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andrewbroad
May 14th, 2004, 04:53 PM
Rome was another impressive tournament for Maria in a year when she hasn't lost to anyone ranked lower than her (she herself has risen to #19), and has won at least two singles matches in every tournament she's played except Tokyo in February.

At Rome she had a routine win, followed by a spectacular upset, but then she got injured and suffered a rather disappointing anticlimax.


In the first round on Monday she beat qualifier Tatiana Perebiynis 6-4 7-5, after leading 4-1 in the second set. Perebiynis put up brave resistance, and it's important that Maria can react to losing a lead in this way - it can be psychologically very damaging to lose a match after having a big lead.


Maria thrashed sixth seed Elena Dementieva 6-1 6-4 in the second round on Tuesday. She had already beaten Dementieva 2-6 7-6 6-2 at Eastbourne eleven months ago, but that was on grass, which Maria loves and Dementieva hates.

In the first set Maria dominated Dementieva - who surely has the slowest serve in the top ten - with a fine display of hitting. In the second they traded several breaks, and Maria broke to win in the last game.

Maria: "I had a steady level out there, and I was dictating most of the points from the start of the match. I felt really confident. I attacked her serve quite well. When the points got really close, I thought she mentally got down a little bit, and I took advantage of that."

This kind of result indicates that Maria could already do some major damage at the French Open! :D


I thought after that, that Maria was going to go much further in the tournament - at least to a quarter-final with Amélie Mauresmo - but she was brought crashing back down to earth by Silvia Farina Elia, who beat her 7-6 (7/3) 6-0 in the third round on Thursday. :(

Farina Elia was playing her second match of the day, having beaten Meghann Shaughnessy in a rain-delayed second-round match, while Maria had played hers on Tuesday. That would surely give Maria a rather unfair advantage over the 32-year-old, but unfortunately Maria suffered a left-thigh strain. :sad:

Maria was up a break in the first set, and had one set-point when Farina Elia served to stay in the set at 5-6. But Maria lost the first set on a tiebreak, and was bothered by her strained thigh in the second. She had her left thigh taped and heavily strapped in the changeover at 0-3, when she took an injury time-out.

The following report is a direct quote from http://www.telecomitaliamasters.federtennis.it/_masters/home.asp (English version), with a few aesthetic adjustments by me:
>>>
13/05/2004 - Sharapova out after 2nd set collapse

Silvia Farina Elia ended the run of Russia's Maria Sharapova on Thursday with a 7-6 6-0 win on centre court. Italy's number one, number ten seed and number 16 in the world, played steady tennis and profited when Sharapova's will faltered at the end of the first set.

The first 12 games were keenly contested. Sharapova seemed to be wanting to make a winner of every shot, winding up her forehand from well behind the baseline and leaving herself vulnerable to the drop shot. When her groundstrokes went in they were unstoppable, but with increasing frequency as the set went on they started to fall long of the baseline. The Italian served unsuccessfully for the first set and then held serve to force the tie-break. At around this point the Russian, now 19th in the world, seemed to lose some of her drive. The 17-year-old became overly frustrated if her shots drifted out and then collapsed as if she had little will to play on.

In the second set she called for medical assistance for a leg problem. Silvia, almost twice her opponent's age, continued with her workman-like attitude to close the match and secure herself a quarter-final place against number two seed Amélie Mauresmo.
<<<

I hope Maria's injury is only a short-term problem, and I wish her a great French Open.


Other information-sources:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/
http://www.wtatour.com/
ITV1 Teletext

Photos:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=99305&page=3

Maria will be playing at Eastbourne this year. "I'm looking forward to seeing Eastbourne. I love the thought of going back and playing on grass." Perhaps I will see Maria at Eastbourne, having attended the tournament in 2002 and 2003!

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

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/maria_sharapova/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/

LindsayRocks89
May 17th, 2004, 12:36 AM
get well soon, and Good luck at the French Maria, wanna see ya do some serious damage!!! :bounce:

VeraNuVirgosFan
May 17th, 2004, 10:07 AM
Thank you very much for your report and the direct quote from www.telecomitaliamasters.fed