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andrewbroad
Oct 27th, 2006, 12:22 PM
(Transworld Sport may be televised in other countries, but the details in this message are specific to the UK.)

Watch out for highlights of the Zürich final in the next episode of Transworld Sport, which starts at 07:00 GMT* on Sunday 29th October, on Channel 4.
---
* 08:00 BST, for those who forget to put their clocks back!


I expect to post my Zürich reports early next week, as I'm incredibly busy now.

--
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://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/)

andrewbroad
Oct 31st, 2006, 12:35 AM
===========
ZÜRICH OPEN (Zürich, Switzerland; indoor hard; WTA Tier I)
=========== http://www.zurichopen.net/ (http://www.zurichopen.net/)

Maria won her fourth title (and third Tier I) of the year - the 14th WTA Tour or Grand Slam singles-title of her career - and extended her winning-streak (unbroken by the walkover at Moscow) to 12 matches.

Although I don't have access to Eurosport, a DVD of the semi-finals and final has come into my possession, so I have incorporated it into my reports - this one covers the matches before the final.

---------------
Photos & videos
---------------

On-court photos (Maria and recent opponents):
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=490 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=490) (HQs)
Search Getty Images for "sharapova"
http://www.zurichopen.net/ (http://www.zurichopen.net/)

I like the colour of Maria's dress. Purple is my favourite colour, and pink suits Maria so well.

Maria may have won the title without playing a seed, but at least all four of her opponents were good-looking! ;)


Off-court photos:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=zurich (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=zurich)
http://ch.tilllate.com/DE/tnpage.php?page=1&tim_orgid=0&mode=none&gid=480850&grid=0&chartmode=0&myalbumuid=0 (http://ch.tilllate.com/DE/tnpage.php?page=1&tim_orgid=0&mode=none&gid=480850&grid=0&chartmode=0&myalbumuid=0)

Miscellaneous photos:
http://www.mariasharapova.com/ (http://www.mariasharapova.com/)

Videos:
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=221386&page=100 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=221386&page=100)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA8e1N74OOo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA8e1N74OOo) (the Peer incident)

-------------------------------
Pretournament quotes from Maria
-------------------------------

[Re. legalising coaching during matches]
"Are they're doing that here? I didn't know. I don't support it. Our sport is an individual sport and you play by instinct. That's what makes it so good, is that you're the one who has to decide what you're going to do. If you're calling your coach down, it's a little strange. It's like you're telling your opponent, 'I need some help.'"

www.mariasharapova.com: (http://www.mariasharapova.com:) "My foot is still not perfect, but who can blame it! It's not like I am giving it much rest. As long as it's not getting worse, I will try to keep it under control."

Martina Hingis's blog for www.wtatour.com: (http://www.wtatour.com:) "Maria said she likes it here and loves Schnitzel and also that she was happy to not to be playing on ice, which is what this arena is usually used for".

------------
Second round (Thursday 19th October)
------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] d. Shahar Peer, 6-4 7-6 (7/4)

The match lasted over two hours, with Maria "playing like a chicken with its head cut off" [www.mariasharapova.com (http://www.mariasharapova.com/)].

There was a controversial incident with Shahar serving at 3-3 (30/15) in the first set. Waiting to receive a second serve, Maria appeared to back off and wipe her face as though she wasn't ready, and Shahar double-faulted. Shahar ordered the umpire to ask Maria if she had been ready, and Maria said "yes", so the point stood and it was 30/30. I must admit I was pleased to see that Shahar won that particular service-game, because I don't think it would have been a very fair match if that point had counted towards Maria's victory. There were at least six hate-threads about the incident on WTAworld.com General Messages as it was. :o

In Maria's defence, the umpire actually asked, "Were you not ready?", so Maria's "yes" could either have meant "yes, I was ready" or "yes, I was not ready"! I wonder what their reactions would have been, had Shahar hit a winning serve.

You can see an online video of the incident at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA8e1N74OOo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA8e1N74OOo)

Even from this, it's obvious that Shahar Peer hits the ball very well.


www.wtatour.com: (http://www.wtatour.com:) "The Russian, who had to retire last week in Moscow due to a right foot strain, trailed 4-3 in the first set and saved a set-point at 5-4 in the second."

www.zurichopen.net: (http://www.zurichopen.net:) "She had to save a break-point at 3-4 in the first set, and needed to recover her composure after being broken when serving for the match at 6-5. But the US Open champion had too much belief in the tiebreak, winning it 7/4."

www.mariasharapova.com: (http://www.mariasharapova.com:)
>>>
In the first set Maria broke in the 9th game to lead 5-4. Despite having a few break-points in the next game, Maria managed to hold her serve to take the set 6-4.

In the second set, after a series of breaks at the beginning, Peer had a set-point to take the set 6-4 but Maria saved it, and Maria broke to lead 6-5, but then dropped her serve to force a tiebreak. Maria took the tiebreak 7/4.
<<<

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

"I love the stadium. It's very nice, I feel the fans are pretty close to you. All the players like the stadium and the organisation, people have been tremendously nice, and that's always important, because some tournaments are tough.

"I was definitely struggling a little out there today. The court was slower than I expected, and my opponent played a lot better expected. She can definitely play.

"It was a little frustrating having to stop for five days [after Moscow]. You feel like you're starting out again from scratch. But the foot has been holding up well. Obviously, a two-hour match isn't going to help, but at this point I'm trying my best to stay healthy."

-------------
Quarter-final (Friday 20th October)
-------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] d. Timea Bacsinszky [Q], 6-4 6-3

Bacsinszky is an interesting-looking girl, with distinctive facial features that are growing on me. She's 17, but looks much older. She rose from #174 to #121 in the rankings after her run here.

Reuters: "Sharapova was rarely troubled by Bacsinszky, who nevertheless served well and occasionally caught the Russian unprepared with some well-struck short balls."

www.wtatour.com: (http://www.wtatour.com:) "Bacsinszky, a qualifier in her first ever Tier I quarterfinal, used a strong backhand and energy from the vocal crowd to play her way deep into both sets, but could not overcome the clutch play of the Russian, who extended her perfect record to 11-0 this year in quarterfinals."

www.mariasharapova.com: (http://www.mariasharapova.com:)
>>>
Maria broke Bacsinszky immediately in the first game, and had a couple of break-points to take the set at 5-3, but Maria held onto her serve and took the set 6-4.

The second set was a repeat of the first, as again Maria broke in the first game, and she broke again to lead 4-1. Bacsinszky managed to come back by taking the next 2 games, but Maria showed why is ranked where she is, and took the next 2 games to take the set and the match.
<<<

Maria quotes {before the match}
------------

"Not too much, I just saw her before the match, saw her play a couple of games. I need to feel her out over the first few games, and the sooner I figure her out the better."


Maria quotes {after the match}
------------

"My game is an improvement from yesterday, and as I play more and get more match-tough, I think I'll get better. It's better after you play more, move around more. After two matches, I'm in a groove and feeling better.

"It's an improvement from yesterday, but I wouldn't say it was completely comfortable. I had my ups and downs. In the second set I was up a break and kind of let her get back into the match a little bit, but I stayed tough.

"She played pretty well. She's a pretty big hitter and has a good backhand. She served quite big on her second serves, but when I had the opportunity I did well to put some pressure on her."


Bacsinszky quotes {before the match}
-----------------

1. "Ich spiele wahnsinnig gerne gegen Scharapowa."
ich = I
spielen = to play
wahnsinnig = {insane/mad/crazy/brilliant/terrible/awful/dreadful}
gerne = {with pleasure/willingly}
gegen = against
Scharapowa = Sharapova [German transliteration]

2. "Ich bewundere ihren schnellen Aufstieg in die Weltspitze."
bewundern = to admire
ihr = her
schnell = fast
Aufsteig = rise
in = {in/into/up to}
die Weltspitze = the top of the world

3. "Gegen sie kann ich völlig ohne Druck auf den Platz gehen und den Match zu 200 Prozent genießen."
sie = her
können = to be able to
völlig = complete
ohne = without
Druck = pressure
auf = on
der Platz = the court
gehen = to go
und = and
{der/das} Match = the match
zu = to
Prozent = percent
genießen = to enjoy

4. "Ich freue mich auf das Match, denn ich fühle mich in Zürich zu Hause."
sich auf ... freuen = to look forward to ...
denn = because
fühlen = to feel
zu Hause = at home

There's much more to natural-language translation than word-for-word substitution. One has to understand (sometimes with a bit of guesswork when unfamiliar idioms are used) what the source is trying to say, choose between multiple possible meanings, and think how best to express it in the target-language.

Andrew's translation: "I want to play brilliantly against Sharapova. I admire her fast rise to the top of the world. Against her, I can go onto court with no pressure, and enjoy the match 200%. I'm looking forward to the match because I feel at home in Zürich."


Bacsinszky quotes {after the match}
-----------------

"I'd seen her a lot on television, so she's been a lot in my head. In fact, I can say I've sort of idolised her, so it was great to be on the same court as her. In the end, I think her experience in the crucial moments made the difference, but I'll learn from this week."

----------
Semi-final (Saturday 21st October)
----------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] d. Katarina Srebotnik, 7-6 (7/3) 6-2

www.zurichopen.net (http://www.zurichopen.net) preview: "A former Wimbledon junior champion, [Srebotnik] lost her way in her early 20s largely because of a lack of financial support, but now in her mid-20s she is enjoying the best period of her career and has the game to beat Sharapova."

Srebotnik: "Her results speak for themselves. I have never beaten her, but records are there to be broken. I'm playing well right now, but it also depends on her. I defeated Dementieva yesterday and I had never beaten her either. I will try to be aggressive because if I don't, she will."


Articles
--------

www.wtatour.com: (http://www.wtatour.com:)
>>>
As the playing conditions quicken, certain players become even more threatening. That has certainly been the case for Maria Sharapova and Daniela Hantuchová, and on Saturday afternoon, both big-hitters powered through to the final of the indoor Zürich Open with impressive straight-set victories.

Sharapova, the No.2 seed at the prestigious $1.34-million event, was the first to advance to the championship match, stopping the run of an unseeded Katarina Srebotnik, 76(3) 62. The Russian teenager came close to dropping her first set in three career encounters with Srebotnik, facing a set-point trailing 6-5 in the opening set, but she pounded an ace, held, cruised in the tie-break and never looked back.

Although she has certainly been tested, Sharapova has reached the Zürich final without the loss of a set. Having been given a first round bye, she was pushed to the limits during a 64 76(4) win over Shahar Peer in her second round match, again saving set-point late in the second set. In the quarters she had another close two-setter, stopping the run of Swiss teenager Timea Bacsinszky, 64 63.

Throughout her young career, Sharapova has not only been a gritty competitor on big points during a match, she has also expanded that into the bigger picture, compiling an astouding finals record: she is a solid 13-4 in Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles finals. But one of the few blemishes on that record came here two years ago, where, seeded No.4 and a heavy favourite to capture her first Tier I title, she fell to an unseeded, surprise finalist Alicia Molik in three sets.
<<<

Reuters:
>>>
Once again she played an erratic match against an opponent who served well and played competently from the baseline, but lacked any weapon to cause the Russian real problems.

Sharapova dropped only two points on serve until, at 4-4, Srebotnik donated four errors to lose serve to love. Instead of building on the gift, however, Sharapova responded in kind and allowed Srebotnik to level at 5-5.

Srebotnik held a set-point at 6-5 which Sharapova saved with her fifth ace, and the Russian went on to take the tiebreak 7/3.

A crosscourt winner gave Sharapova a break to lead 2-0 in the second set, but Srebotnik broke back in the fifth game and Sharapova received a warning for coaching.

Raising her aggression level, Sharapova broke again for 4-2 by forcing a backhand error, and again for the match when she forced Srebotnik to net a backhand volley at close range.
<<<

Erica Bulman, AP Sports Writer:
>>>
Sharapova was forced from the quarter-finals in Moscow last week because of pain in her right foot. But she showed agility against Srebotnik and finished with 13 aces.

In the first-set tiebreak, Sharapova won the final five points, the last with an ace. Sharapova broke in the second set to lead 3-0. In the next game, she saved two break-points with successive aces, but a double fault and a backhand that got caught in the net allowed Srebotnik to get back on serve.

During the 90-second changeover, Sharapova received a warning when her coach and father, Yuri, shouted from the stands. On-court coaching is allowed at this tournament - one of five this season at which the WTA is testing the concept - but only once a set and during breaks.

After Saturday's warning, Sharapova broke twice more to reach the final.
<<<

www.zurichopen.net: (http://www.zurichopen.net:)
>>>
Sharapova showed what being a champion means against the aggressive challenge of Srebotnik. The 25-year-old Slovene came to the net at every opportunity, and a mixture of big serving, crisp forehands and well-placed volleys kept her level with the new US Open champion, but when the points became crucial, Sharapova raised her level while Srebotnik's dropped. Serving to stay in the first set at 5-6, Sharapova faced a set-point, but threw down an ace to save it, and then won the tiebreak 7/3. Though she lost her serve midway through the second set, she was by then a break up, and ran out the winner in 87 minutes.
<<<

www.mariasharapova.com: (http://www.mariasharapova.com:)
>>>
Maria broke Srebotnik in the 9th game of the first set, but Srebotnik managed to get the break back to level the set 5-5. The following 2 games were held on serve and Maria saved a set-point when serving at 6-5. Maria eventually won the set in a tiebreak 7/3. Maria broke in the 2nd game of the second set, but Srebotnik managed to get the set back on serve, but Maria broke to lead 4-2 and didn't drop another game as she took the set and the match.
<<<

My match-report
---------------

There are 35 minutes of highlights of Maria's semi-final on the DVD I've got:


First set
---------

Maria serving 3-4: Maria had only dropped one point on serve so far! A wide serve set up a forehand winner down the line. 15/0. She held to 15 with a service-winner, an ace out wide, and an off-forehand winner behind Srebotnik.

Srebotnik serving 4-4: Srebotnik hit a forehand smash long, and two more forehand errors gave Maria three break-points at 0/40. A crosscourt forehand pass by Maria caught Srebotnik in no-man's-land, forcing her to earth a forehand volley as Maria broke to love.

Maria serving for the first set at 5-4: Maria forehand wide, off a moonball from Srebotnik. 0/15. A long rally ended with Maria hitting a forehand just long. 0/30. Maria netted a forehand off a good return. 0/40 (3 BPs). Maria sprayed a forehand wide as Srebotnik broke to love!

Srebotnik serving 5-5: Maria hit a lovely off-forehand winner. 15/15. Srebotnik at 15/30 hit a lovely off-forehand volley-winner behind Maria, and held to 30 with two good error-forcing points.

Maria serving to stay in the first set at 5-6: 30/30. A good rally ended with Maria at the net and Srebotnik hitting a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 30/40 (SET-POINT). Maria saved it with an ace down the middle, right on the junction of centre-line and service-line. 40/40. Srebotnik backhand return long. Ad Maria. Service-winner out wide.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Sharapova/Srebotnik):
{0/0*} Srebotnik wide serve + forehand winner down the line.
{*0/1} Srebotnik forehand just wide.
{*1/1} Srebotnik crosscourt forehand return-winner. Yuri Sharapov looked like he was chewing on wasps.
{1/2*} Maria ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt backhand winner - good anticipation.
{2/2*} Service-winner out wide.
{*2/3} Srebotnik backhand long.
{*3/3} Srebotnik forehand long.
{4/3*} Srebotnik netted a sliced backhand.
{5/3*} Srebotnik came to the net, but a dipping crosscourt backhand from Maria forced her to hit a half-volley backhand; Maria ran it down and hit a forehand pass-winner down the line.
{*6/3: SP #1} Maria served an ace out wide to win the first set 7-6 (7/3).


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

Srebotnik serving 2-3: Srebotnik came in behind an off-forehand, but Maria hit an early backhand pass-winner down the line, just inside the baseline. 15/15. Srebotnik hit a deep, wide serve, but Maria picked off an early forehand return-winner down the line. 15/30. Maria hit an off-forehand winner that caught the outside edge of the sideline. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria netted a forehand. 30/40. Srebotnik tried to serve & volley, but a brilliant dipping crosscourt backhand return forced her to hit a half-volley backhand wide, giving Maria the break.

Maria serving 4-2: Maria held to 30 with one ace out wide and two down the middle.

Srebotnik serving to stay in the match at 2-5: Maria netted a backhand return. 15/0. Srebotnik forehand just long. 15/15. Maria forehand return wide. 30/15. Srebotnik hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand, but Maria used the angle to hit a brilliant lasso forehand crosscourt winner just inside the sideline. 30/30. Wide serve onto the sideline; Maria blasted a fast crosscourt forehand return, forcing Srebotnik to hit a forehand wide. Srebotnik sank to her haunches. 30/40 (MATCH-POINT). Srebotnik netted the first serve. Deep second serve down the middle; forehand return down the middle; Srebotnik hit a crosscourt forehand and came to the net; Maria hit a dipping crosscourt forehand that forced Srebotnik to hit a short half-volley forehand; Maria whipped a crosscourt backhand pass, forcing Srebotnik to lunge and net a backhand volley. Maria won 7-6 6-2.


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

"It was definitely a step up from my previous matches. I felt I was in control, I was moving better and definitely played the big points good.

"I definitely stepped it up a bit more today; I had to because she's been playing really well, and has had a good week. I'm definitely pleased with how I served. 13 aces is a good number. I've always said, there is no substitute for playing matches; that's what I'm happiest about this week.

"I felt better, more in control, and was moving around the court better. I had a few lows. I got up a break in the second, and then let her back into it.

"But I definitely played a lot of points good, and even though I got broken I felt in control."

[Re. the warning for coaching]
"It was strange because I really didn't hear anything. And when I asked what he'd said, [the umpire] said he didn't know. So we were in the same shoes. It was strange."


Maria quotes in German
----------------------

"Verglichen mit den beiden vorherigen Matches hatte ich mehr die Kontrolle über das Spiel, habe mich besser bewegt und bei den wichtigen Punkten gutes Tennis gespielt. Ich bin also zufrieden, insbesondere mit meinem Service. Ich finde mich mit den Bedingungen auch immer besser zurecht.

"Ich konnte abseits des Courts auch Zürich ein bißchen kennen lernen, bin die Bahnhofstraße entlanggelaufen und konnte ein paar Fotos schießen. Allzu viel Zeit habe ich aber verständlicherweise nicht.

"Seit meiner ersten Teilnahme vor zwei Jahren hat sich einiges verändert, ich habe vor allem viel an Erfahrung dazugewonnen. Heute gewinne ich auch Matches, ohne daß ich mein absolut bestes Tennis spiele. Aber natürlich hängt es auch von der Gegnerin ab.

"Egal, wie der Final ausgeht, ich konnte auch in dieser Woche wieder Matchpraxis und Erfahrung sammeln, das kannst du in keinem Training üben."

-----
Final (Sunday 22nd October)
-----

I'll post my report of the final in a separate message tomorrow.

--
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
Nov 1st, 2006, 01:05 AM
===========
ZÜRICH OPEN (Zürich, Switzerland; indoor hard; WTA Tier I)
=========== http://www.zurichopen.net/ (http://www.zurichopen.net/)

Although I don't have access to Eurosport, a DVD of the final has come into my possession, so I have incorporated it into this report.

------
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"

http://www.rabble.ch/archiv/arc6_zurich_02.htm (http://www.rabble.ch/archiv/arc6_zurich_02.htm)

http://www.mariasharapova.com/ (http://www.mariasharapova.com/)

-----
Video
-----

The whole match:
http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=9334521 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=9334521)

Zürich Highlights/Meet Maria Sharapova:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/ (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/)

-----
Final (Sunday 22nd October)
-----

Very nice winner, very nice loser:
+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] d. Daniela Hantuchová, 6-1 4-6 6-3

The final was a mouthwatering match - not just in superficial terms, but in terms of the quality of the tennis, and after the first set, it actually became a very competitive match!

Maria and Daniela are my second and third favourite players, but it's not always the most entertaining tennis when they play each other. Sometimes their match-ups come across as lacking a contrast of styles, Daniela doesn't play particularly well, and therefore it's either one-sided with a good Maria-performance (e.g. Wimbledon 2004: Maria 6-3 6-1), or closer because of a poor Maria-performance (e.g. Zürich 2004: Maria 6-4 7-5). Their Australian Open 2006 match featured brilliant tennis from both, but Maria's control of the decisive moments resulted in a rather straightforward 6-4 6-4 scoreline.

This, however, was the best Maria v Daniela match I've seen, particularly in terms of Daniela's performance. She absorbed Maria's powerful, deep, low-bouncing groundstrokes exceptionally well, and hit some lovely touch-volleys as well as her trademark backhands down the line.

Daniela fought to the end and can be proud of her performance (bar the first set). This was a different Daniela from the one who kept letting 5-2 leads become 5-7 2-6 losses a couple of months ago! She certainly deserves to add to her single singles-title (Indian Wells 2002), but Maria is too on-form to be denied by anyone at the moment.


Articles/Reports by other people
--------------------------------

BBC Sport (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/default.stm):
>>>
The Russian totally dominated a nervous Hantuchová in the first set, with the Slovakian twice dropping serve to love.

Hantuchová broke at the start of the second and, serving better, held in an epic 10th game to level at one-set all.

But an off-key Sharapova raised her game in the decider, breaking in game four and holding on for victory.
<<<

www.wtatour.com (http://www.wtatour.com):
>>>
Just like she had done in her first three rounds, as well as throughout her career in general, Sharapova battled for each and every point in the near-two-hour final. After a lopsided first set, the drama picked up in the second; Hantuchová broke in the opening game, held onto the break throughout the set, and finally evened the match at a set apiece after a tight 10th game, where she saved five break-points, all with winners, closing it out on her third set point. It was the first time in their last five meetings she was able to claim a set.

Sharapova was able to turn the tides in the third, however; on the strength of one break in the fourth game, which put her up 3-1, she put herself back in control of the match. In the end she notched her fifth win in six meetings with the Slovak.
<<<

Reuters:
>>>
Sharapova was far more aggressive than Hantuchová in the opening set, especially with her returns, and she pressured the Slovak from the start.

Hantuchová had to hold off three break-points in the first game and then dropped her serve to love, hitting consecutive double-faults, to fall behind 2-1.

Sharapova continued to dominate, breaking Hantuchová to love a second time while winning 15 of 16 points to establish a 4-1 lead. The Russian broke for a third time to take the set when Hantuchová netted a forehand.

UNFORCED ERRORS

After calling her mother to court as her coach, allowed under rules being tried out in Zürich, Hantuchová was far more positive in the second set, breaking Sharapova for 1-0.

Sharapova's efforts were more muted in the second set. She made considerably more unforced errors and failed to win a break-point to level at 4-4 when she netted a tired forehand.

Hantuchová fought off five break-points at 5-4 to take the match to a deciding set.

Sharapova once more showed some of the aggression that had served her well in the first set and although she failed to take advantage of two break points at 1-0 she broke to lead 3-1 when Hantuchová netted a forehand.

That was enough to decide the match, which Sharapova closed out with consecutive aces.
<<<

Erica Bulman, AP Sports Writer:
>>>
Maria Sharapova loves speed, fast cars and rollercoasters. She hates traffic and running on foot, or anything else that can slow her down.

So it really annoyed her when she surged through an easy first set against Daniela Hantuchová in Sunday's final of the Zürich Open, but stalled in a sluggish, error-filled second set.

That raised the Russian's levels of frustration - and aggression - enough to spur her into quickly breaking Hantuchová in the final set to win 6-1 4-6 6-3 and earn her 14th career title, and fourth this year.

Hantuchová had to save three break-points on her first serve before Sharapova swept the next six games.

Both players took advantage of the on-court coaching, which is allowed at this tournament, after the first set. Sharapova spoke to coach Mike Joyce, while Hantuchová talked with her mother.

The motherly advice seemed to help. Hantuchová broke Sharapova's opening serve in the second set and then saved five break-points in the final game to even the match.

Before the final set, Sharapova took a bathroom break, and her father appeared to follow. Hantuchová again spoke to her mother, but it didn't prove to be as effective.

Sharapova broke to take a 3-1 lead in the final set, holding serve and winning with an ace down the middle.
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Wintermute (http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=9325497):
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She made a good effort after a very nervous start. To tell the truth the first set was abysmal! But in the past after losing the first set to one of the top players Daniela has collapsed in the second, so I was impressed to see her playing positive and able to fight back to level the match.

However, in the third Maria was too good. Her serving and returning was amazing. She was eating Dani's second serve alive. And Dani was only serving at something like 50% in the final set which just isn't good enough to beat Sharapova. The scoreline of this match was almost entirely determined by first serve percentage.
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My match-report
---------------

The match started at 13:37 CET, and I followed live scores at the tournament-website. Later, I got to see the match on DVD, so what follows is my comments as I wrote them at the time, merged with my notes from watching the DVD.

Both girls are members of my Eternal Fanship, but I wanted Daniela to win because winning this tournament (to go with her lone WTA singles-title at Indian Wells 2002) would mean so much to her, whereas for Maria it's just business as usual, and would give her only a small fraction of the joy she feels when winning a Grand Slam singles-title.


First set
---------

SHARAPOVA _*@*@*@ 6
HANTUCHOV *______ 1

Daniela serving 0-0: Daniela netted a forehand. 0/15. A pinpoint backhand down the line - that caught the outside edge of the sideline - forced a defensive forehand lob from Maria; Daniela hit a crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner. 15/15. A deep backhand return down the middle forced Daniela to net a forehand. Daniela complained about some music outside. 15/30. Maria punished a short second serve with a backhand return-winner down the line. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria wasted the first with a netted backhand, and the second with a forehand return wide. 40/40. Maria forehand return-winner down the line. Ad Maria (BP #3). Daniela saved it with an excellent wide serve to force a very short lob-return; she got away with a weak forehand as Maria hit a crosscourt backhand pass wide. Deuce #2. An entertaining long rally with a dropshot from Daniela, and Maria at the net on two separate occasions, ended with Maria hitting a backhand drive-volley just long. Ad Daniela. Service-winner down the middle.

Good girl! It's vital for Daniela to get off to a good start, otherwise this match could be rather short. Saving three break-points is very encouraging, as so often Daniela is the one squandering them.

Maria serving 0-1: Daniela forehand long. 15/0. Maria backhand just long. 15/15. Maria forehand just long. 15/30. Daniela forehand return just long. 30/30. Daniela backhand just wide. 40/30. Maria held with a crosscourt backhand winner.

A half-chance wasted at 15/30 perhaps, but Maria is always unbelievably determined to hold her serve.

Hard, flat, low-over-the-net tennis from both girls: Maria has a bit more power and better footwork, Daniela a little more flair and variety.

Daniela serving 1-1: Maria hit an early backhand winner down the line. 0/15. Daniela netted a forehand. 0/30. Maria broke to love as Daniela quadruple-faulted!

Oh dear! That's not good for the prospects of a competitive match between my second & third favourite players. :( Daniela needs to remember how she broke Maria's serve three times in their Australian Open 4r, which featured good fightbacks from both players.

Maria serving 2-1: A body-jamming serve and an off-forehand forced a floater from Daniela; Maria hit a two-handed backhand drive-volley winner crosscourt. 15/0. Daniela netted a backhand. 30/0. Daniela hit a brilliant crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 30/15. Maria hit an off-forehand winner behind Daniela. 40/15. Maria punished a weak sliced backhand with an off-forehand winner.

Sam Smith said that Maria was now much more willing to go to the net than she was before the US Open - providing she only has to hit one volley, as "she doesn't really cover the net particularly well."

Sam Smith described Maria's on-court demeanour as "fire and ice": she's feisty & grunting during a point, and cool & aloof between points.

Daniela serving 1-3: Daniela forehand just long. 0/15. Maria punished a short second serve by blasting a backhand return down the line, forcing Daniela to earth a forehand. 0/30. A deep ball from Maria forced a short one from Daniela, which Maria pounced on with an off-forehand winner - just ruthless. 0/40 (3 BPs). Daniela sprayed a backhand very long, off a short ball from Maria to give Maria the double break.

Sorry to say, Maria is making Daniela look like a very lightweight finalist at the moment. Daniela has only won one point in the last three games! :o

saki: "Dani just not executing - she knows what to do, she's just not doing it."

Maria serving 4-1: Maria backhand winner down the line. 15/0. Maria forehand just long. 15/15. Maria forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/15. A backhand return onto the baseline forced a short ball from Maria; Daniela dominated the rally with a crosscourt forehand to force a short lob, and a crosscourt forehand winner behind Maria. 30/30. Ace down the middle. 40/30. A good serve forced a short return, and Maria held with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Daniela serving to stay in the first set at 1-5: Daniela took some pace off her first serve, and Maria blasted a forehand return-winner down the line. 0/15. Service-winner out wide. 15/15. Daniela forehand wide. 15/30. Ace out wide. 30/30. Daniela came in behind a forehand down the line that forced a short floater from Maria, but Daniela hit an ill-advised crosscourt backhand, giving Maria a huge gap for a backhand pass-winner. 30/40 (SET-POINT). Daniela netted a forehand. Maria won the first set 6-1 at 14:03 (26 minutes).

A thoroughly dispapsinating set for Daniela. If she hadn't saved those three break-points in the very first game, we could be looking at a double bagel now! :o

Maria has a W:UE ratio of 14:6 for the first set, Daniela 4:13. And Maria is getting 82% of her first serves in, Daniela just 54%.

Please get your act together, Daniela! :o

Maria spoke to her coach Michael Joyce during the set-break, as allowed at this tournament as an experiment on the WTA Tour. According to Chris Bradnam, he told her to expect Daniela to come out tough and fired up at the start of the second; "P.S. eat a banana!"

Daniela spoke to her mother Marianna at the set-break.


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

SHARAPOVA __* * * *_ 4
HANTUCHOV @* * * * * 6

Maria serving 0-0: Double fault (wild second serve long). 0/15. Maria forehand just long. 0/30. Daniela backhand wide. 15/30. A deep forehand return induced Maria to hit a backhand short; Daniela hit a deep backhand down the line into Maria's forehand-corner to force a short, defensive lob; Daniela at the net let it bounce and hit an off-forehand; Maria hit a crosscourt backhand pass, but Daniela picked it off with a gorgeous backhand drop-volley winner. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria netted a forehand to give Daniela the break.

There is such a thing as winning too easily. You get a little complacent, lose your concentration, and all of a sudden it's competitive.

What this final needs is them both playing well at the same time.

Daniela serving 1-0: Maria forehand long. 15/0. Maria netted a backhand. 30/0. Daniela backhand long. 30/15. A wide serve and a crosscourt forehand forced Maria to balloon a forehand wide. 40/15. Daniela netted a backhand. 40/30. Daniela forehand winner down the line.

I don't believe Daniela can beat Maria or even take a set, but at least she's got a bit of momentum now. :)

Maria said her problem this week was that she was throwing in some bad games during matches, and finding it hard to be totally motivated after the US Open.

Maria serving 0-2: Daniela played a nice spreading rally, with a forehand down the line forcing Maria to net a backhand. 0/15. Daniela netted a backhand return. 15/15. Maria netted a backhand. 15/30. Daniela forehand wide. 30/30. Daniela netted a forehand. 40/30. Ace down the middle.

A couple of opportunities wasted (0/15 and 15/30), which is a shame because this set would have got very interesting if Daniela had led *3-0.

Absolutely imperative that Daniela holds serve here, because once Maria gets that break back, she'll be very difficult to stop.

Daniela serving 2-1: Maria backhand wide. 15/0. Daniela hit a lovely, flairsome forehand winner down the line. 30/0. Maria netted a forehand. 40/0. A good wide serve forced a short return; Daniela hit a crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline... but there was a late call of 'out'! The commentators said it was a bad call, Daniela argued with the umpire, and the crowd - who were very much on Daniela's side in this match - whistled. 40/15. Maria forehand return just long.

Well done! When you're a Daniela-fan, you get quite nervous when 40/0 becomes 40/15!

Maria serving 1-3: Daniela netted a forehand. 15/0. Daniela hit a brilliant pinpoint backhand winner down the line, just inside the sideline. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. Ace down the middle. 40/15. Service-winner down the middle.

Daniela serving 3-2: Virtual ace down the middle. 15/0. A deep first serve forced Maria to hit a forehand return just long. 30/0. Daniela backhand long. 30/15. Service-winner out wide, right in the corner. 40/15. A good serve forced a short return; Daniela hit a deep off-backhand just inside the sideline, forcing Maria to hit a forehand just long.

I have to commend Daniela for hanging onto this break for so long, and with convincing service-games too. She's doing much better than I expected after the first set, but she's now at the scoreline (1-6 4-2) from which Serena Williams didn't win another game in the Wimbledon 2004 final!

Maria serving 2-4: Maria netted a forehand. 0/15. Daniela hit a short return, and Maria a backhand winner down the line, just inside the baseline. 15/15. A Daniela crosscourt backhand forced a weak one from Maria; Daniela tried to put it away with a forehand punch-volley, but unfortunately it was just long. 30/15. Ace out wide. 40/15. I thought Daniela was lucky that a backhand return landed on the baseline, but Maria clouted a crosscourt forehand winner.

Daniela serving 4-3: A wide serve followed by a short-angled crosscourt backhand just inside the sideline forced Maria to hit a backhand long. 15/0. Daniela backhand just long. 15/15. A deep backhand return forced Daniela to hit a backhand long. 15/30. Daniela painted the sideline with an off-forehand winner. 30/30. Daniela forehand wide. 30/40 (BP). Maria netted a forehand. 40/40. Service-winner down the middle. Ad Daniela. She held with a super point: a great wide serve onto the sideline; an early backhand down the line onto the other sideline - which Maria ran down magnificently to hit a crosscourt forehand - but Daniela's quick thinking resulted in a forehand dropshot-winner from the baseline. Loud cheering from the crowd.

Well saved by Daniela! She really is putting up a commendable fight in this set, and when she had the 'ad', I just knew she was going to hold! :)

Now Maria's under pressure to save the set, but this is where she has excelled so often in her recent matches - surviving her opponent serving for the set, and saving set-points.

Maria serving to stay in the second set at 3-5: Serve + off-forehand winner. 15/0. Ace down the middle. 30/0. Daniela went for a big forehand return down the line, but it was just wide. 40/0. Maria hit a short second serve followed by a short backhand, which Daniela punished with a booming crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. Chris Bradnam: "She's such a clean strike - that's why she's feared by everybody in the locker-room." 40/15. Daniela backhand long.

The moment of truth for Daniela: can she possibly serve out this set against one of the all-time greats? It's especially difficult when you're serving for it by virtue of a break at the very start of the set...

Daniela serving for the second set at 5-4 (new balls): Maria backhand return long. 15/0. Daniela kept much better depth than Maria, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Daniela netted a backhand. 30/15. Daniela netted a backhand dropshot from the baseline - hardly a percentage-shot when you're serving for the set! 30/30. Daniela netted a forehand. 30/40 (BP #1). Maria hit a short forehand return, and Daniela a fabulous backhand winner down the line, on the sideline. 40/40. A fabulous serve down the middle forced a short return; Daniela hit a forehand down the line, forcing Maria on the run to hit a backhand long. Daniela pumped her fist and said "c'mon". Ad Daniela (SP #1). Second serve: a searing crosscourt backhand return forced Daniela to hit a weak crosscourt backhand; Maria hit a crosscourt backhand winner and it was her turn to say "c'mon". Deuce #2. Daniela backhand wide. Ad Maria (BP #2). Daniela saved it magnificently: she hit a wide serve into Maria's backhand-corner, and although Maria's crosscourt backhand return came whizzing low and fast to Daniela's feet, she came up with a brilliant half-volley off-backhand winner! Deuce #3. Daniela netted a wild forehand which would also have been wide. Ad Maria (BP #3). Daniela saved it with a fabulous service-winner down the middle, on the centre-line (Maria, off-balance, netted a forehand return). Deuce #4. First serve: Maria hit a stunning forehand return-winner down the line, just inside the sideline. Sam Smith: "Poor serve, really - just didn't go anywhere." Ad Maria (BP #4). First serve down the middle: Maria read it, but netted a forehand return. Deuce #5. A deep forehand from Maria forced Daniela to hit a forehand long. Ad Maria (BP #5). Daniela saved it with a good wide serve to force a short crosscourt backhand return, setting up a Daniela backhand winner down the line, just inside the sideline. Deuce #6. Ace down the middle. "C'mon," said Daniela. Ad Daniela (SP #2). A deep, wide serve on the service-line forced a weak backhand return; Daniela hit a deep error-forcing crosscourt forehand (Maria on the run poked a forehand wide) to take the second set 6-4 at 14:53 (50 minutes).

Wow! She did it! I just had to laugh when Daniela's 30/0 lead evaporated (I can laugh because I'm a fan of both), but what a tremendous battle of wills!

That last game was all about Daniela. Maria didn't do a whole lot wrong; it was a mixture of brilliant winners and choky errors from Daniela.

And the baggage of 5 missed break-points for Maria to carry into the third set. In fact she converted 0/6 break-points in the whole second set.

In the second set, Maria got just 58% of first serves in, Daniela 74% - such a turnaround from the first set.

Sam Smith: "[Daniela] loves naturally to [serve] out wide, because it opens up the court for her, and then she can dominate the point. Haven't seen her go too much at the body in this match - that's the only direction that's been missing from the repertoire."

Yuri Sharapov went to the toilet, so Maria took a toilet-break. Well it's important to remind her to keep her bladder empty, as any good parent would do! ;) When she returned to the court, she was chewing on wasps.

Daniela had some legalised coaching from her mother again.

She's obviously far from being in control at the moment, but Maria does have an awesome ability to step it up after dropping the second set, and to win the third 6-1.


Third set
---------

SHARAPOVA * *@* * * 6
HANTUCHOV _*___* *_ 3

Maria serving 0-0: Daniela backhand winner down the line, on the sideline. 0/15. Deep service-winner out wide, on the service-line. 15/15. Wide serve + off-backhand winner behind Daniela. 30/15. Ace down the middle, right in the corner. 40/15. Daniela backhand just long.

Maria didn't get away with being broken at the start of the second set, so she'll be determined not to be broken again. Daniela must continue to match that determination.

Chris Bradnam: "Winning becomes a habit, and it makes you fight when you're used to winning."

Daniela serving 0-1: Maria hit a crosscourt forehand virtual winner, off a short ball from Daniela. 0/15. Maria forehand winner down the line. 0/30. Maria netted a backhand return. 15/30. Maria backhand return-winner down the line. 15/40 (2 BPs). Maria sprayed a backhand wide. 30/40. Maria forehand just long. 40/40. Maria netted a forehand return. Ad Daniela. She held with a short-angled serve just inside the sideline to set up a crosscourt forehand winner, and said "c'mon".

Just when it looked like Daniela's hopes were about to evaporate in an early break, she's still putting up an amazing fight.

Sam Smith: "There's some real steel about Hantuchová, and one of the reasons I think she's coping this match is: she's got fantastic racket-head control - probably as good as anyone in the top ten."

And Maria has now converted 0/8 break-points since the start of the second set.

Chris Bradnam: "There's quite a bit of baggage developing here in the mind of Sharapova. She had a lot of respect for her coming out on this final court, and it'll surely be growing."

It's an incredible transformation from the first set, and that in itself must be difficult for Maria to deal with, because IMO it's the worst feeling in tennis when what seems like a routine victory turns into a desperate fight for survival (Daniela's Wimbledon 2003 match against Asagoe,Shinobu springs to mind, where Daniela won the first set 6-0 but was in tears as she struggled to an ultimate loss in the third).

Maria serving 1-1: A netcord from Maria allowed Daniela to hit a crosscourt forehand that forced Maria to hit a forehand lob long. 0/15. Ace out wide. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. Maria hit a searing crosscourt backhand to force a short sliced backhand from Daniela, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Chris Bradnam: "/That/ is maybe the best shot of the week from Sharapova off the midcourt low ball. She's struggled with it all week." 40/15. Double fault. 40/30. Daniela hit a pinpoint backhand down the line, forcing Maria to net a forehand. Chris Bradnam: "It's scored every time it's been employed, that down-the-line shot." 40/40. Daniela backhand wide. Ad Maria. She hit a forehand long. Deuce #2. A body-jamming serve forced a backhand return wide. Ad Maria. Daniela forehand just long.

The way Daniela pegged Maria back to deuce in that game is what Maria herself so often does to her opponents, but we haven't seen much of that today - apart from when Daniela served for the second set, of course.

Daniela took a change-of-attire break.

Daniela serving 1-2: Daniela forehand long. 0/15. Daniela hit a forehand winner down the line, off a short ball from Maria. Chris Bradnam: "That's the play: be patient, wait for the right ball. And she's won virtually every point with its use." Sam Smith: "Just such a great change of direction, just makes it look so solid." 15/15. Maria played a good spreading rally, with a crosscourt backhand to push Daniela into the tramlines, followed by a crosscourt forehand that forced her to hit a forehand wide. 15/30. Maria hit a deep crosscourt backhand to force a defensive backhand lob from Daniela; Maria crosscourt forehand winner. 15/40 (2 BPs). Daniela netted a forehand on the third stroke of the rally.

Well, I guess that's torn it for Daniela. Neither player had been broken since the start of the second set, so any break against Daniela in the third would have been fatal to her chances, I think.

And Maria has the advantage of serving first, so it makes the gap on the scoreboard that much wider than it was for Daniela in the second.

Maria serving 3-1: Daniela went for a forehand winner down the line, but it was just wide. 15/0. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline to force a short lob from Daniela; Maria crosscourt backhand winner. 30/0. Short-angled ace on the sideline. 40/0. A crosscourt forehand return forced a short ball from Maria, and Daniela hit an off-forehand winner. 40/15. Maria, driven wide, hit a super crosscourt forehand deep into Daniela's forehand-corner, forcing her to net a forehand.

Chris Bradnam: "It's tough to rebuff Sharapova in this mood."
Sam Smith: "There's times when she reminds me a little bit of Serena Williams: the kind of wounded-animal mentality that when you hurt her, she just goes into some sort of different mindset."

Daniela serving 1-4: A good one-two punch forced Maria to hit a backhand long. 15/0. A good wide serve, right on the junction of sideline and service-line, forced Maria to net a backhand return. 30/0. An excellent serve down the middle looked like it would win the point directly, but Maria's backhand lob-return landed in, and Daniela killed it with a forehand smash-winner. 40/0. Maria backhand just wide.

Well held by Daniela! Still hanging in here, even though her ship has probably sailed now.

Sam Smith: "There's no reason why it can't affect Sharapova. I think she's shown vulnerability, she's shown inconsistency, the ability to chuck in the odd bad game."

Maria serving 4-2: A huge serve down the middle looked like it would win the point directly, but Daniela's lob-return landed just inside the baseline; a long rally ensued - curiously without any grunting from Maria, who netted a forehand on the 13th stroke. 0/15. Maria hit a searing crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. Daniela hit a brilliant down-the-line backhand return-winner that just caught the outside edge of the sideline... except it didn't, in the opinion of the line-judge (no Hawkeye at Zürich). Daniela put her hand over her mouth and looked after it wistfully. 40/15. A good wide serve forced a short return, and Maria hit an easy (for her) crosscourt backhand winner.

Chris Bradnam: "That is so impressive from 0/15. When it comes to digging, so often she has the golden spade."

It would be extraordinary if Maria lost a third set from 5-2*. Can Daniela do a Safina?

Daniela serving to stay in the match at 2-5: Daniela netted a backhand. 0/15. A good serve down the middle forced a short return; Daniela hit an off-forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Maria to run and hit a LEFT-HANDED forehand; Daniela came in and hit a beautiful off-backhand drop-volley winner. Chris Bradnam: "Silky skills." 15/15. Virtual ace down the middle (just brushed the outside edge of Maria's outstretched racket). 30/15. Daniela hit a short second serve, and a penetrating crosscourt backhand return forced her to hit a backhand long. 30/30. A long rally ended with Maria hitting a forehand long. 40/30. Maria mishit a backhand return wide of the tramlines.

Well done, especially after 0/15 and 30/30. Now Maria has to serve for it!

Maria serving for the match at 5-3 (new balls): Maria netted a choky-looking backhand. 0/15. Maria hit a big serve onto the service-line; Daniela blocked back a deep backhand return; Maria hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Maria hit a big, deep serve; Daniela chipped back a short sliced backhand return; Maria sprayed a wild forehand very long & very wide. "No," she groaned. Sam Smith: "That would suggest there may be a little turmoil under that very cool exterior." 15/30. Maria hit a deep, wide service-winner right on the junction of sideline and service-line, pumped her fist and said "vamos". 30/30. Ace down the middle. 40/30 (CP #1). Maria sealed the title with an ace down the middle, on the junction of centre-line and service-line! Maria won 6-1 4-6 6-3 at 15:34 (third set 41 minutes, match 1h57m).

Maria raised her arms in triumph, looked upwards and smiled, but it looked like the reaction of someone who is used to winning WTA singles-titles, compared with Daniela's reaction to winning Indian Wells 2002.

Some say that Daniela cried when she lost. When Eurosport's camera focused on her, she was putting on a smile, but her eyes looked a little teary.


Daniela's on-court interview
----------------------------

INTERVIEWER: Well first of all, I would like to thank both you girls for a fantastic final - I think I speak for everyone - this was truly great tennis, thank you very much. Before the match, you said it was important that you concentrate on your own game-play, your own game. I guess against an opponent like Maria, this is not always possible.

DANIELA: Yeah, I have to give her the credit for the way she played, especially the last game. She served very well and she deserved to win today, but I also would like to thank all of you guys coming here this week, it's been an incredible experience for me, the support has been amazing, and I just can't wait to be back next year.

INTERVIEWER: Well, you also said the key to you playing well here was that you're actually enjoying being out there, and I was just wondering, when I was watching in the first set, is it possible to enjoy it when you're being overwhelmed by an opponent like that, and what went through your head when you were sitting down after that first set?

DANIELA: I just tried to go back to what I did well this week, and I was enjoying my game, and in the first set I was not really doing that, and I guess I wanted it too much, and I was trying too hard at the beginning, and then I sort of just tried to calm down and tried to play my game.

INTERVIEWER: In 2002, everybody was really looking forward for you like really doing it. What do you feel like your game is now - the way you played this week compared to the year 2002 when you were number five in the world. Are you back up there?

DANIELA: Definitely - I think I'm much more aware of what I'm doing on the court, and I think I'm trying to play a smarter game, and definitely I'm having more and more fun - heh heh!

INTERVIEWER: And we certainly would love to see you next year - how about that?

DANIELA: Yeah, definitely I'm coming back, that's for sure. <smiling>

INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much.


Maria's on-court interview
--------------------------

INTERVIEWER: Well, Maria, you said before, maybe you hadn't showed the best tennis yet, but I guess you saved the best for last. This must have been pretty close - especially in the first set - to the best you can play.

MARIA: Yeah, well I needed to, I mean, Daniela's had amazing wins this week, she's been playing great tennis, so I knew, you know, final of a tournament's never gonna be easy - tough opponent, tough circumstances - so, you know, just gotta go out and perform my best, and see what happens.

INTERVIEWER: To a lot of people, it's always surprising how a tennis-match can turn. I mean, you must have loved your chances after the first set. What happened in the beginning of the second?

MARIA: Well not too much, I lost the game, heh heh! <the crowd laughed> It's pretty simple, heh heh heh! Yeah, you know, in tennis, things can change really quickly, and that was one great example of that, you know, but what can you do - just gotta get yourself back together, and win any way you can.

INTERVIEWER: Well you're certainly able to step it up, and you say, 'Well, I just hate to lose.' I'm usually a relaxed person, certainly not on the tennis-court. What drives you more - especially in circumstances like this in a third set where you're able to step it up - is it the fear of losing or is it the lust for winning, or what is it?

MARIA: No, I mean, you know, third set of a final of a tournament, you know, you know you gotta try to come up with the best stuff, and that's what you hope for, you know, you go out before every point and just hope, you know, just to hit some good shots and have great points.

INTERVIEWER: I also read about you that you said you were a work-in-progress - your career is a work-in-progress. Where do you want to end up?

MARIA: Well, I mean, I don't know, I take it day by day, but of course you try to set the highest goals for yourself. I'd love to win many more Grand Slams, and I'd love to be number one in the world again. But, you know, it takes a lot of hard work, and it just doesn't happen overnight, and, you know, I think I have many years ahead of me, and many years in Zürich too, so - heh heh heh - so it would be good to be back.

INTERVIEWER: Well, congratulations again. Thank you very much.


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

{before the match}

"I'm definitely ready for a tough one tomorrow. I would like to try and go one better than my last visit here two years ago."


{after the match}

"In tennis, things can change quickly, and that was one great example. You've got to get yourself together, and win any way you can. In the third set of a final, you know you've got to come up with your best stuff.

"It was weird having a little letdown in the second set, at the beginning. I had opportunities to break her again, but I couldn't really take them, and in the last game to win the second set, she served pretty well on the big points.

"But, saying that, I gave it to her in the first game. I felt like I had the chances but wasn't converting them, and finally in the third set, I did.

"She served a lot better in the second set, and in the third, I was finally able to convert on all those break-points I had.

"I'm happy how I dealt with everything this week, and I played really well to get out of some tough situations.

"I try to play my best at the bigger events, and this week I improved as I went on with each match.

"I'm trying to keep my level up, because I'm aware I had a letdown in 2004 after I won Wimbledon, so I want to make sure that doesn't happen again.

"It's a long stretch to be away from home for that long, but the finish-line is in sight now.

"I like it when things go fast.

"Becoming No. 1 is a huge achievement, but I don't personally think ending the season as No. 1 is a huge deal. I honestly can't remember who finished last year No. 1 [Lindsay Davenport]. You remember who won the Grand Slams and who has been No. 1 - not who finished the year No. 1.

[Re. legalised coaching]
"Well, I don't support it, but if it's there and I feel I need a little reminder then why not? If it isn't illegal, you may as well use it while you can.

"This is a wonderful tournament. All the players are treated first-class here, and it's one of the most popular stops on the tour.

"After my first Grand Slam title [Wimbledon 2004], I lost my way a bit, so to win a Tier-I event so soon after the US Open is very satisfying.

"Celebration, what celebration? The closest thing I'm going to get to a party will be getting on the plane to Linz tomorrow morning!"


Maria quotes in German
----------------------

"Ich bin natürlich sehr glücklich über diesen Sieg. Zu Beginn des zweiten Satzes habe ich etwas nachgelassen. Sie hat gut serviert. Ich hatte noch Chancen, in diesem zweiten Satz zurückzukommen, aber ich konnte sie nicht nutzen. Im dritten Satz dann konnte ich meine Möglichkeiten wieder umsetzen.

"Ich hatte in diesem Jahr einige harte Momente zu überstehen, besonders in der Mitte der Saison, als ich einige Sandplatzturniere nicht spielen konnte. Ich wußte nicht, wie schnell und wie gut ich zurückkommen würde. Jetzt bin ich froh, daß ich wieder bei guter Gesundheit bin – und einen weiteren Titel gewonnen habe.

"Meine Chancen, die Nummer 1 zu werden, sind besser als vor diesem Turnier in Zürich. Aber ich mache mir nicht zu viele Gedanken darüber. Am Ende des Jahres die Nummer 1 zu sein, ist bestimmt eine großartige Leistung, aber dennoch scheint es mir nicht das Wichtigste zu sein. Ich erinnere mich selber nicht an viele, die am Ende des Jahres die Nummer 1 waren, aber an viele, die Grand-Slam-Turniere und andere wichtige Events gewonnen haben."


Daniela quotes
--------------

"I thought it was a very good match. I felt like I had my chances, but I have to give Maria credit for the way she closed the match out, especially in the last game. She served very, very well. I tried to hang in there and do whatever it took to still come back, but she was putting a lot of pressure on me.

"I think I started off too excited in the first set. I was too eager being in my first final again for a while.

"In the first set, I think I was trying a little bit too much. It was my first final for a while, and I was maybe a little too excited, and after the first set I tried to calm down, and think more about what I had to do to come back to the match.

"After the first set, my mum just told me to calm down and not go for crazy shots; to focus on what I had to do. I felt I turned it around well.

"I have to give Maria a lot of credit for how she closed it out with those two aces - that's just too good. That's the difference between her and me at the moment: she's used to being in those situations.

"I enjoyed every minute of the week. I always enjoy playing here; it's a terrific city. The whole week has given me a lot of confidence; I can be proud of the fact that in the end, I gave it everything I had in both singles and doubles.

"A lot of people ask me why I haven't won more titles, and I ask myself that too. But it's a matter of putting it all together; I know if I keep playing like this, it'll come. I'm definitely a much better, more experienced player than in 2002 and 2003. I wasn't aware of what I was doing on the court then, whereas now I am."


Daniela quotes in German
------------------------

"Ich habe mich selber auch schon gefragt, wieso ich erst ein Turnier gewonnen habe. Wenn ich jedoch so weiterfahre wie hier in Zürich, werde ich wohl noch ein paar WTA-Titel auf die Seite bringen können.

"Man konnte im Final sehen, daß Maria Scharapowa es besser gewohnt ist, in diesen wichtigen Matches zu bestehen – weil sie es immer wieder erlebt. Deshalb hatte sie sich auch mehr Selbstvertrauen. Wenn ich nun selber immer und immer wieder in diese Situationen komme, werden meine Zeiten sicher noch anbrechen."

-----------
UK TV-alert (the repeat)
-----------

(Transworld Sport may be televised in other countries, but the details in this message are specific to the UK.)


There are four points from the Zürich final in this week's Transworld Sport, which is repeated with sign-language at 04:20 GMT on {Wednesday night/Thursday morning} on Channel 4.

The tennis was 5 minutes into Sunday's broadcast of Transworld Sport, so I recommend 04:24 as a safe start-time for timer-record.


The points they showed:

* Maria serving 2-1 (0/0): A body-jamming serve and an off-forehand forced a floater from Daniela; Maria hit a two-handed backhand drive-volley winner crosscourt.

* Maria serving 6-1 0-0 (15/30): A deep forehand return induced Maria to hit a backhand short; Daniela hit a deep backhand down the line into Maria's forehand-corner to force a short, defensive lob; Daniela at the net let it bounce and hit an off-forehand; Maria hit a crosscourt backhand pass, but Daniela picked it off with a gorgeous backhand drop-volley winner.

Sue Carpenter: "In the second, Hantuchová shows the form that saw her reach a career-high ranking of 5 in 2003. The 23-year-old outplays Sharapova to take the second set - the first time in the pair's last five meetings that the Slovak has managed to take a set off her opponent."

* Daniela serving 1-6 5-4 (ad in): A deep, wide serve on the service-line forced a weak backhand return; Daniela hit a deep error-forcing crosscourt forehand (Maria on the run poked a forehand wide) to take the second set.

Sue Carpenter: "However, the US Open champion regains her composure, sealing victory with an ace for her fourth title of the year, and the fourteenth of her career."

* Maria serving 6-1 4-6 5-3 (40/30): Maria sealed the title with an ace down the middle, on the junction of centre-line and service-line!

--
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://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/)