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andrewbroad
Aug 1st, 2004, 11:04 PM
Last week's Acura Classic at San Diego marked Maria's first tournament since winning Wimbledon. As such, it generated a lot of media-attention, which - busy as I am - cannot go unreported by me.


Maria's first match (in the second round after a bye) was on Tuesday 27th July, and she enjoyed a comfortable 6-3 6-3 victory over the voluptuous Lilia Osterloh, who was a qualifier in this tournament.

"I really feel this is where I belong. The competitive spirit comes back again. I knew it wouldn't be easy and I just tried to be consistent. I think I did well for not playing for a while and coming off such a big win.

"It was exciting. There were a few more guests asking me for tickets. As long as people enjoy it and bring the kids in, it's great for me to show my tennis."


This set up a mouthwatering third-round clash with the very pretty Gisela Dulko, who has a lovely forehand but does not cope particularly well with weight of shot from her opponents. Maria was in stunning form on Thursday, never allowed Gisela to settle, and absolutely took her to the cleaners with a 6-0 6-1 victory.


And this set up an intriguing quarter-final against the only other Russian woman ever to win a Grand Slam: French Open champion Anastasia Myskina. Myskina, who bears a striking resemblance to Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is a very solid out-and-out baseliner who preys on her opponents' mistakes, in contrast to Maria who just plays her own game instinctively, regardless of the opponent.

Myskina sparked a war of words ahead of the match, by questioning Maria's allegiance to Russia, suggesting that Maria's mentality was more American than Russian. "Maria is more comfortable in English than in Russian," she said.

Elena Dementieva butted in, saying Maria was "not really Russian."

And Maria responded to these catty remarks from her tweenage compatriots with typical maturity and intelligence.
"Even though I train in America, I'm still Russian. That's where I come from. No one is going to tell me where I'm from because I know where I'm from. I don't feel American at all. I feel this is part of my job."

When I saw the headline "Russians debate teenager's identity" on ITV Teletext, I thought someone had died!


Sadly, though, Myskina's remarks went unpunished as Maria lost to her 7-5 6-2 in Friday's quarter-finals. Perhaps next time Maria plays Myskina, she should bring a stake and some garlic as well as a racket! ;)

Maria led 5-2 in the first set, but then "rapidly lost control of the match when Myskina moved inside the court and began to cut off her angles" [ITV Teletext].

Myskina had a 4-0 lead in the second, then Maria fought back to 2-4. Maria double-faulted on break-point to leave Myskina serving for the match at 5-2, which she duly did.

Myskina: "This means a lot to me because she's the Wimbledon champion and a great player. I get a lot of confidence from this match."

Maria: "I was trying to find a way through the match, but I didn't do anything special. She's older than me, and finds a way to win. When I get to her age [23], I'll be a lot more experienced and stronger."


And this denied Maria a mouthwatering semi-final against Vera Zvonareva, who lost to Myskina in an amazing match, 17/15 in the final-set tiebreak.


Having pulled out of Los Angeles two weeks ago to get more rest after Wimbledon, Maria has now wild-carded into this week's Rogers Cup at Montréal, looking to get more match-play before the US Open as she doesn't get to play in the Olympics.

As at San Diego, Maria is seeded sixth and has a bye to the second round, where she could face the huge-hitting Mary Pierce, the Australian Open 1995 and French Open 2000 champion who is now ranked #26. At San Diego, Pierce was beaten by Gisela Dulko the round before Maria thrashed Dulko.

--
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/

Dan23
Aug 2nd, 2004, 12:01 AM
Thanks for that Andrew, another informative report :yeah:

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Aug 2nd, 2004, 01:03 AM
do you mean that Osterloh was beautiful?

Andy.
Aug 2nd, 2004, 01:22 AM
thanks for the report andrew, very interesting and informative

Edward.
Aug 2nd, 2004, 01:31 AM
Thanks again for your detailed insight Mr. Broad! :)

Lemonskin.
Aug 2nd, 2004, 08:39 AM
do you mean that Osterloh was beautiful?

i believe "voluptuous" means curvy, if ya know what i mean.