days to recover before her first match at the Championships.

But over the following five days, Maria astonished me by not only successfully negotiating the round-robin stage, but actually winning the Championships by repeating her Wimbledon victory over Serena Williams in the final!

It's a sign of a great champion to be able to rise to the occasion and triumph in such adversity.

But I'm more worried about Maria now than I was a year ago. This year she's been very consistent at beating everyone but the very best - but she hasn't beaten one of the very best since Venus Williams at Miami in March. Furthermore, her consistency has dipped since the US Open, with losses to Maria Kirilenko (albeit by retirement) and Dinara Safina.

And she has the pressure of defending the title, in a year in which she has won only three titles: Tokyo Pan Pacific Open (February, Tier I), Doha (February, Tier II) and Birmingham (June, Tier III).


* MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] v PATTY SCHNYDER [6]

Maria is scheduled to play this - her first round-robin match - on Tuesday night. Their head-to-head record is 1-1.

I was there when Maria beat Schnyder 6-1 6-7 6-3 in the semi-finals of Birmingham 2004. Maria struggled to produce her best form in windy conditions, and after failing to serve out the match at 6-1 *6-5 as Schnyder raised her game, Maria played a very nervous tiebreak. But Maria always manages to raise her game for a third set on grass.

Maria lost 3-6 6-3 6-1 to Schnyder in the semi-finals of Rome 2005 - winning that match would have made Maria the fourth-youngest #1 in the history of the WTA Rankings, and without being labelled a "slamless #1" either. But faced with a crafty opponent on clay which is Maria's worst surface, she panicked.

Schnyder recently reached the finals of Zurich (losing to Davenport) and Linz (losing to Petrova), but withdrew from Philadelphia with a left-hand contusion sustained in the semi-finals at Linz.


* MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] v NADIA PETROVA [7]

Maria has a 3-0 head-to-head over Petrova, but always with tough matches against the hard-hitting, muscular Muscovite: 6-2 2-6 7-5 at Los Angeles 2003, 7-6 6-3 at Wimbledon 2005, and 7-5 4-6 6-4 at the US Open 2005.

Not only has Maria lost her form since the last time they played, but Petrova recently won her first-ever WTA singles title at Linz (beating Schnyder in the final) - the major mental hurdle that the commentators said was holding her back when Maria beat her at Wimbledon.

But Petrova pulled out before her Philadelphia semi-final with a bruised right heel, so she too is an injury-doubt.


* MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] v LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1]

Maria won her first two matches against Davenport, and they were both huge occasions: Wimbledon 2004 semi-final (2-6 7-6 6-1) and Tokyo Pan Pacific Open 2005 final (6-1 3-6 7-6).

Maria staged one of the most amazing recoveries (as opposed to a collapse by the opponent) I've ever seen in tennis from 2-6 *1-3 down at Wimbledon 2004.

But in their third and most recent meeting, at Indian Wells 2005, Davenport did the unthinkable, and inflicted a scoreline that I still have to read about every time I visit General Messages (http://www.wtaworld.com/forumdisplay.php?f=12) (which seems to be infested with Maria-haters).

In contrast to Maria, Davenport has been in ominous form since the US Open, winning the titles at Bali (beating Francesca Schiavone 6-2 6-4 in the final), Filderstadt (Amélie Mauresmo 6-2 6-4) and Zurich (Patty Schnyder 7-6 6-3).

But Davenport pulled out of Philadelphia with 'flu, which means that all four players in the Green Group withdrew from Philadelphia!


Maria's draw could have been worse, with Kim Clijsters, Amélie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce all safely tucked away in the Black Group - although I wish I could swap Davenport for Elena Dementieva. But my first concern is for Maria's freedom from injuries.


WTA's tournament-preview:
http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_8372_rx.asp (http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_8372_rx.asp)
>>>
Sharapova, who consolidated her 2004 Wimbledon title with an exciting run here at the Tour Championships last year, could be the biggest obstacle this week for Davenport and Clijsters. The Russian teenager is the only player other than Davenport to have held the No.1 ranking this year, spending seven weeks at the top spot between August and October. She is also the only player to have reached the semi-finals at three of the tennis calendar's four biggest stages, the Grand Slams, featuring in the final four at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, falling to the eventual champion each time, twice in thrilling three-set matches. Sharapova is undoubtedly a big-match player, and there is no bigger time to shine than here.
<<<


---------------------
Tuesday order of play
---------------------

Start 18:00 PST (GMT Wednesday 02:00):
1. Black: MARY PIERCE [5] v KIM CLIJSTERS [2]

Not before 19:30 PST (GMT Wednesday 03:30):
2. Green: MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] v PATTY SCHNYDER [6]
3. Green: LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1] v NADIA PETROVA [7]

DAVAI MARIA!!

--
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/)

Maria Croft
Nov 8th, 2005, 09:24 AM
:yeah: Great report as always

Sweep
Nov 8th, 2005, 03:17 PM
Really good comprehensive preview there Andrew. Have to commend you for that.

andrewbroad
Nov 9th, 2005, 10:29 PM
================================================== =======
SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS PRESENTED BY PORSCHE
(Los Angeles, California, USA; Decoturf)
================================================== =======

On-court photos:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova (http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova)
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=91 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=91)
Search Getty Images for "sharapova" (Maria looks far more attractive on Getty than on Yahoo!)

Off-court photos:
http://www.wtatour.com/photogallery/ (http://www.wtatour.com/photogallery/)
http://picture.belga.be/cgi-bin/belgapict/belgapicture.sh?ACTIE=DETAIL&FILE=/galleries/131847.html (http://picture.belga.be/cgi-bin/belgapict/belgapicture.sh?ACTIE=DETAIL&FILE=/galleries/131847.html)

------------------------
Round robin: Green Group
------------------------

A big relief:
+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] d. PATTY SCHNYDER [6], 6-1 3-6 6-3

http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_8385_rx.asp (http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_8385_rx.asp):
>>>
Sharapova was impressive early in the match, blasting 13 winners to just seven unforced errors, and breaking Schnyder twice to clinch a 27-minute first set.

The crafty left-hander fought back in the second, frustrating Sharapova with her mix of topspin rally shots and aggressive forehands, breaking in the fourth game en route to taking the match to a third.

The Russian teenager was too tough when the chips were down, however, matching her 13 winners from the first set and gaining the decisive break in the second game en route to the victory <snip>
<<<

The match started at 20:17 PST; I followed live scores at http://www.wtachamps.com/ (http://www.wtachamps.com/) and commentary at http://www.eurosport.com/ (http://www.eurosport.com/)

Here are my comments as I wrote them at the time:


First Set
---------
SHARAPOV *@* *@* 6
SCHNYDER ___*___ 1

Maria serving 0-0: held to love.

An early feelgood factor there about Maria's YEC campaign! :)

Schnyder serving 0-1: 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.

Eurosport: "Sharapova has the early BREAK as Schnyder looks very nervous making three unforced errors"

Good! I hope Maria gets through this match quickly so I can get a decent number of hours' sleep tonight (in England it's now 4:21 am).

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

Eurosport: "The Russian mixes her serve very well giving no chance to Schnyder"

Schnyder serving 3-0: 30/0 -> 30/30, 40/30, held.

Maria just sowing a little seed of doubt in Schnyder's mind about what could happen from 30/0 up. There's no such thing as a comfortable lead in a game against Maria!

Eurosport: "Schnyder wins her first game of the match putting more spin to her serve"

Maria serving 3-1: 0/30 -> 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad M, Deuce #2, ad P (BP), Deuce #3, ad P (BP #2), Deuce #4, ad P (BP #3), Deuce #5, ad M, held.

Phew! A break there could have really changed the momentum to favour Schnyder.

Eurosport: "Sharapova saves three break points with forehand winners"

Schnyder serving 1-4: broken to love.

Eurosport: "Schnyder collapses on her first serve giving three points...SHARAPOVA HAS A DOUBLE BREAK"

Maria seems back to her ruthless best! :)

Maria serving for the first set at 5-1: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15 (2 SPs), 40/30, Maria won the first set 6-1 at 20:44 (27m).

Maria got 79% of first serves in in the first set, Schnyder only 62%.


Second Set
----------
SHARAPOV _*___* *_ 3
SCHNYDER * *@* * * 6

Schnyder serving 0-0: 15/15, 40/15, held.
Maria serving 0-1: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15 -> 40/40, ad M, held.
Schnyder serving 1-1: 30/0 -> 30/30, 40/30, held.

Eurosport: "Schnyder at the net, much more aggressive compared to the first set for a 2-1 lead...Things becomes to be tight...If Sharapova's first serve starts dropping then Schnyder could have a chance in this match"

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

Eurosport: "Sharapova in trouble facing a BREAK POINT as Schnyder takes the ball early to put the Russian under pressure... Sharapova makes a double-fault to give the break to Schnyder"

Every set is a new story in tennis - just because you won the first set 6-1, doesn't mean it's going to be an easy ride in the second - especially against a top-ten player. We saw that earlier today when Mary Pierce d. Kim Clijsters 6-1 4-6 7-6, and in Maria's last match - a 1-6 6-4 7-5 loss to Dinara Safina.

Perhaps this is how Maria's lack of matchplay comes into play.

Schnyder serving 3-1: 15/15, 15/40 (2 BPs) -> 40/40, ad P, held.

Two break-points go begging, and Maria is down *1-4 just as Schnyder was in the first set...

Eurosport: "Sharapova looks more and more sluggish on her movements"

Maria serving 1-4: held to love.

Eurosport: "Sharapova mixes her serve well enough to hold and come back in the scoreline"

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

Eurosport: "Schnyder saves two break points with volley drop shots for a 5-2 lead"

But at least Maria's digging in - unlike Schnyder in the first set.

Maria serving to stay in the second set at 2-5: held to love.
Schnyder serving for the second set at 5-3: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15 (2 SPs), 40/30, Schnyder won the second set 6-3 at 21:22.

Maria's serving well, but just couldn't buy a break of Schnyder's serve in that set.

Eurosport: "Sharapova is slightly slower than usual because she lacks competition...The Russian only played two matches since the U.S. Open"


Third Set
---------
SHARAPOV *@* * * * 6
SCHNYDER ___* * *_ 3

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

Eurosport: "Schnyder misses an easy drop shot for 30-30... Sharapova very aggressive on the return has a BREAK POINT... Sharapova breaks on her first attempt hitting a backhand winner...Schnyder lost focus after missing the drop shot"

At last! Maria breaks for the first time since 4-1* in the first set. And she's only been broken once in the match, so if she keeps serving well, she'll win this match.

Maria serving 2-0: held to love.
Schnyder serving 0-3: 0/30, 15/30, 40/30, held.

Eurosport: "Sharapova then missed a backhand on second serve which could have given her break point"

So another opportunity to break goes begging - but at least Maria already has a break, and is holding serve very reliably...

Maria serving 3-1: 0/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad M, held.

...almost had to eat my own words there! ;)

Schnyder serving 1-4: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad P, held.

Eurosport: "Sharapova once again giving away a break point with a forehand error"

Maria serving 4-2: 0/15, 15/15, 40/15 -> 40/40, ad M, held.

It's getting very scrappy now, but as Brad Gilbert would say: if you can just win that game to get you to 5, you're in business.

Schnyder serving to stay in the match at 2-5: 0/30 -> 30/30, 30/40 (MP), 40/40, ad M (MP #2), Deuce #2, ad P, held.

Story of the day - so many times has Maria threatened to break, but so few times she has converted.

Maria serving for the match at 5-3: 30/0 -> 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad M (MP #3), Maria won 6-1 3-6 6-3 at 22:05 (1h 48m).

Phew! I was horribly nervous at 30/40. After all Maria's failed chances to break, her victory was in great danger if she lost that point.


Maria quotes
------------

"My arm was good, my thumb was good, so far so good. It is never as easy to not play for a few weeks, and come out and play the top eight players.

"I knew it was going to be tough. She has had a really consistent year, and she is a very tricky player especially in the first round because there are not too many lefties out there.

"But for myself, it was up and down. I didn't really think I {played/would play?} my best tennis today. It felt a little awkward in some situations because I haven't been matche-tough lately. I'm absolutely exhausted.

"But I think it will get better. But as you know, this is the last tournament of the year, so I had better get it together quickly!"


Schnyder quotes
---------------

"It took me a while to get into the match. She started off hitting so fast and serving well. It is very hard to play the first shot good enough that she is not really dominating the point from the start. And it was just so tough to reach for her serve. She put a lot of slice on that first serve.

"But I think I played a great second set. And at the end, I even had a chance to break back and even make the big point which was - I should have made it.

"But I think she played great. And I have nothing really to worry about because I played okay, a great second set. But yeah. It was okay."

---------------------------------
Green Group standings after Day 1
---------------------------------

1. LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1]... 1-0 (sets: 2-0 = 100%)
2. MARIA SHARAPOVA [3]..... 1-0 (sets: 2-1 = 67%)
3. PATTY SCHNYDER [6]...... 0-1 (sets: 1-2 = 33%)
4. NADIA PETROVA [7]....... 0-1 (sets: 0-2 = 0%)

--
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/)

Dan23
Nov 10th, 2005, 12:08 AM
Nice one Andrew ;) thanks

"My arm was good, my thumb was good, so far so good":woohoo:

andrewbroad
Nov 10th, 2005, 07:42 PM
================================================== =======
SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS PRESENTED BY PORSCHE
(Los Angeles, California, USA; Decoturf)
================================================== =======
Maria quotes
------------

"I don't think I'm ready for it now. I think at some point I may be able to dominate, but honesty, I don't think I'm physically there yet and I don't want to go out there and say I am, when I'm really not.

"I grew a few centimetres this year, and I'm still getting used to my height. But in the future, dominating is something I would like, but I'm still not where I need to be physically or with my game.

"There were some matches this year where I lost a little concentration and focus, and thought I played some stupid points. But it's about being in those situations and learning from them, and although I've played a lot of matches already in my life, I'm still pretty young and have a lot to learn. But I am learning and I think you can see that.

"There are times when I do get frustrated, but I don't let the frustrations take over me. I try to be positive. There have been a lot of ups and downs this year, especially with the injuries where it's been one thing after another. But I've always continued to be tough, because all of my life I've fought for everything that I've had."

---------------------------------
Green Group standings after Day 2
---------------------------------

1. LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1]... 2-0 (sets: 4-0 = 100%)
2. MARIA SHARAPOVA [3]..... 1-0 (sets: 2-1 = 67%)
3. NADIA PETROVA [7]....... 0-1 (sets: 0-2 = 0%)
4. PATTY SCHNYDER [6]...... 0-2 (sets: 1-4 = 20%)

----------------------
Thursday order of play
----------------------

Start 18:00 PST (GMT Friday 02:00):
1. Green: PATTY SCHNYDER [6] v NADIA PETROVA [7]

Not before 19:30 PST (GMT Friday 03:30):
2. Green: MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] v LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1]
3. Black: ELENA DEMENTIEVA [8] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [4]

Davenport: "Outdoors on a slower court on a windy day doesn't really add up to the same conditions here at STAPLES. She is a great player. I think she plays well indoors and on fast courts, and this court is definitely playing quicker than in years past. The points will probably be fairly short out there, and whoever is really more consistent and aggressive and controlling the points will probably come out on top."

DAVAI MARIA!!

--
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/)

andrewbroad
Nov 11th, 2005, 11:21 PM
================================================== =======
SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS PRESENTED BY PORSCHE
(Los Angeles, California, USA; Decoturf)
================================================== =======
Photos
------

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

More photos, and video of the last five points v Davenport:
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=93 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=93)

------------------------
Round robin: Green Group
------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] d. LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1], 6-3 5-7 6-4

When I saw the draw, I thought Maria's matches against Patty Schnyder and Nadia Petrova were the must-win matches, and that this was her "give it your best shot" match, but to come back from her injuries and beat the world number one... wow!

Admittedly Davenport didn't have the same motivation to win this match, as her place in the semi-finals was already secure, having won both her previous matches while this was only Maria's second match. But Davenport has her pride, and made Maria work very hard for the win:

1. Maria started brilliantly, racing to a 6-3 4-2* lead, with a break-point that would have left her serving for the match at 6-3 5-2 - but Davenport saved it.

2. Davenport recovered from 15/30 on her serve at 3-5, and broke back when Maria served for the match at 6-3 5-4.

3. Maria got nervous and lost the second set 5-7.

4. Maria had to save two break-points at 6-3 5-7 *1-2 (15/40).

5. Maria broke to 30 for a *3-2 lead.

6. Maria had match-point as Davenport served at 3-5 (30/40).

7. Maria served for the match at 5-4, missing her second match-point at 40/30, saving a break-point, and converting her third match-point.

Maria now has a 3-1 head-to-head record against Davenport.


The match started at 20:18 PST; I followed live scores at http://www.wtachamps.com/ (http://www.wtachamps.com/) and commentary at http://www.eurosport.com/ (http://www.eurosport.com/)

Here are my comments as I wrote them at the time:


First Set
---------
SHARAPOVA * * * *@* 6
DAVENPORT _* * *___ 3

Sharapova serving 0-0: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 40/30, held.

At least Maria's avoided the double bagel this time! :o

Eurosport: "Great serving from Sharapova to open the first set scoreboard"

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

Eurosport: "Davenport saves herself from trouble with two big serves at DEUCE"

Sharapova serving 1-1: 15/0, 15/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad M, Deuce #2, ad M, Deuce #3, ad M, held.

Well, they say it's always tough to hold serve after missing break-points in the previous game - thank goodness Maria pulled through there! (after FIVE deuces according to Eurosport).

Maria has already hit 9 winners (including 3 aces) to 1 from Davenport! :)

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

Eurosport: "Davenport fires three bullets to level the scoreline"

Sharapova serving 2-2: 0/30, 40/30, held.

Well recovered! Maria may be desperately short of match-play, but the early signs are that she's at least going to make this a match worthy of two top-3 players, if not actually win it.

Eurosport: "Sharapova [comes] back from 0-30 with huge hitting! Davenport missed a backhand which could have given her break point"

Davenport serving 2-3: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, held.
Sharapova serving 3-3: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, held.
Davenport serving 3-4: 0/40 (3 BPs), 15/40, 30/40, broken.

Excellent! When you're serving first in a set, there's no better time to break than 4-3*! :)

Eurosport: "Sharapova very aggressive tonight, hits two backhand returns for 0-30... Davenport hits her first double-fault giving SHARAPOVA 3 BREAK POINTS... Davenport saves 2 of them with big serves... Sharapova hits third backhand return TO BREAK for a 5-3 lead"

Sharapova serving for the first set at 5-3: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30 (SP), Maria won the first set 6-3 at 20:51 (33m).

Eurosport: "Sharapova fires her 6th ace of the match for SET POINT... Sharapova played best set in a long time with big serves and a good return on her first opportunity"

Wow - Maria must be on red-hot form at the moment! :D She has 19 winners to Davenport's 10 in the first set, and one double fault to 4 from Davenport.

Davenport hasn't lost since the US Open, winning three tournaments in a row, and winning her first two matches here without dropping a set.


Second Set
----------
SHARAPOVA _*@* * *____ 5
DAVENPORT *___* * *@*@ 7

Davenport serving 0-0: 40/0, 40/30, held.
Sharapova serving 0-1: 0/15, 40/15 -> 40/40, ad M, Deuce #2, ad M, held.

Eurosport: "Sharapova saves a break point with a backhand error from Davenport to level the scoreboard...The American is not as sharp as she could be"

An important hold for Maria, having been made to struggle from 40/15 up. I had a horrible vision of a 3-6 6-0 6-0 loss, and the Maria-haters on General Messages (http://www.wtaworld.com/forumdisplay.php?f=12) talking about two double bagels for months to come! :o

Davenport serving 1-1: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.

WOO-HOO!!! A set and a break!

Eurosport: "Davenport's serve has gone off and faces troubles ahead at 30-30!!! Sharapova hits a backhand winner for FIRST BREAK POINT OF THE SET... Sharapova BREAKS after a huge return on second serve

"Davenport is already qualified for the semis so isn't as sharp as she could be, less focus...Sharapova on the other hand is very consistent on serve... Don't count Davenport out of the match just yet because she will put on a fight in front of her homefans"

Sharapova serving 2-1: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs) -> 40/40, ad D (BP #3), Deuce #2, ad M, held.

Phew! It's never a break until you've held your own serve, but Maria's so good at fighting back when she's down in a game - particularly on her own serve which she has a man's attitude to holding.

Eurosport: "Sharapova confirms her break despite three Deuces...Davenport returned better in that game but it wasn't enough to stop the Russian's serve"

Davenport serving 1-3: 40/0, 40/30, held.
Sharapova serving 3-2: 0/15, 40/15, held.

Eurosport: "Sharapova holds to 15 for a 4-2 lead with Davenport missing two forehands"

Davenport serving 2-4: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad D, held.

A chance missed for a 6-3 6-2 victory - that break-point was surely a virtual match-point. But brilliantly though Maria has played so far, it ain't over till the fat lady sings - and Davenport is much leaner nowadays than she was a decade ago! ;)

Sharapova serving 4-3: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15 -> 40/40, ad M, held.

Almost every time Maria has faced deuce on her serve in this match, she's won the point. That was a big game to win after 40/15 became deuce - against a player of Davenport's calibre, Maria's victory would have been in danger if she'd dropped serve for 4-4.

Eurosport: "Davenport hits back at Sharapova with three backhand returns for DEUCE... Sharapova fires her 7th ace for ADVANTAGE... Big serve from Sharapova at a key moment for 5-3"

Davenport serving to stay in the match at 3-5: 15/0, 15/30, 40/30, held.
Sharapova serving for the match at 5-4: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad D (BP #2), broken.

Oh no! Maria hadn't been broken all match, but serving for it is another matter - especially after the Australian Open 2005 semi-final where Maria served for the match at 6-2 5-4 against Serena Williams... and lost the match.

Eurosport: "Davenport hits a forehand error to level the game at 15-15... Huge forehand return from Davenport for 15-30... Davenport misses a forehand for 30-30, Big forehand return again from Davenport who hits harder and harder...Davenport has a BREAK POINT... Great Serve from Sharapova for DEUCE... Davenport makes a huge display of forehands for her SECOND BREAK POINT... A big forehand return gives DAVENPORT first BREAK of the match

"Sharapova a little tentative on her first serves for once... Could that be a major switch?"

Davenport serving 5-5: 30/0, 40/15, held.

Eurosport: "Sharapova misses few returns to give Davenport a 6-5 lead...The American is leading for the first time in the match"

Maria serving to stay in the second set at 5-6: 0/40 (3 BPs), Davenport won the second set 7-5 at 21:46.

Eurosport: "Sharapova has got a little bit tight!! Huge return from Davenport for 0-15... Second huge serve [return?] but this time on second serve for 0-30... Third successive return for 3 SET POINTS... Davenport does it!!!

"Sharapova played a perfect match until 5-4 when she made bad mistakes to give Davenport break points"

In the second set, Maria had a W:UE ratio of 15:17, Davenport 7:13.

Maria will need all of her famous mental strength to recover from this nerve-shredding disappointment - not to mention plenty of gas left in the tank in physical terms.


Third Set
---------
SHARAPOVA _* *@* * * 6
DAVENPORT * *___* *_ 4

Matthew Cronin/Reuters: "In the third set, the 18-year-old regained the spring in her step, and took it to the 29-year-old, breaking Davenport to 3-2 on a sharply-angled forehand crosscourt."

Davenport serving 0-0: 30/0, 30/15, held.

Eurosport: "Davenport hits an ace for a 1-0 lead and her 4th consecutive game"

Sharapova serving 0-1: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, held.
Davenport serving 1-1: held to love.

According to http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=203563&page=23 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=203563&page=23) Maria looks exhausted now.

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

A very important hold for Maria - really staring defeat in the face at 15/40.

Eurosport: "Sharapova hits a backhand error for 15-30... A second massive error gives DAVENPORT 2 BREAK POINTS... Sharapova saves the first one with a forehand winner... Davenport misses her chance as Sharapova's shot was short...Back to DEUCE... Great serve from Sharapova for ADVANTAGE... Sharapova closes the game with an ace for 2-2...The Russian saved two break points ...Davenport might regret those missed opportunities"

Davenport serving 2-2: 0/15, 15/15, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.

Eurosport: "Huge backhand from Sharapova for 15-30 on Davenport's serve... Davenport hits her 6th ace for 30-30... Davenport misses her forehand by a wisker giving Sharapova A BREAK POINT... Glorious shot [forehand winner] from Sharapova who found an amazing angle for the BREAK and a 3-2 lead"

C'mon Maria - and this time, DON'T CHOKE!!

Sharapova serving 3-2: held to love.

That's more like it!

Davenport serving 2-4: 15/0, 15/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad D, held.

Eurosport: "Two more huge returns from Sharapova for 2 break points... Sharapova misses her chance with a big mistake on the backhand side... Davenport hits a winner for ADVANTAGE... Davenport saves herself from lots of troubles saving 2 BREAK POINTS... Sharapova made a bad mistake which put Davenport back at deuce"

This is exactly what happened in the second set - Maria with a virtual match-point at 4-2* (40/30*), but unable to secure the double break.

Sharapova serving 4-3: 40/0, 40/15, held.
Davenport serving to stay in the match at 3-5: 30/0 -> 30/30, 30/40 (MP), 40/40, ad D, Deuce #2, ad D, held.

Eurosport: "SHARAPOVA is 2 points away from the match after a backhand winner... Huge returns from SHARAPOVA FOR MATCH POINT... Davenport saves match point with a forehand winner after a great serve... Davenport hits a winning serve for ADVANTAGE... 7th ace from Davenport for ADVANTAGE... Davenport fires a forehand winner to come back at 4-5"

The third set has followed the exact same sequence of games as the second set so far. Will Maria choke again? :scared:

Sharapova serving for the match at 5-4: 30/0 -> 30/30, 40/30 (MP #2), 40/40, ad D (BP), Deuce #2, ad M (MP #3), Maria won 6-3 5-7 6-4 at 22:26 (2h 08m).

Eurosport: "Davenport misses an easy forehand...15-0 to Sharapova... Sharapova hits a great second serve for 30-0... Huge forehand return from Davenport...30-15... Second mighty return from Davenport for 30-30... Great backhand from Sharapova FOR SECOND MATCH POINT... Sharapova misses on the backhand side...DEUCE... Great return from Davenport for BREAK POINT... Big rally won by Sharapova on a forehand winner...DEUCE... Forehand winner Sharapova who has a THIRD MATCH POINT... GAME, SET AND MATCH SHARAPOVA who finishes on an Ace"

Wow, Maria really put me through the range of emotions in the last few minutes - from horrible nerves to great relief and radiant joy!


Beth Harris, AP Sports Writer:
>>>
Davenport walked off the court, shook the umpire's hand and had her back turned by the time Sharapova caught up to her on the sideline for a halfhearted handshake.

"She is a little bit dramatic when she wins, and it takes her a while to get to the net," Davenport said.
<<<

Statistics
----------

Maria had a final W:UE ratio of 39:31 (Davenport 36:31), including 13 aces (Davenport 7). Davenport served 9 double faults (Maria 4). Maria won by 106 points to 101.

Maria got 72% of first serves in, winning 68% of the points when she did so, and 48% on second serve (Davenport 56%, 79%, 40%).

Maria broke 3 times from 10 break-points, Davenport twice from 9 BPs.

Full statistics: http://wtachamps.ids-emedia.com/stats/WS108.html (http://wtachamps.ids-emedia.com/stats/WS108.html)


Maria quotes
------------

"I'm so excited I could go out and play a match, and not have to think about my injury. Today was the first match where I actually served big and could serve for the whole three sets.

"I played really, really solid tennis. I played smart tennis and I took out her strengths.

"I'm so excited to win and to be able to close it out after having a letdown in the second set.

"She played some great points. I have been in these situations in a while, and you get a little bit tight. But she was just steamrolling her shots, and there was not too much I can do.

"I love playing the third set. It's the most exciting part of the game.

"I'm thrilled that I could come back to beat the No. 1 player in the world, who has been playing such amazing tennis this year. It's a great achievement.

"It's just exciting to beat someone that's playing such amazing tennis, especially after having a tough few months. I'm very, very happy about it.

[Re. the double bagel] "I didn't even think about that in my mind anymore. It was a joke."

"I feel comfortable with the pace that I'm hitting and with the way I'm moving.

"I didn't consider pulling out. I want to play really bad."

I want Maria to play really good! ;)


Davenport quotes
----------------

"It was a bizarre feeling walking out, because I knew before the match I was in [the semi-finals]. It was hard. I don't know if that's why I was flat in the beginning. There was really nothing for me to play for. There are no ranking-points, no extra money, nothing like that. That's a shame. When I got close to losing, finally the pride hit me and I got going.

"So you know, I didn't start the match playing well, but I was able to turn that around and start to play better and played well at the end of the second set. And even the third set I played okay.

"It just came down to the one break. I had my chance to go for the break in the third, and to get back even in the last game, and I just didn't win those couple of points today. I was getting a little bit tired, and I didn't feel my serve was as accurate."


With Kim Clijsters now unable to qualify from the Black Group, Davenport is guaranteed to finish 2005 as world number one, as she did in 1998, 2001 and 2004.

"It's unbelievable to do it four times. I wouldn't have thought last year that I have a chance to do that again, but it's great to do it for a fourth time.

"It's really, really a bizarre feeling to put your fate in other people's hands so to speak. It is hard to really cheer for someone else to lock something up for me."

---------------------------------
Green Group standings after Day 3
---------------------------------

1. MARIA SHARAPOVA [3]..... 2-0 (sets: 4-2 = 67%)
2. LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1]... 2-1 (sets: 5-2 = 71%)
3. PATTY SCHNYDER [6]...... 1-2 (sets: 3-5 = 38%)
4. NADIA PETROVA [7]....... 0-2 (sets: 1-4 = 20%)

--------------------
Friday order of play
--------------------

Start 18:30 PST (GMT Saturday 02:30):
1. Black: MARY PIERCE [5] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [4]

Not before 20:00 PST (GMT Saturday 04:00):
2. Green: MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] v NADIA PETROVA [7]
3. Black: ELENA DEMENTIEVA [8] v KIM CLIJSTERS [2]

Petrova will be hungry for victory tonight as she won't want to finish 0-3, or go 0-4 in her head-to-head against Maria. But Maria will be wise to conserve her energy as she has already qualified for the semi-finals - two sets either way will be best.

All four semi-finalists are already decided: Maria and Davenport from the Green Group, Pierce and Mauresmo from the Black Group. Tonight's matches will determine who finishes top of each group, and hence who plays whom in the semi-finals.

Thus Maria will play either Pierce or Mauresmo on Saturday night. It looks like a very tough match either way; I would prefer Maria to play Mauresmo in the semi-finals so that we could have a mouthwatering Maria v Mary final.

DAVAI MARIA!!

--
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/)

andrewbroad
Nov 12th, 2005, 05:25 PM
================================================== =======
SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS PRESENTED BY PORSCHE
(Los Angeles, California, USA; Decoturf)
================================================== =======

Photos:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova (http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova)
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=93 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=93)
Search Getty Images for "sharapova"

------------------------
Round robin: Green Group
------------------------

A strategic sacrifice:
- MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] lt. NADIA PETROVA [7], 6-1 6-2

Maria had already secured her place in the semi-finals going into this match, and had played two tough three-setters. She had probably 16 hours to recover from this match before she has to play her semi-final, so why would she wear herself out by making more than 10% effort?

Whereas Petrova was already out of the running for the semi-finals, but had a strong motive to put one over on Maria and avoid going 0-3.


The match started at 20:48 PST; I followed live scores at http://www.wtachamps.com/ (http://www.wtachamps.com/) and commentary at http://www.eurosport.com/ (http://www.eurosport.com/)

Here are my notes as I wrote them at the time:


First Set
---------
SHARA ___*___ 1
PETRO *@* *@* 6

Petrova serving 0-0: 0/30, 15/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad P, held.

Petrova saved the break-point with a service-winner.

Maria serving 0-1: 0/30, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.

Eurosport: "Petrova BREAKS Sharapova with great returns and 2 volley approaches for a 2-0 lead"

Is Maria letting this match go, to conserve her energy for the semi-finals?

Petrova serving 2-0: 15/0, 30/15, 30/30, held.
Maria serving 0-3: 0/30 -> 30/30, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad M, held.

Good. Maria might not want to waste her valuable energy fighting for a match which is virtually meaningless to her, but I didn't want her to be whitewashed! :o And it's good to practise fighting off break-points.

Petrova serving 3-1: 15/0, 15/40 (2 BPs) -> 40/40, ad P, held.
Maria serving 1-4: broken to love.

Petrova serving for the first set at 5-1: 30/0 -> 30/30, 40/30 (SP), Petrova won the first set 6-1 at 21:14 (26m).

Looks like Maria just wanted to avoid the double bagel and get out of here with a glorified practice-session. I just hope she's able to detach herself emotionally from the embarrassing scoreline for which she is heading.

Eurosport: "Sharapova plays a no match making lots of errors while Petrova is playing her match with very few mistakes"


Second Set
----------
SHARA __* *___ 2
PETRO @* * *@* 6

Maria serving 0-0: 0/30 -> 40/30, 40/40, ad P (BP), broken.

Disappointing that Maria didn't win that game after fighting back from 0/30. Evidently she doesn't share Sesil Karatantcheva's masochistic love of being bagelsticked! ;)

Petrova serving 1-0: held to love.
Maria serving 0-2: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, 40/30, held.
Petrova serving 2-1: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 40/30, held.
Maria serving 1-3: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30, 40/40, ad M, held.

Eurosport: "Sharapova played best game of the match so far"

Maria is fighting quite a bit now. I wonder what scoreline she has decided to lose by? ;) I bet she has no intention of taking this to a third set.

Petrova serving 3-2: 15/0, 15/15, 40/15, held.
Maria serving 2-4: 0/15, 30/15, 30/40 (BP), broken.

Eurosport: "Sharapova plays four unforced errors to give Petrova the BREAK"

It might be worth Maria fighting to get one of the breaks back here, just to prove that she can, and so as not to shock people who don't appreciate the structure of this tournament by losing 6-1 6-2.

In the days when I was addicted to Codemasters' Pro Tennis Simulator for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, I could beat the computer so easily that I would regularly fall to 0-6 0-6 0-5 (0/40) on purpose, and then try to fight back and win - usually successfully! :)

Petrova serving for the match at 5-2: 15/0, 30/15, 30/30, 40/30 (MP), Petrova won 6-1 6-2 at 21:48 (60m).


Statistics
----------

Maria had a W:UE ratio of 11:17, Petrova 17:10.

Petrova broke 4 times from 5 break-points, while Maria squandered all 3 break-points she had.

Maria's serve was soft, with an average of 98mph (fastest 106mph). Petrova's was 111mph on average (fastest 117mph).

Maria's serve wasn't all that fast in her earlier matches either (average 102mph v Schnyder, 101mph v Davenport). At Wimbledon 2004 (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/wimbledon2004.html), Maria was serving up to 114mph, with an average of 106mph in the final. I blame the pectoral-muscle strain for this loss of speed.

But Maria's serve isn't all about speed: it's about placement, variety, finding good serves when she's break-point down, and the most beautiful service-action in the women's game or the men's.


Maria quotes
------------

"I didn't expect myself to play great tennis. It is hard to recover from a tough match in such a short period of time. But she served great. I don't think she gave me a lot of opportunities on her serve to get back in the points even when I had chances to.

"It's hard to get going when your body is not there, your mind is on the pillow. That's the kind of feeling I had throughout the match. This is the kind of tournament where all the soldiers are down, and it's just whoever can get up [will win].

"I can't sleep. Throughout the whole day I'm like a walking zombie."

[Re. defending her title] "It would mean a lot but I don't expect myself to play great tennis after not playing for a while. This is the last tournament of the year and I'd love to win it."

Maria's comments worry me far more than the scoreline. It seems that she is more tired than I imagined.

---------------------------
Green Group final standings
---------------------------

1. MARIA SHARAPOVA [3]..... 2-1 (sets: 4-4 = 50%)
2. LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1]... 2-1 (sets: 5-2 = 71%)
3. PATTY SCHNYDER [6]...... 1-2 (sets: 3-5 = 38%)
4. NADIA PETROVA [7]....... 1-2 (sets: 3-4 = 43%)

It seems that percentage of sets won is only used for resolving three-way clashes, while two-way clashes are resolved by who beat whom. Thus Maria's win over Davenport guaranteed that she would finish top of the Green Group - contrary to what www.wtatour.com (http://www.wtatour.com) said at the time!

---------------
Semi-final draw
---------------

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [4]
* MARY PIERCE [5] v LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1]

Maria on Mauresmo: "She is a complete player. I don't think there is one big weakness in her game. She is very consistent, mixes it up, has a pretty good serve. I have to be ready for a tough match and be mentally prepared for it."

Mauresmo on Maria: "Like today, it didn't count for qualifying. So we will see how it goes. She is obviously playing well. I watched a little bit of her match yesterday against Lindsay, and just as usual, very tough on the serve and on the baseline. We will see how it goes."

----------------------
Saturday order of play
----------------------

Start 12:30 PST (GMT 20:30):
1. sf: MARY PIERCE [5] v LINDSAY DAVENPORT [1]
2. sf: MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [4]

Not before 16:00 PST (GMT 24:00):
3. Doubles sf: Vera Zvonarëva/Elena Likhovtseva v CARA BLACK/RENNAE STUBBS [1]
4. Doubles sf: Conchita Martínez/Virginia Ruano Pascual v LISA RAYMOND/SAMANTHA STOSUR [2]

DAVAI MARIA!!

--
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/)

andrewbroad
Nov 14th, 2005, 10:32 PM
================================================== =======
SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS PRESENTED BY PORSCHE
(Los Angeles, California, USA; Decoturf)
================================================== =======

Photos:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova (http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova)
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=94 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=94)
Search Getty Images for "sharapova"

WTA player party:
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=204164 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=204164) (photos)
http://makeashorterlink.com/?S3A32572C (http://makeashorterlink.com/?S3A32572C) (photos)
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=204307 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=204307) (video)

Maria interview after beating Lindsay Davenport:
http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=6654047 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=6654047)

Maria's blog:
http://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/sharapova/ (http://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/sharapova/)

----------
Semi-final
----------

- MARIA SHARAPOVA [3] lt. AMÉLIE MAURESMO [4], 7-6 (7/1) 6-3

Maria led 5-2* courtesy of an early break, and served for the first set at 5-3 (30/0). But she failed, then played a dreadful tiebreak to lose the first set, and capitulated to 1-5* in the second. She did thwart Mauresmo's first attempt to serve out the match, and saved a match-point on her own serve at 2-5, but it was too little too late.
I was going to write about Maria's stamina being a weakness, as she seemed to be exhausted after just three matches following a three-week layoff, but then I read that she suffered a recurrence of her right pectoral-muscle strain. :sad:

It's saddening and worrying that this injury has reared its ugly head several times since it first appeared in October 2004. I hope this is not going to be an ongoing problem throughout Maria's career.

I hope she does everything she can to get rid of it during the off-season, including cancelling the Maria Sharapova Japan Tour (21st-23rd December) unless she's absolutely certain that it won't reaggravate this injury. Even skipping the Australian Open 2006 may be a wise move if it allows her pectoral muscle to heal completely.


http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_8403_rx.asp (http://www.wtatour.com/newsroom/stories/NewsArticle_8403_rx.asp)
>>>
Sharapova drew first blood in the second game of the match, coming back from a 40-0 deficit to break Mauresmo en route to a commanding 3-0 lead. The two players held until the ninth game, when Mauresmo broke back, and in the tie-break the Frenchwoman watched as a total of five errant forehands sailed past her, eventually clinching the 55-minute first set on a Sharapova double fault.

Things began spiraling down for the Russian teenager in the second set, as she misfired on a total of 19 shots, including a wild backhand on match-point to close out the one-hour, 34-minute duel.
<<<

Matthew Cronin/Reuters via http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/ (http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/)
>>>
Sharapova appeared to be on her way to her second straight final in the first set when she raced out to a 5-2 lead, but the veteran Frenchwoman began to mix up her attack and confused the 18-year-old, who couldn't contend with Mauresmo's high bouncing topspin or deft low slices.

Towards the end of the set, Sharapova's right pectoral muscle injury began acting up again and she was never the same after that.

In the tiebreaker, the Russian's forehand completely broke down as she committed five forehand unforced errors. Sharapova double-faulted to lose the tiebreaker 7-1.

While the Russian briefly made a charge in the second set, Mauresmo dictated play while Sharapova flailed on her groundstrokes.

She won the contest when Sharapova erred on an easy backhand.
<<<

The match started at 14:48 PST; I followed live scores at http://www.wtachamps.com/ (http://www.wtachamps.com/) and commentary at http://www.eurosport.com/ (http://www.eurosport.com/)

Here are my notes as I wrote them at the time (please note that I didn't find out about Maria's injury until after the match):


First Set
---------
SHARAPOV *@* * *___*_ 6(1)
MAURESMO ___* * *@* * 7(7)

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

Eurosport: "And on an ace that Mauresmo thought was wide, Sharapova takes her serve."

Mauresmo serving 0-1: 40/0 -> 40/40, ad MS (BP), broken.

Eurosport: "And she is given the break on a Amélie Mauresmo double-fault."

Excellent! Mauresmo is a bottler, so an attack of Alexandra Stevenson's syndrome (dropping serve from 40/0 up) is a real boost to my confidence in Maria's chances.

There's a massive gulf in mental strength between these two players.

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

Eurosport: "Maria Sharapova goes 30-15 on her serve after a brilliant point, where she is all over the court and gets an easy forehand winner in the end... 30-30 brilliant Mauresmo backhand on the line... Unreturnable 40-30... 3-0 Sharapova."

Mauresmo serving 0-3: 40/0, 40/15, held.

40/0 is a dangerous score for Mauresmo!

Eurosport: "Brilliant point and Mauresmo is up 40-Love."

Maria serving 3-1: held to love.

Maria has 7 winners to Mauresmo's 2. Mauresmo has served two double faults so far.

Mauresmo serving 1-4: held to love.
Maria serving 4-2: 0/30 -> 40/30, held.

Good recovery from Maria. She has a man's attitude to holding serve - at least she doesn't look like a man! ;)

Mauresmo serving to stay in the first set at 2-5: 30/0, 30/15, 40/15, held.
Maria serving for the first set at 5-3: 30/0 -> 30/40 (BP), broken.

Just when I was thinking how reliable Maria was at holding serve these Championships, she drops it from 5-3 30/0 up. That's the thing about playing talented chokers such as Mauresmo - they're dangerous when they're behind.

Mauresmo serving to stay in the first set at 4-5: 0/15, 40/15, held.
Maria serving 5-5: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad MS, held.

Eurosport: "Mauresmo with brilliant net play nails the drop shot to setup a chance to break."

Mauresmo serving to stay in the first set at 5-6: held to love.
6-6 tiebreak: Maria *1/0, 1/1*; Mauresmo 6/1* (5 SPs), Mauresmo won the first set 7-6 (7/1) at 15:44 (56m).

Eurosport: "Mauresmo up 5-1 as Sharapova just keeps committing errors, she is throwing the match away."

Alas, that could well be a mortal blow to Maria's chances of retaining her title. Nothing drains you like losing a first set on a tiebreak after you've had a big lead in the set (I know this from personal experience), and Maria stated yesterday that she was exhausted.

Maria of early 2004 had an unfortunate pattern of capitulating in the second set after losing a long first set (e.g. 7-6 6-1). I would hope that the Maria of 2005 - no matter how tired and lacking in match-play - would be determined not to let that happen now.


Second Set
----------
SHARAPOV @_____@*_ 3
MAURESMO _@*@*@__* 6

Mauresmo serving 0-0: 0/30, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), 30/40, broken.
Maria serving 1-0: 15/0, 15/30, 30/30, 30/40 (BP), broken.

Let's hope this is not just a dying kick from Maria.

Mauresmo serving 1-1: held to love.
Maria serving 1-2: 15/0, 15/15, 30/15, 30/40 (BP), 40/40, ad AM (BP #2), broken.

It's an awfully long way back now for poor, tired Maria. :sad:

Mauresmo serving 3-1: held to love.
Maria serving 1-4: 0/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.

Eurosport: "And Sharapova just looked so tired as the rally went on, she goes down 5-1."

Mauresmo serving for the match at 5-1: 0/15, 15/30, 15/40 (2 BPs), broken.

Mauresmo is a choker, but can Maria - as knackered as she is - really come all the way back from here? She's lost her last three service-games.

Maria serving to stay in the match at 2-5: 0/15, 15/15, 40/15, 40/30, 40/40, ad MS, Deuce #2, ad MS, Deuce #3, ad AM (MP), Deuce #4, ad MS, held.

Eurosport: "Winner by Mauresmo gets her to 40-30... And MAURESMO GETS TO DEUCE!!!! But she's into the net for advantage Sharapova... Mauresmo has match-point for an all-French final now! And Sharapova gets back to DEUCE after a brilliant first serve and a back-handed smash... And she takes the advantage again on a brilliant backhand... AND SHARAPOVA SURVIVES TO SEE ANOTHER GAME!!!!"

Mauresmo serving for the match at 5-3: 0/30 -> 40/30 (MP #2), Mauresmo won 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 at 16:23 (1h 35m).


Statistics
----------

Maria had a W:UE ratio of 20:39, Mauresmo 13:17. It's certainly a sub-par Maria that makes almost two unforced errors to every winner.

Maria got 71% of first serves in, winning 65% of the points when she did so, and 19% on second serve (Mauresmo 60%, 81%, 54%).

The big difference from the first set to the second was the percentage of points Maria won on her first serve (first set 79%, second set 50%). This implies that Maria's first serve went soft in the second set, as it does when her pectoral muscle flares up.

They both served 2 aces and 4 double faults.

Mauresmo is known as a volley-player while Maria is a power-baseliner, but while Mauresmo won 12 of 16 points at the net, Maria was very similar, winning 11 of 15.

Maria broke 3 times from 4 break-points, Mauresmo 4 times from 7.
Mauresmo beat Maria by 77 points to 56.


Semi-finals have been Maria's unlucky round this year. In 15 tournaments she has won three titles and lost one final, seven semi-finals and four quarter-finals.


Maria quotes
------------

"It is tough when you are 100% at the beginning of the tournament, and you feel like everything is all right. You play a great match, and afterwards, your arm is not feeling great. And when you are not physically 100%, it is really difficult to play — especially when the same injury keeps coming back.

"I was pretty much in control in the first set, but one or two points, just let it slip away. The tiebreak was just a big giveaway, and from then on, it was kind of downhill.

"My arm is still not one hundred percent. Especially in the second set, I couldn't serve very big. And I couldn't hit a really big forehand. So that obviously is not very good when you are playing a top player in the semis.

"Without the injury, I felt like I was in control, and that still gives me a lot of confidence for next year.

"I am still working on a lot of things to become a complete player. But I think I have learned a lot. Looking back, I think to become number one for as many weeks as I was was an amazing achievement."


Mauresmo quotes
---------------

"At 5-2 down, I just felt I could still come back into the first set because up to that game, I really felt I wasn't too far from breaking her. I only had one bad game on my own service.

"It really was a different match after that happened. So the tiebreak is an example of really how the match turned around at that point.

"I didn't know she got injured. Maybe that's why she didn't manage to put her first serves in on big moments."


====================
WTA Singles Rankings (as of 14th November 2005)
====================

Rankings down to about #50 will not change during the off-season; lower rankings will change as points from the ITF Women's Circuit are added and taken off.

+------+------+-------------------------+---------+----+
| RANK | PREV | NAME................... | POINTS. | #T |
+------+------+-------------------------+---------+----+
|____1_|____1_|_Lindsay Davenport_______|_4910.00_|_16_|
|____2_|____2_|_Kim Clijsters___________|_4829.00_|_17_|
|____3_|____4_|_Amélie Mauresmo_________|_4030.00_|_19_|
|____4_|____3_|_Maria Sharapova_________|_3958.00_|_15_|
|____5_|____5_|_Mary Pierce_____________|_3797.00_|_14_|
|____6_|____6_|_Justine Henin-Hardenne__|_2936.00_|__9_|
|____7_|____8_|_Patty Schnyder__________|_2774.00_|_26_|
|____8_|____7_|_Elena Dementieva________|_2748.00_|_20_|
|____9_|___10_|_Nadia Petrova___________|_2638.00_|_25_|
|___10_|____9_|_Venus Williams__________|_2628.00_|_12_|
|___11_|___11_|_Serena Williams_________|_1851.00_|_10_|
|___12_|___13_|_Nathalie Dechy__________|_1773.00_|_26_|
|___13_|___14_|_Francesca Schiavone_____|_1704.00_|_22_|
|___14_|___12_|_Anastasia Myskina_______|_1616.00_|_19_|
|___15_|___16_|_Nicole Vaidišová________|_1581.00_|_17_|
|___16_|___17_|_Ana Ivanovic____________|_1551.00_|_16_|
|___17_|___18_|_Elena Likhovtseva_______|_1519.00_|_22_|
|___18_|___15_|_Svetlana Kuznetsova_____|_1491.00_|_17_|
|___19_|___19_|_Daniela Hantuchová______|_1486.00_|_25_|
|___20_|___20_|_Dinara Safina___________|_1372.00_|_21_|
|___21_|___21_|_Anna-Lena Grönefeld_____|_1365.50_|_28_|
|___22_|___22_|_Jelena Jankovic_________|_1320.00_|_29_|
|___23_|___23_|_Flavia Pennetta_________|_1240.00_|_24_|
|___24_|___24_|_Tatiana Golovin_________|_1195.00_|_22_|
|___25_|___25_|_Maria Kirilenko_________|_1107.00_|_26_|
|___26_|___26_|_Kveta Peschke___________|_1028.75_|_25_|
|___27_|___27_|_Gisela Dulko____________|_1008.00_|_23_|
|___28_|___28_|_Katarina Srebotnik______|__997.75_|_21_|
|___29_|___29_|_Alicia Molik____________|__996.00_|_15_|
|___30_|___30_|_Ai Sugiyama_____________|__994.50_|_27_|
|___31_|___31_|_Sania Mirza_____________|__929.75_|_22_|
|___32_|___32_|_Conchita Martínez_______|__925.00_|_20_|
|___33_|___33_|_Anna Chakvetadze________|__918.25_|_23_|
|___34_|___34_|_Anabel Medina Garrigues_|__902.75_|_26_|
|___35_|___35_|_Sesil Karatantcheva_____|__902.25_|_16_|
|___36_|___36_|_Klára Koukalová_________|__883.75_|_23_|
|___37_|___37_|_Peng,Shuai______________|__883.50_ |_16_|
|___38_|___38_|_Shinobu Asagoe__________|__876.00_|_25_|
|___39_|___39_|_Vera Dushevina__________|__834.25_|_20_|
|___40_|___41_|_Marion Bartoli__________|__796.75_|_25_|
|___41_|___42_|_Roberta Vinci___________|__764.00_|_22_|
|___42_|___40_|_Vera Zvonarëva__________|__759.00_|_22_|
.................................................. ......
|__351_|__353_|_Jelena Dokic____________|___69.25_|_10_|
.................................................. ......
|__363_|__365_|_Iroda Tulyaganova_______|___62.50_|_10_|
.................................................. ......

--
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/)