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andrewbroad
Jun 28th, 2006, 01:14 AM
I've been working on my Birmingham report, but it wasn't ready to post before play started at Wimbledon. I therefore expect to finish it on the middle Sunday of Wimbledon, or possibly after Wimbledon.


=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://www.wimbledon.org/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/)

This is an edited and updated version of my full analysis of the draw:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/message/3614 (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/message/3614)

------
Photos
------

Pre-Wimbledon Player Party: Maria scrubs up very nicely!
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/photogallery/ (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/photogallery/)
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=244230 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=244230)

Search Getty Images for "sharapova"

Maria out & about:
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=244979 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=244979)

The difference between Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova:
http://blogs.tennisuniverse.com/sharapova/News/4889 (http://blogs.tennisuniverse.com/sharapova/News/4889)

Maria Sharapova videos:
http://blogs.tennisuniverse.com/sharapova/All (http://blogs.tennisuniverse.com/sharapova/All)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/default.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/default.stm)

---------------------------
Maria pre-tournament quotes
---------------------------

"From when I won Wimbledon to now, I think I'm much more experienced player. Whereas before, when I won, it was exciting for me to win. Now I feel that I belong there, and that I am able to compete. It's just different: you grow up, you mature, and your tennis matures. And I think there's a lot more maturing to do.

"That's the exciting thing for me, that I know in my mind that I can be better than I am. There's so many things that I can improve that can make me even better than I am. And, you know, people might say that I'm not there, that I'm too young, but I realise that. I know that I am young, but I still think that there's so many things that will make me better. It's not going to come when I'm 19 or 20, I think that's going to come in a few years. People have to realise that. I do.

"I emerged in '04 as winning Wimbledon. I think everyone's perspective thinks that you are at your peak, and you are supposedly playing your best tennis. But I know I'm not there yet, and I know that takes time - that's one of those things. You can't control people's opinions.

"It wasn't because my game was good that I was dominating everyone [at Wimbledon 2004]. I was just really fearless. I want to be the one that's winning the match - I don't want to be the one that's waiting for my opponent to lose.

[Re. Nicole Vaidišová]
"It's amazing what Nicole did in France, and it's exciting to have a new generation coming up, and someone as young as she is to be doing so well. We have never practised or played a tournament together, but we do bump each other at the academy sometimes. It is always nice to see someone from there doing so well."


Nicole Vaidišová
----------------

"I don't know her personally; I see her around. It doesn't bother me. I don't really think about it. I just do my own thing; she does her own thing.

"I think if people that know us sat us next to each other, they would figure out we're two totally different people. Everything, the way we talk, our styles. She's a great player. She's done great, she's won major tournaments, so she's definitely an amazing champion and an awesome player, but I do my stuff my way - a totally different way."

[What way would that be, Nicole?]

----------------
First-round draw
----------------
Top quarter
-----------

* AMÉLIE MAURESMO [1] v Ivana Abramovic [Q] (anyone but Mauresmo!)
* Michaëlla Krajícek v Samantha Stosur (kom op Michaëlla!)
* Jarmila Gajdošová v Nicole Pratt [Q]
* TATIANA GOLOVIN [29] v Mariana Diaz-Oliva (allez Tatiana!)

* ANA IVANOVIC [19] v Emmanuelle Gagliardi (ajde Ana!)
* Marta Domachowska v Sarah Borwell [WC] (dawaj Marta!)
* Mashona Washington v Julia Schruff
* Jill Craybas v DINARA SAFINA [14]

* ANASTASIA MYSKINA [9] v Cara Black [WC] (both nice; my loyalty is to Anastasia)
* Martina Müller v Kaia Kanepi
* Clarisa Fernández [Q] v Conchita Martínez Granados
* Hsieh,Su-Wei v ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [23] (jia you Su-Wei!)

* JELENA JANKOVIC [26] v Lourdes Domínguez Lino
* Julia Vakulenko [LL] v Vania King (davai Julia!)
* Lisa Raymond v Yaroslava Shvedova [Q]
* Bethanie Mattek v VENUS WILLIAMS [6]


Second quarter
--------------

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v Anna Smashnova (DAVAI MARIA!!)
* Ashley Harkleroad v Jelena Kostanic (go Ashley!)
* Laura Pous Tio v Czink,Melinda
* Amy Frazier v MARA SANTANGELO [32]

* SHAHAR PEER [20] v Yuliana Fedak (both nice; may the better win)
* Peng,Shuai v Eleni Daniilidou (jia you Shuai!)
* Maret Ani v Laura Granville (go Maret!)
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [16] v Sandra Klösel (forza Flavia!)

* FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [11] v Melanie South [WC]
* Shenay Perry v Kristina Barrois [Q]
* Anastassia Rodionova v Emilie Loit
* Sybille Bammer v NATHALIE DECHY [22]

* ELENA LIKHOVTSEVA [25] v Stéphanie Foretz (davai Elena!)
* Sun,Tiantian v Nathalie Vierin
* Alyona Bondarenko v Meghann Shaughnessy (davai Alyona!)
* Sania Mirza v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7] (go Sania!)


Maria Sharapova preview
-----------------------

The draw appears to have been very kind to Maria. If her forehand breaks down as badly as it did against Jamea Jackson at Birmingham (I was there) then we have to worry about getting past the first week, but the floaters in her sector don't look as dangerous as Jackson. And her projected #5-8 seed for the quarter-finals is only Elena Dementieva, rather than Venus Williams or Svetlana Kuznetsova, and while she could face Williams or top seed Amélie Mauresmo in the semis, the other major title-contenders - Henin-Hardenne, Clijsters, Kuznetsova, Hingis and Nicole Vaidišová - are safely tucked away in the bottom half (see below).

1r: Anna Smashnova is a solid but unspectacular counter-puncher, who should be no match for Maria on grass - even if Maria plays as badly as she did at Birmingham. Maria beat Smashnova 7-5 6-2 in their only previous meeting (Miami 2004).

2r: Jelena Kostanic could be awkward on grass because she slices every backhand, which makes the ball bounce very low, especially in the first week when the grass is green and slick. It could be tough for a tall girl like Maria to get down to those fading shots, but if Maria's playing well then she could just overpower Kostanic, as she did 6-0 6-1 at the Australian Open.

I'd prefer a mouthwatering match with Ashley Harkleroad, whom Maria beat 6-2 6-1 on her début in 2003, and 6-1 7-5 at the Australian Open.

3r: I hope for and expect a repeat of Maria's Birmingham quarter-final against Mara Santangelo, whom she thrashed 6-2 6-2 with her only convincing performance of the week (I was there).

Amy Frazier could be Maria's toughest test of the first week, as Maria struggled quite a bit to beat Frazier 6-4 7-5 at Wimbledon 2004. But Frazier is 33 years old now, and down to #80 in the rankings (one place higher than Jamea Jackson was when she knocked Maria out of Birmingham).

4r: The seedings decree a mouthwatering match with Flavia Pennetta, who - as beautiful and talented as she is - I couldn't see troubling Maria on grass.

20th seed Shahar Peer is another possibility; Shahar has evolved from a retriever to a power-player in the last year, but her excellent recent form on clay may not transfer to grass (she lost 6-1 6-4 to Nathalie Dechy at Eastbourne).

The biggest 4r worry of all would be the unseeded Eleni Daniilidou, who knocked Justine Henin-Hardenne out of Wimbledon 2005, having given Maria such a torrid time in the quarter-finals of Birmingham 2005.

qf: Elena Dementieva used to hate grass, but beating Ana Ivanovic in the quarter-finals of s'Hertogenbosch is no mean feat (she lost to eventual champion Michaëlla Krajícek in the semis). But with that popcorn serve of hers, she's as weak a Wimbledon quarter-final opponent for Maria as could be hoped for.

And who else is going to be that quarter-finalist if not Dementieva? Francesca Schiavone, who has developed an impressive serve-and-volley game for grass, but is still uncomfortable enough on the surface to keep hitting backhands wide? Nathalie Dechy, who knocked Amélie Mauresmo out of Eastbourne, but whom Maria beat 6-4 6-2 despite a poor performance at Wimbledon 2005? Or will Sania Mirza finally put her bad form behind her and get those flairsome groundstrokes working? Either way, it's looking pretty rosy for Maria if she gets to the quarter-finals.

sf: This is where the fun begins. The top seed is Amélie Mauresmo, whom Maria has never beaten, but Mauresmo certainly looked vulnerable in losing to Nathalie Dechy at Eastbourne. But you never know with Mauresmo - in late 2005 she suffered two terrible losses, then won the WTA Tour Championships. She hasn't played like a world #1 since her winning-streak in the first couple of months of 2006.

I've got a feeling that Venus Williams will get her act together as she defends the title, even though her form since Wimbledon 2005 has been fairly forgettable. But she reached the quarter-finals of the French Open - her worst surface - and only has to repeat that and go one further to set up a repeat of last year's Maria v Venus semi-final, and then we'll see who will have managed to put their lack of match-play behind them and find some decent form.

We also can't ignore Anastasia Myskina, who came so close to winning Eastbourne in a field that had included Mauresmo, Clijsters, Kuznetsova, and eventual champion Henin-Hardenne. Anastasia is now playing the best tennis I've ever seen from her (including her triumph at the French Open 2004), hitting the ball with flairsome power. I wouldn't fancy Maria's chances against her on Maria's Birmingham form.

What I'd really like would be a mouthwatering semi-final against Tatiana Golovin. Their matches against each other are always very entertaining to watch (in tennis-terms as well as sex-appeal!): Birmingham 2004, Birmingham 2005 and Miami 2006.

Unfortunately Tatiana had still not recovered from that horrific ankle-injury last time I heard - a first-round loss at the French Open being her only match since Miami. So I hope Tatiana's ankle will be up to playing Wimbledon; my only realistic chance of seeing her on TV is if she plays Mauresmo in the third round.

-----------------
Second-round draw
-----------------
Bottom half
-----------

* Séverine Brémond [Q] v PATTY SCHNYDER [7] (allez Séverine!)
* Virginia Ruano Pascual v GISELA DULKO [31] (both nice; my loyalty is to Gisela)
* SUGIYAMA,AI [18] v Morigami,Akiko (ganbatte Akiko!)
* Tathiana Garbin v MARTINA HINGIS [12]

* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [15] v Jamea Jackson (PODME DANIELA!!)
* Alicia Molik [WC] v KATARINA SREBOTNIK [21] (both nice; may the better win)
* ANNA CHAKVETADZE [30] v Elena Vesnina (both nice; my loyalty is to Anna)
* Ekaterina Bychkova v JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE [3]

* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [5] v Kveta Peschke
* Meilen Tu [Q] v LI,NA [27]
* MARION BARTOLI [24] v Karolina Šprem (both nice; my loyalty is to Karolina)
* NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [10] v Kateryna Bondarenko (PODME NICOLE!!)

* Tzvetana Pironkova v Agnieszka Radwanska [WC] (aide Tzvetana!)
* Tamarine Tanasugarn [Q] v Asagoe,Shinobu
* Eva Birnerová v Zheng,Jie
* Viktoria Kutuzova v KIM CLIJSTERS [2] (davai Viktoria!)

---------------------------
Order of play for Wednesday
---------------------------

Court One (start 13:00 BST = 12:00 GMT)
1. WS 1r: MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v Anna Smashnova
2. MS 1r: Janko Tipsarevic v ANDY RODDICK [3]
3. MS 2r: Davide Sanguinetti v MARIO ANCIC [7]
4. WS 2r: Tathiana Garbin v MARTINA HINGIS [12]

Full order of play:
http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://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
Jun 29th, 2006, 01:01 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://www.wimbledon.org/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/)
First round
-----------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] d. Anna Smashnova, 6-2 6-0

Maria celebrated the third anniversary of her induction into my Eternal Fanship with a performance that would have won me over all 'ova' again! :worship: Admittedly Anna Smashnova proved to be a helpless victim, but apart from a few silly errors in the first set, Maria looked every bit a Wimbledon champion, with amazing power, touch, multidimensionality and footwork.

The match started on Court One at 13:10, and I saw it all on BBCi.


First Set:
SHARAPOVA @*@ @* * 6
SMASHNOVA ___@__*_ 2

Bill Threlfall said Maria made a lot of mistakes in the warm-up!

Smashnova serving 0-0: Smashnova forehand long. 0/15. Smashnova forehand pass-winner. 15/15. Maria punished a slow, short second serve with a forehand return-winner down the line. 15/30. Maria hit a blistering forehand winner down Smashnova's forehand-sideline. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria broke with a forehand smash-winner.

Liz Smylie said Maria should experiment with serve and volley in this match (which, in due course, she did).

Maria serving 1-0: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Maria forehand would-be winner just wide. 15/15. Maria backhand just wide. 15/30. Serve + forehand winner down the line: waited for Smashnova to commit, then went for the gap. 30/30. Smashnova forehand long. 40/30. Maria forehand winner down the line, right in the corner.

Smashnova serving 0-2: Smashnova forehand wide. 0/15. Maria forehand return-winner - took the ball on the rise. 0/30. Maria netted a forehand, as she did so often against Jamea Jackson at Birmingham. 15/30. Maria hit an error-forcing forehand. 15/40 (2 BPs). Smashnova forehand long.

I hope Maria can match the double bagel that Amélie Mauresmo has already dished out today!

Maria serving 3-0: Smashnova netted a forehand off a low-bouncing sliced backhand from Maria. 15/0. Maria served and volleyed, but hit a backhand volley long. 30/0. Maria netted a forehand volley. 15/30. Maria hit a very tentative backhand approach, giving Smashnova a forehand pass-winner down the line. 15/40 (2 BPs). Double fault.

And that's been Maria's problem at the French Open and Birmingham: limited match-play begets inconsistency.

Smashnova serving 1-3: Maria forehand very long. 15/0. Smashnova let Maria off the hook with a backhand volley wide. 15/15. Maria backhand drive-volley wide. 30/15. Maria forehand volley-winner. 30/30. Maria's forehand return-winner down the line caught the outside edge of the sideline. 30/40 BP). Maria played a wonderfully precise backhand down the line, forcing Smashnova to net a forehand on the stretch.

Smashnova's serves are slow and high-bouncing, and Maria is devouring them. Maria looks ultraconfident and determined, and is using this match to practise her forecourt-game. I'd give her an A- for her performance so far, which is brilliant but with more unforced errors than I'd like to see from a player of Maria's calibre.

Maria serving 4-1: A deep forehand approach from Maria forced Smashnova to hit a backhand pass wide. 15/0. Serve + forehand drive-volley winner. 30/0. Double fault. 30/15. Maria hit a roaring forehand winner down the line - set up by a good serve. 40/15. Smashnova forehand return wide.

Smashnova serving to stay in the first set at 1-5: Maria hit a searing crosscourt forehand winner on the fourth stroke. 0/15. Maria netted a backhand. 15/15. Maria forehand wide. 30/15. Maria crosscourt backhand return-winner. 30/30. Maria forehand just long. 40/30. Maria netted a backhand as Smashnova held serve for the first time in the match.

Maria serving for the first set at 5-2: Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Ace down the middle (Smashnova thought wide, and I have to say I agree with her). 30/0. Ace out wide. 40/0 (3 SPs). Maria sprayed a forehand wide off a deep return. 40/15. A good first serve forced a short return, giving Maria an easy off-forehand winner to win the first set 6-2 at 13:39 (29m).

Bil Threlfall said Maria had much power as anyone in the women's game, in the absence of Serena Williams.

Liz Smylie praised Maria's footwork: lots of little steps to get around the ball, especially to hit a forehand.


Second Set:
SHARAPOVA @*@*@* 6
SMASHNOVA ______ 0

Smashnova serving 0-0: Maria netted a backhand. 15/0. And again. 30/0. Maria forehand volley-winner. 30/15. Maria hit a blistering crosscourt backhand winner. 30/30. Smashnova netted a forehand. 30/40 (BP). Maria broke with a forehand winner down the line, and said "c'mon".

Maria serving 1-0: Smashnova netted a backhand. 15/0. Maria forehand wide off a deep ball. 15/15. Maria forehand volley-winner crosscourt. 30/15. Maria pinpoint backhand winner down the line - "too fast, too deep, too accurate, too everything" . Smashnova netted a backhand (forced by depth).

Smashnova serving 0-2: Maria netted a backhand off a difficult short return. 0/15. Maria hit a crosscourt backhand winner off an easy short ball. "This is the most powerful performance you can imagine" [Bill Threlfall]. 15/15. Maria hit a beautiful backhand drop-volley winner, showing that she has touch and multidimensionality too! 15/30. Maria hit an off-forehand winner of "indescribable" power. 15/40 (2 BPs). Smashnova forehand long.

I think Maria's form has just gone up to A+! :D But she's been A+ at times at the French Open and Birmingham, and then lost her form with alarming suddenness.

Maria serving 3-0: Maria hit an error-forcing forehand volley. 15/0. Maria forehand drive-volley winner. 30/0. Smashnova forehand wide. 40/0. Maria hit a lightning-bolt of a crosscourt backhand winner - short-angled, just inside the sideline.

Smashnova serving 0-4: Maria hit a brilliant backhand winner down the line. 0/15. Maria forehand wide. 15/15. Smashnova netted a sliced backhand. 15/30. Maria hit a huge forehand onto the baseline, forcing Smashnova to hit a forehand wide. 15/40 (2 BPs). Double fault.

Maria "hitting the ball so cleanly, so flat, so well" [Liz Smylie].

Maria serving for the match at 5-0: Maria forehand just long (earlier in the rally, she improvised with a forehand drive-volley from no-man's-land). 0/15. Smashnova netted a forehand volley. 15/15. Maria, looking so in control of every shot, hit an easy crosscourt backhand winner. 30/15. Maria forehand long. 30/30. Smashnova forehand wide. 40/30 (MP). Smashnova netted a backhand. Maria won 6-2 6-0 at 14:02 (52m).


Maria: "She's not the best grasscourt player. I had to go for my shots and hit them, and then try to come in and put pressure on her. From the start I broke her, and that was the set and the match.

"I'm always excited about playing on grass. I'm trying to take my chances and play my shots earlier."


Maria's second-round opponent will be Ashley Harkleroad, who beat Jelena Kostanic 6-3 6-2. It's a repeat of Maria's Wimbledon 2003 début (Maria won 6-2 6-1) and their second round at the Australian Open 2006 (Maria won 6-1 7-5 after struggling with a blister on her sole in the second set).

Ashley is a beautiful girl, but her style is just to keep the ball in play, and I can't see how that will make her any match for Maria on grass. I'd be amazed if Ashley won more than three games off Maria in this sort of form.

But Maria's form has been very up and down during the French Open and Birmingham, so I have to worry that it may desert her in a later round.

-----------------
Second-round draw
-----------------
Top half
--------

* AMÉLIE MAURESMO [1] v Samantha Stosur (anyone but Mauresmo!)
* TATIANA GOLOVIN [29] v Nicole Pratt [Q] (allez Tatiana!)
* ANA IVANOVIC [19] v Sarah Borwell [WC] (ajde Ana!)
* Mashona Washington v DINARA SAFINA [14]

* ANASTASIA MYSKINA [9] v Martina Müller (davai Anastasia!)
* Clarisa Fernández [Q] v ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [23]
* JELENA JANKOVIC [26] v Vania King
* Lisa Raymond v VENUS WILLIAMS [6]

* [b]MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v Ashley Harkleroad (both nice; my loyalty is to MARIA!)
* Czink,Melinda v Amy Frazier
* SHAHAR PEER [20] v Peng,Shuai (both nice; my loyalty is to Shuai)
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [16] v Laura Granville (forza Flavia!)

* Melanie South [WC] v Shenay Perry
* Anastassia Rodionova v Sybille Bammer
* ELENA LIKHOVTSEVA [25] v Sun,Tiantian (davai Elena!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7] v Meghann Shaughnessy (davai Elena!)


Bottom half
-----------

(Wednesday's losers removed, and scorelines inserted for matches which were suspended for failing light)

* Séverine Brémond [Q] v PATTY SCHNYDER [7], 4-6 6-1 *1-2 (allez Séverine!)
* GISELA DULKO [31]
* SUGIYAMA,AI [18]
* MARTINA HINGIS [12]

* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [15] v Jamea Jackson (PODME DANIELA!!)
* Alicia Molik [WC] v KATARINA SREBOTNIK [21] (both nice; may the better win)
* ANNA CHAKVETADZE [30]
* JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE [3]

* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [5]
* LI,NA [27]
* Karolina Šprem
* NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [10]

* Tzvetana Pironkova v Agnieszka Radwanska [WC], 5-7 5-5* (aide Tzvetana!)
* Tamarine Tanasugarn [Q] v Asagoe,Shinobu, 6-3 *5-5
* Zheng,Jie
* KIM CLIJSTERS [2]

--------------------------
Order of play for Thursday
--------------------------

Court 2 (start 12:00 BST = 11:00 GMT)
1. WS 2r: MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v Ashley Harkleroad
2. WS 2r: DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [15] v Jamea Jackson
3. MS 2r: Marat Safin v FERNANDO GONZALEZ [10]
4. MS 2r: Florian Mayer v ANDY RODDICK [3]

Full order of play:
http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://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
Jul 1st, 2006, 02:20 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://www.wimbledon.org/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/)
Second round
------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] d. Ashley Harkleroad, 6-2 6-2

The match started on Court 2 at 12:13, and I saw it all on BBCi. Ashley won the toss and elected to serve.

I predicted three games for Ashley, but Sam Smith said Maria would have to be near the top of her form, and striking the ball very well, to breeze past Ashley who gets a lot of balls in court.


First Set:
SHARAPOVA _* *@*@* 6
HARKLEROA * *_____ 2

Ashley serving 0-0: Maria forehand long. 15/0. Maria crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Maria netted a forehand after a long baseline rally. 30/15. Maria hit a half-volley forehand dropshot-winner off a backhand pass at her feet. 30/30. Service-winner out wide - Ashley is not a fast server, but she is an accurate and smart server. 40/30. Double fault. 40/40. Maria netted a backhand return. Ad Ashley. Maria bludgeoned an off-forehand winner. Deuce #2. Maria forehand return long. Ad Ashley. Ashley netcord; Maria overran a forehand and netted a sliced backhand.

Maria serving 0-1: Maria forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Ashley backhand return just long. 30/0. Ashley blocked a forehand return-winner down the line, using the pace of the serve against Maria. 30/15. Maria backhand winner down the line. 40/15. Ashley crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 40/30. Maria ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt backhand winner.

Sam Smith: "Ashley Harkleroad doesn't win matches easily - it's quite a grind for her, but she has the temperament for that."

Ashley serving 1-1: Maria netted a forehand. 15/0. And again - she netted so many forehands against Jamea Jackson at Birmingham. 30/0. Ashley backhand just wide. 30/15. Maria forehand return long. 40/15. Maria crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Maria netted a backhand after some relentless retrieving from Ashley.

I revise my prior prediction: I now think Ashley will win five games in this match, because she's playing very solidly, and Maria lacks penetration at the moment.

Maria serving 1-2: Maria hit a searing crosscourt backhand winner right into Ashley's backhand-corner. 15/0. Ashley forehand lob long. 30/0. Ashley forehand long. 40/0. Ashley backhand long.

Ashley serving 2-2: Ashley opened the court for a down-the-line backhand winner, but netted it. 0/15. Maria hit a fantastic leaping forehand volley-winner crosscourt. 0/30. Maria blasted a crosscourt forehand winner into quite a narrow gap. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria netted a forehand return. 15/40. Maria opened the court for a forehand winner down the line.

Sam Smith: "I don't think we'll see the best of Maria until she's 23/24, when she understands how to get the most from that frame of hers."

Maria serving 3-2: Ashley forehand long. 15/0. Maria ran down a dropshot and hit a forehand winner down the line - "becoming increasingly mobile - good quick feet, excellent balance" [Sam Smith]. 30/0. A big serve set up an easy forehand winner down the line. 40/0. Ashley opened the court for an off-backhand winner, but netted it. Not everyone is capable of hitting an off-backhand.

Ashley serving 2-4: Maria hit a blazing forehand return-winner down the line. 0/15. Maria forehand winner down the line. 0/30. Ashley backhand dropshot-winner. 15/30. Ashley netted a sliced backhand and yelled out "aaah!". 15/40 (2 BPs). Ashley saved the first with an ace down the middle. 30/40. Maria hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand pass.

And now Maria does have that penetration I said was lacking earlier. Back to my three-games prediction! ;)

Maria serving for the first set at 5-2: Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Ashley wild forehand long & wide. 30/0. Ace out wide. 40/0. Double fault. 40/15. Ashley forehand return very long. Maria won the first set 6-2 at 12:43.

Maria has a spectacular W:UE ratio of 17:5 for the first set!


Second Set:
SHARAPOVA _*@* *@* 6
HARKLEROA *___*___ 2

Ashley serving 0-0: Maria netted a forehand off an easy-looking short ball. 15/0. Maria forehand wide and just long. 30/0. Maria sprayed a forehand wide. 40/0. Maria forehand return wide.

Ashley has the three games I predicted - can she win more?

Sam Smith said Ashley had been "destroyed" by the hype she had in America as a junior, like when she had to play a Girls' Singles match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open.

Maria serving 0-1: Maria forced a very short ball for an easy crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Maria forehand winner down the line. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0. Maria hit a beautifully precise backhand winner down the line.

David Mercer: "The intensity, the concentration, the eyes say it all: a lady on a mission to regain the title."

Ashley serving 1-1: Double fault. 0/15. Maria ran down a dropshot, hit a crosscourt backhand winner and said "c'mon". 0/30. Service-winner. 15/30. Double fault. 15/40 (2 BPs). Ashley hit a backhand wide to go a set and a break down.

Maria serving 2-1: Ashley netted a backhand and yelled in frustration. 15/0. Ashley wild forehand wide - already thinking about the plane home, Sam Smith said. 30/0. Maria hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 40/0. Ashley wild forehand return wide.

Ashley serving 1-3: Maria off-forehand would-be winner wide by a whisker. 15/0. Double fault. 15/15. Maria forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/30. Ashley netted a backhand. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria netted a forehand return. 30/40. Maria backhand just long. 40/40. Maria netted a forehand. Ad Ashley. Maria forehand just long.

Ashley did well to fight off those break-points, but Maria's performance is suddenly looking rather ragged - "a little overconfident, carried away" [Sam Smith].

Maria serving 3-2: Maria hit a brilliant backhand drive-volley winner crosscourt behind Ashley. 15/0. Venomous service-winner out wide. 30/0. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/0. Ashley netted a backhand.

Maria's backhand is usually stronger than her forehand, but at this point she had hit 13 forehand winners and only 6 backhand winners.

Ashley serving 2-4: Maria hit a searing crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. Maria error. 15/15. Maria mishit forehand very long. 30/15. Ashley came to the net and forced Maria to hit a backhand pass wide. 40/15. Serve + forehand volley-winner. 40/30. Maria played a great spreading rally with an error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 40/40. Ashley hit an error-forcing crosscourt forehand - Maria is at her weakest when driven wide on her forehand side. Ad Ashley. She netted a backhand and yelled in frustration. Deuce #2. Maria hit a deep, error-forcing forehand down the line. Ad Maria (BP). Ashley saved it with a service-winner that hit a line and shot through on Maria. Deuce #3. Double fault. Ad Maria (BP #2). A low-bouncing backhand return forced Ashley to net a forehand.

Maria serving for the match at 5-2: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Maria hit a low punch-volley that bounced low, forcing Ashley to net a backhand. 30/0. Ashley hit a deep, error-forcing forehand. 30/15. Ashley backhand long. 40/15 (2 MPs). Maria dropped the ball on her foot as she prepared to serve (for the second time in the match), then sprayed a forehand wide. 40/30. Maria forehand just wide. 40/40. Service-winner out wide. Ad Maria (MP #3). Maria hit a forehand just long after a long rally in which, to be honest, a forehand was wide earlier. Deuce #2. Maria mishit forehand long and wide. Ad Maria (BP). It was the first break-point against her in the match, and she saved it with a service-winner. Deuce #3. Service-winner. Ad Maria (MP #4). Almost hit an ace down the middle, but it was just wide. Double fault! Deuce #4. Ashley hit a wild backhand wide, and emitted a long, high-pitched scream! Ad Maria (MP #5). Ashley backhand wide. Maria won 6-2 6-2 at 13:21.


Maria: "I was pleased with that. I played a pretty solid game. I thought I did a lot of things good [sic], and came in at the right time.

"I definitely feel like I played pretty solid, and I did a lot of good things out there. I did not have a chance to see where my game was at after the first round, but it is only going to get tougher from here, and it is all about stepping up. I don't really look back to when I won here; I look at the present."

----------------
Third-round draw (top half)
----------------

* AMÉLIE MAURESMO [1] v Nicole Pratt [Q] (anyone but Mauresmo!)
* ANA IVANOVIC [19] v DINARA SAFINA [14] (ajde Ana!)
* ANASTASIA MYSKINA [9] v ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [23] (davai Anastasia!)
* JELENA JANKOVIC [26] v VENUS WILLIAMS [6]

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v Amy Frazier (DAVAI MARIA!!)
* Peng,Shuai v FLAVIA PENNETTA [16] (both nice; my loyalty is to Flavia)
* Shenay Perry v Sybille Bammer
* ELENA LIKHOVTSEVA [25] v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7] (my loyalty is to Elena L)

Maria beat Frazier (who is now 33 years old) 6-4 7-5 in a very tight match in 4r Wimbledon 2004, but Maria leads their head-to-head 3-0.

Frazier lost seven matches in a row coming into Wimbledon, but upset Mara Santangelo [32] 3-6 6-3 6-4, then beat Czink,Melinda 6-2 6-3.

-----------------
Fourth-round draw (bottom half)
-----------------

* Séverine Brémond [Q] v SUGIYAMA,AI [18] (allez Séverine!)
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [15] v JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE [3] (PODME DANIELA!!)
* NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [10] v LI,NA [27] (PODME NICOLE!!)
* Agnieszka Radwanska [WC] v KIM CLIJSTERS [2] (dawaj Agnieszka!)

--
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andrewbroad
Jul 1st, 2006, 12:02 PM
Centre Court (start 13:00 BST = 12:00 BST)
1. MS 3r: ANDRE AGASSI [25] v RAFAEL NADAL [2]
2. WS 3r: MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v Amy Frazier
3. MS 3r: Andy Murray v ANDY RODDICK [3]

--
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andrewbroad
Jul 2nd, 2006, 10:22 PM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://www.wimbledon.org/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/)
Third round
-----------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] d. Amy Frazier, 6-3 6-2

The scoreline may look easy, but much of this match was like pulling teeth for Maria, as Frazier kept blocking the ball back on the rise, and exploiting the geometry of the court to make life awkward for Maria's groundstrokes.

Maria won because of her superior serve - which was never broken - while Frazier committed a remarkable ten double faults in her eight service-games. A break against Frazier in the second game of the match (after three deuces) meant that Maria was always ahead in the first set, while a lapse in Frazier's resistance allowed Maria to surge ahead in the second set. But I never felt that Maria was out of danger until she broke again for 5-2 in the second.

Maria claims to derive confidence from this victory, but if opponents such as Mauresmo and Henin study a video of this match, they'll spot plenty of ways to pick her game apart if she's not on top form with her groundstrokes.


First Set:
SHARAPO *@* * * * 6
FRAZIER ___* * *_ 3

The match started at 16:17 BST on Centre Court (there had been a delay as Frazier had to walk the last mile to Wimbledon with her gear!), and I watched it all on BBC 2.

It was extremely hot by English standards: 29°C! I would imagine this would favour the much-younger Maria, who will be used to extreme heat from living in Florida, while the pale-skinned Frazier doesn't enjoy the heat: she always wears heavy sun-lotion because she has a phobia of getting skin-cancer.

Maria serving 0-0: Frazier forehand return wide. 15/0. Frazier netted a forehand return. 30/0. Maria hit a deep error-forcing crosscourt backhand just inside the sideline. 40/0. Frazier kept bunting the ball back with half-volleys, and hit an off-forehand winner into the gap. 40/15. Frazier backhand long.

Frazier serving 1-0: Frazier error. 0/15. Double fault. 0/30. Maria netted a forehand. 15/30. Maria netted a backhand. 30/30. Frazier bunted a backhand pass-winner down the line. 40/30. Double fault. 40/40. Frazier forehand long. Ad Maria (BP). Frazier backhand winner down the line. Deuce #2. Maria hit a ferocious crosscourt backhand return-winner. Ad Maria (BP #2). Frazier forehand volley-winner. Deuce #3. Double fault. Ad Maria (BP #3). Maria forehand winner down the line.

Maria serving 2-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Maria hit a forehand long as Frazier hit with low power but great precision. 15/15. Frazier forehand return long. 30/15. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15. Serve + forehand winner down the line.

Frazier serving 0-3: Maria backhand wide. 15/0. Maria backhand wide by a whisker. 30/0. Maria wild forehand return very long and very wide. 40/0. Double fault. 40/15. Maria painted the baseline with a huge crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Maria netted a backhand.

Sam Smith said that Frazier was very consistent: very few unforced errors, and mentally consistent in her application whatever the score.

Maria serving 3-1: Service-winner (98mph second serve!). 15/0. Maria forehand just wide. 15/15. Service-winner. 30/15. Ace out wide (104mph). 40/15. Maria netted a forehand. 40/30. Ace down the middle.

Errors creeping into Maria's game now: I hope she can eliminate them so that she can go into the second week with her confidence high.

Frazier serving 1-4: Maria backhand long. 15/0. Maria backhand volley-winner. 15/15. Frazier forehand long. 15/30. Double fault. 15/40 (2 BPs). Frazier saved it with a forehand volley-winner. 30/40. Frazier pulled Maria wide, and hit a crosscourt backhand winner into the open court. 40/40. Frazier netted a forehand. Ad Maria (BP). Frazier saved it with a crosscourt backhand winner. Deuce #2. Maria forehand winner down the line. Ad Maria (BP #3). Maria forehand just long. Deuce #3. Maria forehand return long. Ad Frazier. At the end of a long rally, Maria went behind Frazier with a crosscourt forehand winner: a good workout for Maria, and an energy-sapper for Frazier I would imagine. Maria hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand. Ad Maria (BP #4). Maria forehand long. Deuce #4. Maria forehand long. Ad Frazier. Maria sprayed a wild backhand wide.

Maria has been working on her movement and strength.

Maria serving 4-2: Three service-winners. 40/0. Maria netted a backhand. 40/15. Serve out wide + off-forehand winner.

Sam Smith said Frazier looked the same as she did 20 years ago - but she said that in contrast to Maria's regular changes of outfit from tournament to tournament.

Frazier serving to stay in the first set at 2-5: Double fault. 0/15. Maria netted a backhand. 15/15. Maria netted a forehand. 30/15. Maria mishit a forehand down the line behind Frazier, but it still dipped in for a winner. 30/30. A good backhand down the line from Frazier induced Maria to hit a forehand into the bottom of the net. 40/30. Ace out wide.

Frazier has served seven double faults: primarily long, as Maria is really threatening with her returns.

Maria serving for the first set at 5-3: Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Frazier came to the net, took control of the point and hit a forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Maria hit a roaring off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 30/15. Maria netted a forehand winner. 30/30. Maria netted a backhand. 30/40 (BP). Service-winner (109mph). 40/40. Frazier used the pace of Maria's 107mph first serve to block a forehand winner down the line. Ad Frazier (BP #2). Frazier hit a backhand wide, but I didn't get the impression that Maria was in control of her own length. Deuce #2. Frazier crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Frazier (BP #3). Service-winner. Deuce #3. Service-winner. Ad Maria (SP #1). Maria hit an off-forehand winner to take the first set 6-3 at 17:00.

Maria could have been in real trouble in this first set, had she not started so well. Frazier is picking Maria's forehand apart, two of the games that Maria won had three deuces, and it was Maria's serve that really saved her in the end - she's having a bad day with her groundstrokes.

It will be very difficult for Frazier to win in three if she doesn't like the heat, although the worst of it is behind us now at 5pm.


Second Set:
SHARAPO _*@* *@* 6
FRAZIER *___*___ 2

Frazier serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Maria netted a forehand (forced). 30/0. Frazier backhand pass-winner down the line. 40/0. Frazier forehand wide. 40/15. Frazier served her eighth double fault. 40/30. Maria netted a backhand (forced by depth).

Maria serving 0-1: Maria forehand wide. 0/15. Maria hit an error-forcing crosscourt forehand. Both players are attempting to use the full width of the court, and it has become almost a geometry-contest. 15/15. Frazier hit a wild forehand long and wide off a short mishit forehand from Maria. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Ace out wide.

Frazier serving 1-1: Double fault. 0/15. Frazier forehand long. 0/30. And again (huge return from Maria). 0/40 (3 BPs). Frazier saved the first with a service-winner. 15/40. Frazier forehand wide - only the second of 10 break-points that Maria has converted today.

Maria serving 2-1: Serve + forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Service-winner. 30/0. Serve + crosscourt backhand winner. 40/0. Frazier off-forehand return-winner on the sideline (called out then overruled - no replay because it was a clear winner). 40/15. Frazier crosscourt backhand winner. 40/30. Double fault. 40/40. Frazier hit a crosscourt backhand winner off a short ball from Maria. Ad Frazier (BP). Frazier forehand just long. Deuce #2. Frazier forehand wide. Ad Maria. She hit a beautiful swinging ace out wide.

Frazier serving 1-3: Maria hit an off-forehand winner, but the umpire called it out; Hawkeye said it was in! Unfortunately Wimbledon doesn't yet use Hawkeye for challenging line-calls. 15/0. Maria netted a forehand. 30/0. Frazier netted a backhand. 30/15. Maria backhand long. 40/15. Service-winner.

Frazier's resistance has returned after a lapse. It's very important that Maria hangs onto her break, because it could be very difficult to get another.

Maria serving 3-2: Virtual ace out wide. 15/0. Ace out wide. 30/0. Service-winner down the middle. 40/0. Serve + forehand smash-winner off a high bounce.

Frazier serving 2-4: Maria backhand long. 15/0. Frazier forehand wide. 15/15. Frazier forehand winner down the line, on the baseline. 30/15. Double fault #10. 30/30. Maria hit a backhand winner down the line after an incredible spreading rally from Frazier where Maria clearly showed her improved movement. 30/40 (BP). Maria forehand netcord return-winner.

Maria serving for the match at 5-2: Double fault. 0/15. Frazier netted a forehand return. 15/15. Frazier forehand return long. 30/15. Maria forehand long. 30/30. Service-winner out wide. 40/30 (MP). Frazier forehand wide on the fourth stroke. Maria won 6-3 6-2 at 17:31.


Maria: "I got a little bit confused: she'd hit a big serve, then follow it up with a double fault. It knocked me out of my rhythm.

"I felt like I got a pretty good workout out there. She's a pretty solid grasscourt player, and I had to really work for the match. But that definitely makes me feel confident going into the fourth round."

-----------------
Fourth-round draw
-----------------

* ANA IVANOVIC [19] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [1] (ajde Ana!)
* ANASTASIA MYSKINA [9] v JELENA JANKOVIC [26] (davai Anastasia!)
* MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v FLAVIA PENNETTA [16] (both nice; my loyalty is to MARIA!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7] v Shenay Perry (davai Elena!)

* Séverine Brémond [Q] v SUGIYAMA,AI [18] (allez Séverine!)
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [15] v JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE [3] (PODME DANIELA!!)
* NICOLE VAIDIŠOVÁ [10] v LI,NA [27] (PODME NICOLE!!)
* Agnieszka Radwanska [WC] v KIM CLIJSTERS [2] (dawaj Agnieszka!)

A mouthwatering fourth-round match with beautiful Flavia Pennetta. They've met once before, Maria winning 6-3 4-6 6-4 at Indian Wells 2004, but it should be much more straightforward on grass, since Flavia specialises in winning Tier III tournaments on clay (Sopot 2004, Bogotá 2005 and Acapulco 2005).

I saw Flavia play Mary Pierce in 4r Wimbledon 2005 (the furthest Flavia's ever been in a Grand Slam). It was a high-quality baseline-duel for eight games, but then Flavia's serve stopped working, the rest of her game quickly followed suit, and she lost 6-3 6-1.

Flavia has reached the fourth round with the following victories:
1r + Sandra Klösel, 5-7 6-4 6-2
2r + Laura Granville, 6-2 6-1
3r + Peng,Shuai, 6-2 6-3

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

Court 2 (start 12:00 BST = 11:00 GMT)
1. WS 4r: MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v FLAVIA PENNETTA [16]
2. WS 4r: Agnieszka Radwanska v KIM CLIJSTERS [2]
3. MS 4r: Novak Djokovic v MARIO ANCIC [7]
(followed by mixed doubles)

Full order of play:
http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
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andrewbroad
Jul 4th, 2006, 02:50 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://www.wimbledon.org/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/)
Fourth round
------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] d. FLAVIA PENNETTA [16], 7-6 (7/5) 3-6 6-3

This was a much tougher match than I expected. Flavia played as great as she looks, with remarkable discipline and control on her groundstrokes, and almost as many winners as Maria!

Maria's serve had a bad day, compared to her magnificent serving of the first week where she was broken only once, in the first round. But Flavia broke her four times, just as Maria broke Flavia four times. Maria certainly wouldn't get away with this in the semi-finals or the final.

Maria's form has fluctuated wildly from match to match, both at Birmingham and here. We just don't know whether the brilliant Maria or a lacklustre Maria is going to show up on any given day. The one thing she can always rely on is her mental strength and fighting spirit, which got her through today.

It was extremely hot today (by English standards). I wouldn't say that puts Maria at a huge disadvantage, but I'm sure she would prefer it to be a little cooler. Apparently Flavia's home-town Brindisi is right up there with Australia when it comes to extreme heat!


Before the match, Maria said, "She must be playing good, solid tennis. I've got to expect the best from her.

"I feel like I'm starting new. When the points get a bit long, I feel I'm more in control, whereas on clay I felt a little bit out of it."


First Set:
SHARAPOV * * *@__* *_ 7(7)
PENNETTA _* *__@* * * 6(5)

The match started at 12:10 BST on Court 2, and I watched it all on BBCi and BBC 2 - but I only watched it properly up to 6-5* in the first set, when Hantuchová v Henin started and I had to supervise the simultaneous recording of both matches.

Sam Smith said Flavia should enjoy this match because she loves pace, but Maria's power might just be too much for her. Flavia would have to take more risks than she usually does.

The on-court scoreboard spelled Flavia's surname as "Pannetta"! Flavia won the toss and elected to receive.

Maria serving 0-0: Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Flavia forehand just wide. 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0. Double fault (just wide). 40/15. Maria netted a forehand - forced by a deep forehand return. 40/30. Service-winner out wide.

Sam Smith said the sound of the ball off Maria's racket was so sweet - striking the ball so purely.

Flavia serving 0-1: Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. Flavia mishit backhand long. 15/15. Flavia netted a forehand. 15/30. Maria netted a backhand. 30/30. Maria netted a forehand return. 40/30. Flavia backhand long. 40/40. Ace down the middle. Ad Flavia. A deep forehand return forced Flavia to net a backhand. Deuce #2. Maria forehand long. Ad Flavia. Maria backhand return-winner down the line. Deuce #3. Maria netted a forehand. Ad Flavia. She came to the net, forcing Maria to net a forehand.

Sam Smith praised Flavia's groundstrokes and ability to move her opponent around, but said she had little variety. She praised the way Flavia fights for every point, especially when down in a game. Unfortunately for Flavia, Maria has that mentality in spades, and has so much more sheer power than Flavia.

Maria serving 1-1: Flavia netted a backhand. 15/0. Flavia netted a backhand after trying not so successfully to move Maria around. 30/0. Flavia netted a forehand. 40/0. Flavia pulled Maria wide with a crosscourt backhand, forcing her to hit a backhand long. 40/15. Service-winner.

Flavia serving 1-2: Flavia deep crosscourt forehand winner just inside the baseline - the forehand is her stronger side. 15/0. Flavia hit a beautiful backhand drop-volley winner. 30/0. Maria forehand just wide. 40/0. Flavia hit an incredible forehand dropshot-winner from behind the baseline.

Maria serving 2-2: Maria netted a forehand. 0/15. 15/15. Maria hit a deep, error-forcing forehand. 30/15. Maria wild backhand very long. 30/30. Flavia cracked a crosscourt forehand return-winner. 30/40 (BP). Flavia netted a backhand. 40/40. Maria backhand wide by a whisker. Ad Flavia (BP #2). Second serve. Flavia netted a backhand return. Deuce #2. Double fault (just long). Ad Flavia (BP #3). Maria lived dangerously with a crosscourt backhand winner plumb on the baseline! Deuce #3. Maria hit a deep, error-forcing backhand on the baseline, and Flavia didn't like the lack of a call. Ad Maria. After a long baseline-rally, Flavia hit a backhand wide and Maria shouted a very loud "c'mon".

Who would have thought the first break-points would go to Flavia? She's played very well so far, but a bit tame on the break-points. Maria "takes the business of holding her serve very seriously" [Sam Smith].

Maria's not exactly playing badly, but she has a tougher match on her hands than I had imagined. I must admit that I tend to be less critical of Maria's performance when she's playing someone I find attractive! ;)

Flavia serving 2-3: Maria netted a forehand return. 15/0. Double fault. 15/15. Maria netted a forehand. 30/15. Flavia netted a forehand. 30/30. Flavia forehand wide. 30/40 (BP). Maria broke with a crosscourt forehand winner and another "c'mon".

And therein lies the difference: Flavia had three break-points but was rather tame; Maria needed only one break-point and she really went for it!

Maria serving 2-4: Double fault. 0/15. Maria backhand wide. 0/30. Double fault. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria netted a forehand.

A really dreadful game to give Flavia the break back, but it happens to the best of players. The problem is, it could be difficult for Maria to reestablish the break if Flavia continues to play as well as she's doing.

Flavia serving 3-4: Deep service-winner. 15/0. Flavia went behind Maria with a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Flavia went for a rather saucy backhand dropshot from the baseline, and netted it. 30/15. Maria netted a forehand. 40/15. Maria hit a forehand long, and hit a ball in frustration.

Maria serving 4-4: Maria hit a deep, error-forcing forehand. 15/0. Maria off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Maria forehand very long. 30/15. Double fault. 30/30. Flavia forehand return wide. 40/30. Flavia backhand long.

Well I certainly can criticise Maria's performance now: she's serving poorly compared to her magnificent serving of the first week, and is hitting approximately twice as many unforced errors as winners (6:14), while Flavia's W:UE ratio is approximately even (7:9).

Flavia serving to stay in the first set at 4-5: Maria came to the net but netted a backhand volley - really didn't look natural at all. 15/0. Double fault. 15/15. Maria backhand winner down the line, right in the corner. 15/30. Two service-winners. 30/40 (SP). Maria forehand wide. 40/40. Huge service-winner down the middle. Ad Flavia. She hit a beautiful backhand winner down the line, very close to the sideline.

Maria serving 5-5: Maria forehand wide. 0/15. Ace out wide (called wide but overruled). 15/15. Maria crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. Double fault. 30/30. Maria netted a backhand. 30/40 (BP). Flavia netted a backhand. 40/40. Flavia netted a forehand. Ad Maria. Flavia netted a forehand.

And at this point I had to stop taking notes to deal with a three-way clash between Sharapova v Pennetta, Hantuchová v Henin-Hardenne and Vaidišová v Li. That will have to wait for my extended Wimbledon report (ETA late August 2006).


I saw the following play on Today at Wimbledon:

Maria won the first set when Flavia hit a forehand long.

Flavia serving for the second set at 5-3: Serve + forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Flavia forehand just wide (Maria ran her side to side). 15/15. Flavia backhand just long. 15/30. Flavia ran down a dropshot and hit a backhand pass-winner down the line. 30/30. Maria hit a blazing forehand return, forcing Flavia to hit a forehand wide. 30/40 (BP). Maria mishit backhand long. 40/40. Maria crosscourt forehand virtual winner. Ad Maria (BP #2). Maria forehand wide. Deuce #2. Maria drilled a backhand pass right into Flavia's body, forcing her to miss a forehand volley. Ad Maria (BP #3). Service-winner. Deuce #3. Flavia hit a stunning backhand winner down the line. Ad Flavia (SP #1). Flavia made Maria run for a forehand and net it. Maria's grunting in that game was extremely loud!

Maria serving for the match at 5-3 in the third: 30/30. Maria hit a forehand drop-volley winner. 40/30 (MP). Maria hit a stunning forehand down the line to set up an equally stunning backhand winner down the line. Maria won 7-6 (7/5) 3-6 6-3 at 14:37.


Maria: "I didn't feel like I was playing my best tennis, and in the end it all came down to how much I fought. It wasn't really about how good or bad I played, or how good she played, because she played extremely well. I just fought.

"I'm definitely going to have to step it up for my next match."

------------------
Quarter-final draw
------------------

* ANASTASIA MYSKINA [9] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [1] (davai Anastasia!)
* MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7] (DAVAI MARIA!!)
* Séverine Brémond [Q] v JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE [3] (allez Séverine!)
* LI,NA [27] v KIM CLIJSTERS [2] (jia you Na!)

With Dementieva's weak serve, it's no wonder Maria leads their head-to-head 4-1:
+ 2003 Birmingham qf: Sharapova 2-6 7-6 6-2
- 2003 Shanghai qf: Dementieva 4-6 6-7
+ 2004 Rome 2r: Sharapova 6-1 6-4
+ 2004 Zurich sf: Sharapova 4-6 6-2 6-3
+ 2006 Indian Wells final: Sharapova 6-1 6-2

If Maria serves as well as she did in the first week, it should be another easy win. But if she serves like she did today, it could be a scrappy match of break and counterbreak like Dementieva's first three matches:
1r + Sania Mirza, 7-6 (7/5) 7-5
2r + Meghann Shaughnessy, 5-7 6-3 7-5
3r + ELENA LIKHOVTSEVA [24], 7-5 6-3
4r + Shenay Perry, 6-2 6-0

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

Centre Court (start 13:00 BST = 12:00 GMT)
1. WS qf: MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7]
2. WS qf: LI,NA [27] v KIM CLIJSTERS [2]
(followed by men's doubles)

Full order of play:
http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://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
Jul 6th, 2006, 02:55 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://www.wimbledon.org/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/)
Quarter-finals
--------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7], 6-1 6-4

It was a magnificent performance from Maria, and Dementieva looked totally out of her depth (I just don't understand how she manages to hold down a top-ten ranking with that serve, to be honest).

Until Maria led 6-1 4-0* (40/30), that is. Then she let Dementieva back into the match, and Dementieva even had two break-points to level up at 4-4! But a couple of cheap forehand return-errors let Maria off the hook for 5-3, and she served it out to love at 5-4.

Before the match, Maria said, "She's very fit and strong, and gets a lot of balls back. I'll have to be ready for another big fight."

The match started at 13:10 BST on Centre Court, and I watched it all on BBC 2. Here are my comments as I wrote them at the time:


First Set:
SHARAPOVA *@* *@* 6
DEMENTIEV ___*___ 1

Maria serving 0-0: Maria backhand long. 0/15. Maria forehand just long. 0/30. Dementieva netted a forehand return. 15/30. Dementieva backhand long. 30/30. Maria netted a backhand. 30/40 (BP). Dementieva forehand long. 40/40. Dementieva netted a forehand. Ad Maria. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner.

Chris Bradnam: "Dementieva is a prolific breaker of serve - and she needs to be!"

Dementieva serving 0-1: Dementieva backhand long. 0/15. And again. 0/30. Maria forehand long. 15/30. Maria netted a forehand off an awkward low sliced backhand from Dementieva. 30/30. Maria crosscourt backhand winner. 30/40 (BP). Dementieva netted a forehand.

Maria serving 2-0: Dementieva backhand winner down the line. 0/15. Dementieva forehand lob just long. 15/15. Dementieva off-forehand winner. 15/30. Maria hit an error-forcing forehand and said "c'mon". 30/30. Service-winner. 40/30. Maria netted a forehand. 40/40. Ace out wide. Ad Maria. Maria forehand long. Deuce #2. Service-winner. Ad Maria. And again.

Dementieva serving 0-3: Two double faults. 0/30. Dementieva played a spreading rally with a virtual backhand winner down the line. 15/30. Dementieva crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Service-winners.

Maria serving 3-1: Dementieva forehand return long. 15/0. Maria virtual backhand winner down the line. 30/0. Service-winner. 40/0. Serve + backhand volley-winner.

Dementieva serving 1-4: Dementieva forehand wide. 0/15. Dementieva crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Maria crosscourt forehand return-winner. 15/30. Double fault. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria netted a forehand return. 30/40 (BP). Double fault.

Maria serving for the first set at 5-1: Two service-winners. 30/0. Maria forehand wide. 30/15. Dementieva netted a forehand (forced by the width of a crosscourt forehand). 40/15 (2 SPs). Dementieva netted a forehand return to lose the first set 6-1 at 13:37.


Second Set:
SHARAPOVA @*@*___* * 6
DEMENTIEV ____*@* *_ 4

Dementieva serving 0-0: Maria hit a huge forehand return which. 0/15. Maria pulled Dementieva out of court and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 0/30. Dementieva netted a backhand. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria defended well, and Dementieva netted a forehand.

This match started with tough deucy games, but it's in danger of running away from Dementieva now, who now looks as far out of her depth as Anna Smashnova did in the first round.

Maria serving 1-0: Dementieva forehand long. 15/0. Maria came to the net, but Dementieva blasted a crosscourt backhand pass which clipped Maria's racket. 15/15. Maria came in and hit a backhand volley-winner crosscourt. 30/15. Dementieva forehand long. 40/15. Dementieva forehand long.

Dementieva serving 0-2: Dementieva forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Dementieva forehand just long. 15/15. Maria backhand volley wide. 30/15. Double fault (just long). 30/30. Dementieva netted a forehand. 30/40 (BP). Dementieva backhand wide.

The scoreline is reflected in the noises: Maria's aggressive roaring versus Dementieva's increasingly anxious squeaks as she tries to retrieve wide balls.

A streaker invaded Centre Court, and was marched off by police. His name wasn't by any chance Thomas Baredick? ;)

Maria serving 3-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Maria backhand wide. 15/15. Maria forced a short ball and hit an easy backhand winner down the line. 30/15. Double fault. 30/30. Service-winner. 40/30. Maria forehand just wide. 40/40. Maria forehand winner down the line. Ad Maria. Service-winner.

Tracy Austin: "Maria's playing extremely well, Dementieva a level or two below what she can."

Dementieva serving 0-4: Dementieva hit a deep, error-forcing crosscourt forehand. 15/0. Double fault. 15/15. Dementieva backhand wide. 15/30. Maria netted a forehand. 30/30. Dementieva netted a forehand. 30/40 (BP). Dementieva saved it with a forehand smash-winner. 40/40. Service-winner out wide. Ad Dementieva. Maria crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #2. Maria backhand long. Ad Dementieva. Maria forehand just long.

Maria serving 4-1: Maria backhand long. Maria changed her racket. 0/15. Dementieva netted a backhand. 15/15. Dementieva blasted a forehand return long and wide. 30/15. Double fault. 30/30. Dementieva hit a deep, error-forcing forehand. 30/40 (BP). Double fault.

I wonder if Maria's getting a little overexcited, like I am? She's got to be careful now, because she lost from 6-1 4-2 up against Dinara Safina at Moscow 2005.

Dementieva serving 4-2: Service-winner. 15/0. Maria forehand long. 30/0. Dementieva crosscourt backhand winner. 40/0. Maria sprayed a forehand return wide.

This match has a rather different complexion now that Maria has lost three games in a row. It goes without saying that she has to focus on her next service-game.

Maria serving 4-3: Dementieva hit an error-forcing forehand return onto the baseline. 0/15. Ace down the middle. 15/15. Dementieva off-forehand winner - earlier in the rally, Maria let a ball bounce that she should certainly have volleyed. 15/30. Maria hit a forehand volley, and Dementieva netted a forehand pass. 30/30. Maria netted a forehand. 30/40 (BP). Deep second service-winner. 40/40. Maria's backhand hit the netcord and fell back on her side. Ad Dementieva (BP #2). Dementieva netted a forehand return she should have made. Deuce #2. Service-winner out wide. Ad Maria. Dementieva backhand long.

I'm relieved that Dementieva let Maria off the hook with a couple of cheap forehand return-errors there, because I sense a little bit of panic creeping into Maria's game now.

Dementieva serving to stay in the match at 3-5: Maria netted a forehand. 15/0. Maria netted a forehand return. 30/0. Maria hit a deep, error-forcing backhand. 30/15. Dementieva netted a forehand. 30/30. Dementieva hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 40/30. Maria netted a cheap forehand return.

Maria looks a bit nervous at the changeover IMO, perhaps remembering how she choked from 5-1 up against Safina at the French Open, and certainly remembering that she had a break-point for 5-0.

Maria serving for the match at 5-4: Dementieva netted a forehand. 15/0. Service-winner. 30/0. Dementieva backhand just long. 40/0 (3 MPs). Dementieva netted a forehand return to win 6-1 6-4 at 14:20.


Maria: "I definitely played a lot better, and I knew I had to if I wanted to win. I knew I needed to be really sharp, because I've always had tough battles with Elena. I got off to a good start, put a lot of pressure on her serves. I had a bit of a letdown in the second set, but I'm really happy to be in the semis again.

[Re. criticism of her grunting]
"I try not to let things bother me or distract me. When I am on court, it is my job to get it done and to do it well."

Dementieva: "Personally, I think it's a little bit too much, but that's the way she's been playing for a long time, and the tour has allowed her to do such a noise. I think the umpire should step in and make her come down a little bit."

Keep grunting, Maria! :)

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

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [1] (DAVAI MARIA!!)
* JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE [3] v KIM CLIJSTERS [2] (allez Justine!)

I'll be very tense for Maria v Mauresmo, as it pits my favourite and least-favourite players of 2006 against each other. Beauty and the Beast. Flairsome power v muscular power. Light against dark. Winner take all.

Mauresmo won the Australian Open 2006, but only on a technicality. She had retirements in the third round, semi-final and final. So she's a faux Grand Slam champion, hence a faux number one.

Mauresmo leads their head-to-head 2-0, but neither match really counts. The first was a dead round-robin match in the 2004 WTA Tour Championships. The second was a semi-final of the 2005 WTA Tour Championships, but Maria was struggling with her infamous shoulder-injury.

Mauresmo could put pressure on Maria by coming to the net, but it all depends which Maria shows up on the day: the one who struggled against Flavia Pennetta, or the one who crushed Elena Dementieva.

Mauresmo has reached the semi-finals with the following results:
1r + Ivana Abramovic [Q], 6-0 6-0
2r + Samantha Stosur, 6-4 6-2
3r + Nicole Pratt, 6-1 6-2
4r + ANA IVANOVIC [19], 6-3 6-4
qf + ANASTASIA MYSKINA [9], 6-1 3-6 6-3

--------------------------
Order of play for Thursday
--------------------------

Centre Court (start 13:00 BST = 12:00 GMT)
1. WS sf: JUSTINE HENIN-HARDENNE [3] v KIM CLIJSTERS [2]
2. WS sf: MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [1]
3. XD qf: unknown v ZHENG/MIRNYI [2]

Full order of play:
http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/scores/schedule/)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://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
Jul 10th, 2006, 07:49 PM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://www.wimbledon.org/ (http://www.wimbledon.org/)
Semi-final (Thursday 6th July)
----------

- MARIA SHARAPOVA [4] lt. AMÉLIE MAURESMO [1], 3-6 6-3 2-6

It was a very sporadic performance from Maria, and Mauresmo induced it to be so by serving and volleying, and negating Maria's abilities by hitting balls down the middle of the court to rob her of angles, and using heavy topspin and slice to rob her of pace.

Maria came in quite a lot in this match, but was let down by some poor volleys. Her movement, while much improved this year, also let her down in certain circumstances (as documented below). But it's just so frustrating how she oscillates between playing well enough to dominate the tour, and playing lacklustrely (error-strewn and lacking penetration).

Rowland Goodman: "A guy who sat next to me watching Wozniaki's [sic] girls singles semifinal told me that he had watched Sharapova's ladies semifinal live on centre-court yesterday. he said that Sharapova had defeated herself by trying to run down all balls regardless of whether it was possible to reach them or not."


Maria looked to be sliding towards an embarrassing scoreline at 3-6 *1-3 (0/40), but Mauresmo's famous choking-tendencies resurfaced as she became very passive, and Maria reeled off five games in a row to take the second set with brilliant aggressive tennis.

Maria had all the momentum going into the third set, but Mauresmo took a six-minute toilet-break, and the match turned again on a five-deuce game on Maria's serve at 0-1. Mauresmo surged to a 4-0 lead with relentless retrieving, no longer giving away cheap points, and taking the pace off the ball so that Maria had to generate it herself, and Maria's game unravelled in a series of unforced errors.

Maria fought back ferociously to make it 2-4, but missed a break-point that would have put her back on serve at 3-4. Instead she had to serve to stay in the match at 2-5, and three narrow misses gave Mauresmo her first match-point. Maria saved it with an amazing two-handed high backhand drive-volley winner, but Mauresmo got a second match-point and Maria missed a forehand.


I have ashes in my mouth after this defeat. Maria's wait for a second Grand Slam final goes beyond the two-year mark - far too long for a player of her amazing combination of power and mental strength - and she's now lost the last five Grand Slam semi-finals she's reached.

Same old story, I'm afraid: Maria goes into a Grand Slam desperately lacking match-play due to injury, and gets to the semi-finals only to lose in three sets to a top player at the top of her form. She's now 0-3 against Mauresmo, 0-4 against Kim Clijsters, and 1-4 against Justine Henin-Hardenne.

The good news is that we shouldn't have to worry too much about her old injuries resurfacing: we've heard no more about her shoulder-injury after she found a doctor who manipulated the ligaments, and the ankle-injury was just one of those things.


The match started at 14:56 BST on Centre Court, and I watched it all on BBC 1. Here are my comments as I wrote them at the time:


First Set:
SHARAPOV _* * *___ 3
MAURESMO * * * *@* 6

Mauresmo serving 0-0: First volley backhand long. 0/15. Maria backhand lob just long. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. First volley crosscourt forehand forced Maria into error. 40/15. Maria chipped and charged, but hit a poor forehand volley long and wide. Mauresmo's tactics are clearly to serve and volley.

Maria serving 0-1: Mauresmo earthed a sliced backhand. 15/0. Maria netted a backhand. 15/15. Mauresmo backhand return floated long. 30/15. Ace out wide. 40/15. Maria netted a backhand. 40/30. Mauresmo dead netcord backhand winner. 40/40. Maria came in behind a short-angled crosscourt backhand, and Mauresmo sprayed a backhand pass wide. Ad Maria. Ace out wide.

Mauresmo serving 1-1: Maria got her return to Mauresmo's feet, and hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 0/15. Maria forehand wide. 15/15. Maria forehand just wide. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Maria ran down a dropshot and hit a backhand winner down the line, onto the baseline. 40/30. Mauresmo first-volley backhand winner.

The commentators said that Mauresmo absorbs Maria's power very well, and can mess her up with slice.

Maria serving 1-2: Maria sliced backhand just long. 0/15. Service-winner. 15/15. Mauresmo crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Ace out wide. 40/30. Mauresmo netted a forehand return.

Mauresmo serving 2-2: Mauresmo served and volleyed, but Maria came up with a spectacular forehand drive-volley pass-winner! 0/15. Ace. 15/15. Maria forehand return wide. 30/15. Maria netted a forehand return. 40/15. Mauresmo served and stayed back, then tried to come in but Maria whipped a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 40/30. Maria backhand just long.

Maria serving 2-3: Maria hit a beautiful forehand drop-volley winner. 15/0. Maria forehand long. 15/15. Maria backhand winner down the line off a short ball. 30/15. Two service-winners.

Mauresmo serving 3-3: Maria forehand return long. 15/0. Service-winner. 30/0. Mauresmo crosscourt backhand winner. 40/0. Maria crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 40/15. Ace down the middle.

Maria serving 3-4: Maria netted a forehand. 0/15. Mauresmo forehand winner down the middle (Maria forehand airshot!). 0/30. Maria forehand wide. 0/40 (3 BPs). She saved the first with an ace out wide. 15/40. Mauresmo netted a makeable forehand return. 30/40. Maria came in behind a deep crosscourt backhand, forcing Mauresmo to hit a backhand pass wide. 40/40. Maria wild forehand long. Ad Maria (BP #4). Maria forehand long.

Now Mauresmo's heavy topspin is beginning to affect Maria - Mauresmo just bunting balls back, just blunting Maria's abilities.

Mauresmo serving for the first set at 5-3: Maria forehand return wide. 15/0. Mauresmo forehand pass-winner down the line (narrow gap!). 30/0. Ace down the middle. 40/0 (3 SPs). Maria hit a beautiful forehand pass-winner down the line behind Mauresmo. 40/15 (SP #2). Double fault. 40/30 (SP #3). Maria forehand volley just long. Mauresmo won the first set 6-3 at 15:30.

The good news is that Mauresmo also won the first set in the semi-finals of the last two Wimbledons, but lost both matches - she has never at the age of 27 reached a Grand Slam final outside the Australian Open.


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

Maria serving 0-0: Ace out wide. 15/0. Mauresmo crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 30/0. Mauresmo forehand wide. 30/15. Mauresmo hit a deep, error-forcing forehand - Maria still needs to improve her defensive movement. 30/30. Maria netted an awful backhand. 30/40 (BP). Mauresmo hit a forehand volley-winner after an amazing forwards and backwards rally.

Mauresmo serving 1-0: 15/0. Maria hit an error-forcing forehand down the line. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. Maria backhand pass-winner down the line. 30/30. Double fault. 30/40 (BP). Mauresmo forehand just long.

Maria serving 1-1: 15/0. Service-winner. 30/0. Maria netted a forehand volley off a return at her feet. 30/15. Maria netted a backhand volley off a sneaky ball that glided low over the net, and shouted "oh!". 30/30. Maria looked in control coming in behind a crosscourt forehand, but looked leaden-footed as Mauresmo hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 30/40 (BP). Double fault.

It's degenerated into a set of break and counterbreak.

Mauresmo serving 2-1: Ace out wide. 15/0. Mauresmo forehand volley wide - great return. 15/15. Maria forehand return just wide. 30/15. Ace down the middle. 40/15. Serve + forehand volley-winner.

Now we just have to believe that Maria's far greater mental strength will turn this match around.

Maria serving 1-3: Maria hit an awful chopped forehand volley long. 0/15. Maria forehand just long. Maria "looking a little rattled, and that is so rare" [Tracy Austin]. 0/30. Maria backhand just wide. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria hit a forehand drive-volley winner off an awkward skyscraper-lob. 15/40. Mauresmo netted a choky-looking forehand. 30/40. Mauresmo forehand just long. 40/40. Maria played a spreading rally, with a crosscourt forehand that forced Mauresmo to net a forehand. Ad Maria. Mauresmo hit a stunning backhand pass-winner down the line off an awkward low ball from Maria. Deuce #2. Maria hit an error-forcing forehand approach down the line. Ad Maria. She hit an off-forehand winner.

Vital hold for Maria - 1-4* would have been almost beyond hope, not to mention an embarrassing scoreline (for a minute there I feared 3-6 1-6).

Mauresmo serving 3-2: Service-winner (Maria yelled "make it!" after missing a forehand return). 15/0. Double fault. 15/15. Maria hit a lob, Mauresmo reached it with a high forehand, and Maria hit an amazing crosscourt forehand winner on the run! 15/30. Mauresmo forehand just long. 15/40 (2 BPs). Double fault.

What a change in the momentum of this match! Maria much more intense, Mauresmo hitting tame shots long. I now believe that Maria's going to win this match.

Maria serving 3-3: 15/0. Mauresmo forehand just long. 30/0. Maria netted a forehand. 30/15. Maria hit a blazing off-forehand winner. 40/15. Mauresmo netted a backhand.

Mauresmo serving 3-4: Maria hit a loopy, error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 15/0. Maria forehand return wide. 15/15. Double fault. 15/30. Maria forehand return long and wide. 30/30. Double fault. 30/40 (BP). Maria netted a forehand return, and Mauresmo screamed a deep, manly scream to release tension. 40/40. Mauresmo hit a deep, error-forcing forehand. Ad Mauresmo. She netted a backhand volley. Deuce #2. Mauresmo backhand long (forced by depth). Ad Maria (BP). Maria came to the net, and I watched with wide eyes as she hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line.

All Mauresmo's fluency has deserted her, and Maria's got the bit between her teeth now.

Maria serving for the second set at 5-3: Double fault. 0/15. Mauresmo backhand lob wide (Maria at the net). 15/15. Mauresmo backhand long. 30/15. Maria hit a crosscourt backhand winner at the end of a long, tense rally in which Maria stopped grunting - she must have a pretty sore throat by now! ;) 40/15 (2 SPs). Maria forehand wide. 40/30 (SP #2). Maria forehand long (forced by a low sliced backhand). 40/40. Maria off-forehand winner. Ad Maria (SP #3). Double fault. Deuce #2. Mauresmo netted a backhand pass off an awkward sliced backhand from Maria. Ad Maria (SP #4). Mauresmo forehand just long - it was really close, and a strangled call. Maria won the second set 6-3 at 16:16.

Five games in a row from 3-6 1-3! Mauresmo has the advantage of serving first in the third, but Maria has all the momentum and mental strength.

Mauresmo took a toilet-break (Maria didn't), and play resumed at 16:22.


Third Set:
SHARAPOV ____@*__ 2
MAURESMO *@*@__*@ 6

Mauresmo serving 0-0: Maria forehand return-winner down the line. 0/15. Double fault. 0/30. Maria forehand just long. 15/30. Maria netted a crosscourt backhand. 30/30. Maria forehand wide. 40/30. Maria backhand long.

Simon Reed said that it could be a disadvantage for Maria to go up a break, as she's not a good front-runner. I totally disagree - apart from the Safina matches at Moscow 2005 and the French Open 2006, she's a fearsome frontrunner.

Maria serving 0-1: Mauresmo netted a backhand. 15/0. Maria opened the court with a crosscourt backhand onto the sideline, giving herself an easy backhand volley-winner. 30/0. Mauresmo forehand on the sideline forced Maria to hit a backhand wide - another weakness remaining in Maria's movement. 30/15. Maria forehand just long. 30/30. Maria crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline; "c'mon". 40/30. Maria forehand pass wide. 40/40. Mauresmo hit a defensive backhand lob which dropped in for a winner. Ad Mauresmo (BP). Maria saved it with an ace down the middle. Deuce #2. Maria hit a forehand drive-volley winner down the line after hitting a forehand down the line that landed right on the baseline. Ad Maria. She sprayed a wild forehand wide. Deuce #3. Maria slugged a backhand wide after Mauresmo kept floating the ball back. Ad Mauresmo (BP #2). Mauresmo retrieved relentlessly until her backhand floated long. Deuce #4. Maria backhand winner down the line off a short lob from Mauresmo. "C'mon!" Ad Maria. Maria backhand long. Deuce #5. Maria fretted too much over the call on her first serve, hit a second-serve let, then double-faulted. Ad Mauresmo (BP #3). Maria forehand just long.

And suddenly out of nowhere, the momentum is back with Mauresmo as well as the early lead. She's no longer giving away cheap points, her spins making Maria generate all the pace.

Mauresmo serving 2-0: Mauresmo backhand volley long. 0/15. Serve + forehand drop-volley virtual winner which had Maria squeaking cutely as she attempted to run it down. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Maria hit a forehand return-winner down the line and yelled "c'mon". 40/30. Mauresmo netted a backhand. 40/40. Mauresmo forehand drop-volley winner. Ad Mauresmo. Ace out wide.

Vital for Maria to hold in the next game if she's going to turn this match around - again.

Maria serving 0-3: Maria netted a backhand volley after Mauresmo ran down a dropshot and drilled a forehand right into her body. 0/15. Maria forehand just long - hardly grunting now. 0/30. Service-winner. 15/30. Maria netted a first volley backhand. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 30/40. Mauresmo backhand long. 40/40. Maria netted a backhand. Ad Mauresmo (BP #3). Double fault.

Mauresmo serving 4-0: Maria went into super-overdrive with a fierce forehand return to set up an 88mph crosscourt winner that was too fast for me to see. 0/15. Maria hit a pinpoint forehand into Mauresmo's backhand corner to force an error. 0/30. Serve + crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 15/30. Maria hit an error-forcing off-forehand. 15/40 (2 BPs). Service-winner down the middle. 30/40. Maria went for it too much and netted a backhand. 40/40. Mauresmo backhand wide. Ad Maria (BP #3). Maria off-forehand return-winner.

Mauresmo's getting passive again as Maria is forcing the best out of herself, with power so audacious that any other player who attempted it would self-destruct in a hail of unforced errors. Except Monica Seles.

It's no longer about the size of Mauresmo's lead - it's about her self-belief, how passive she is, and how often Maria's shots will break down as she fights for every game.

Maria serving 1-4: Maria hit an awful forehand halfway up the net. 0/15. Mauresmo backhand wide. 15/15. Mauresmo forehand long. 30/15. Maria netted a tame backhand after a gruntless rally. 30/30. Mauresmo crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 30/40 (BP). Maria backhand winner down the line. 40/40. Maria hit a booming forehand winner on the baseline - called long but overruled as good (no replay because Mauresmo didn't have a play on it). Maria crosscourt forehand winner.

Mauresmo serving 4-2: A blazing crosscourt forehand return forced Mauresmo to net a backhand volley. 0/15. Maria got her return at Mauresmo's feet, but couldn't stop Mauresmo hitting a backhand volley-winner later on. 15/15. Maria forehand lob-winner on the baseline. 15/30. Service-winner down the middle. 30/30. Maria hit an off-forehand winner, bent her knees and said "c'mon". 30/40 (BP). Saved with a 112mph ace out wide. 40/40. Maria forehand return wide. Ad Mauresmo. Mauresmo backhand long by a whisker. Deuce #2. Maria netted a forehand return. Ad Mauresmo. Maria backhand lob long.

What a shame. At *3-4 Maria would have had a distinct advantage because of her mental strength, but a nasty hole she's in at *2-5. But this is certainly a match that's never over till it's over.

Maria serving to stay in the match at 2-5 (new balls): Maria hit a lovely forehand round-arm smash-winner. 15/0. Maria went for a big forehand but it was just wide. 15/15. Mauresmo forehand long. 30/15. Maria forehand just long. 30/30. Maria went for an off-forehand winner, but it was just wide. 30/40 (MP). Maria hit a desperately short second serve, but saved herself with an amazing two-handed high backhand drive-volley winner! 40/40. Maria netted a backhand volley - right in position, but the ball was low and awkward. Ad Mauresmo (MP #2). Second serve. Maria forehand long and wide. Mauresmo won 6-3 3-6 6-2 at 17:10.


Maria's wait for a second Grand Slam final continues. She's now 1-5 in Grand Slam semi-finals. At least she "left everything out there on the court" [Tracy Austin].


Maria: "I had chances. Sometimes she came up with good serve or I missed an inch or two here and there goes the match.

"But it's not a setback. I take every loss as a new beginning. I'll go back onto the practice-courts and keep working on the things I need to.

"Every loss teaches me a lot. There are lots of things I have to improve to beat the top players. I need to be patient against the top players, and you have to take your opportunities against them."


Mauresmo: "It was so tight in the second set, and I was just thinking about getting to the final. I was relieved at the end I was able to come back strongly and change the momentum that was in her favour."

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

furrykitten
Jul 10th, 2006, 08:51 PM
Thanks for all your efforts andrew :)

johnoo
Jul 10th, 2006, 09:54 PM
Thanks for all your efforts andrew :)
yeah must take a lot of work.

andrewbroad
Dec 7th, 2006, 01:30 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://championships.wimbledon.org/ (http://championships.wimbledon.org/)

I have finally got round to starting my extended reports of Maria's Wimbledon-campaign, where I go through my videos with a fine pause-key, writing up a detailed description of every point! For those of you familiar with the original reports that I posted during the Championships, I've also added statistics, and links to full press-conferences.

So I now present the first match I have written up:
Maria Sharapova v Anna Smashnova:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html)

I'll probably go back and do Birmingham in February 2007 - after the Australian Open - unless I can still fit it into my pre-AO schedule, which has become very tight.

I have acquired Maria's US Open matches on DVD from Tennis Videos International (http://www.users.bigpond.com/tennisvideos1/), and writing them up is next in the queue after Wimbledon, Birmingham, and the Australian Open 2007.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/) (added 1 external link)

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
Dec 15th, 2006, 02:39 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://championships.wimbledon.org/ (http://championships.wimbledon.org/)

I have just uploaded my extended report of Maria's second-round match against Ashley Harkleroad, with a blow-by-blow description of every point, and a word-by-word transcription of her BBC studio-interview with Sue Barker, to:

http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html)

They've finally given Maria a nice new photo for her WTA Tour profile at
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/players/playerprofiles/PlayerBio.asp?PlayerID=310137 (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/players/playerprofiles/PlayerBio.asp?PlayerID=310137) :)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/) (added 3 external links)

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
Dec 21st, 2006, 01:29 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://championships.wimbledon.org/ (http://championships.wimbledon.org/)

I have just uploaded my extended report of Maria's third-round match against Amy Frazier, with a blow-by-blow description of every point, to:

http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://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
Dec 30th, 2006, 02:04 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://championships.wimbledon.org/ (http://championships.wimbledon.org/)

I have just uploaded my extended report of Maria's fourth-round match against Flavia Pennetta, with a blow-by-blow description of every point, to:

http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html)

At the time, I had to stop taking notes at 6-5 in the first set to deal with a three-way clash, so my report is completely new from that point onwards.

On seeing the whole match properly for the first time, Flavia impressed me so much that I have decided to call myself a demi-fan - that is to say, I have added Flavia to my second tier of favourites:

Tier I - my Eternal Fanship:
1. Monica Seles
2. Maria Sharapova
3. Daniela Hantuchová
4. Jelena Dokic
5. Iva Majoli (retired)
6. Karina Habšudová (retired)
7. Iroda Tulyaganova
8. Vera Zvonarëva
9. Nicole Vaidišová
10. Anna Chakvetadze

Tier II - my casual demi-fanship:
11. Tatiana Golovin
12. Maria Kirilenko
13. Sania Mirza
14. Ana Ivanovic
15. Magdaléna Rybáriková
16. Karolina Šprem
17. Gisela Dulko
18. Flavia Pennetta

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://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
Jan 9th, 2007, 01:21 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://championships.wimbledon.org/ (http://championships.wimbledon.org/)

I have just uploaded my extended report of Maria's quarter-final against Elena Dementieva, with a blow-by-blow description of every point, and my transcripts of two BBC-interviews, to:

http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html)

I have also edited my extended report of Maria's fourth-round match against Flavia Pennetta, adding another Maria-quote that I have only just come across, and a link to Flavia's press-conference.

I'll post my Hong Kong report tomorrow, if all goes to plan (I'm on a very tight schedule of tasks I want to complete before the Australian Open starts).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://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
Jan 14th, 2007, 01:03 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, England; grass; Grand Slam)
================= http://championships.wimbledon.org/ (http://championships.wimbledon.org/)

It gives me great pleasure to announce that my extended reports of Maria's Wimbledon 2006 campaign are now complete, for this was a goal I strongly wished to achieve before the Australian Open gets underway! :D

I have just uploaded my extended report of Maria's semi-final against Amélie Mauresmo, with a blow-by-blow description of every point, and my transcripts of the relevant BBC-interviews, to:

http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/reports.html)

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