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andrewbroad
Jun 22nd, 2010, 11:44 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round draw
3. Maria Sharapova preview (1r: Anastasia Pivovarova)
4. Andrew's wishes
5. Order of play for Tuesday

Master thread for my Wimbledon 2010 reports:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=412612

Abbreviations:
[Q] qualifier
[WC] wild card
[LL] lucky loser
[A] alternate
[EF] member of my Eternal Fanship
[DF] member of my demi-fanship
[s] Selesian (two hands both sides)

---------
1. Photos
---------
1.1 General links
-----------------

I will post these links only once.

Where to look at many players:
* http://www.tennis.com/galleries/index.aspx
* http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery
* http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/tennis/photos.html

Where to search for specific players:
* http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/players/rankingsw.html
* http://uk.news.search.yahoo.com/
* http://www.fotosports.com/
* Getty Images


1.2 Daily photos
----------------

Maria looking pretty in her pretournament press-conference:
* http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/galleries/2010-06-19/2010-06-191.html

Pre-Wimbledon party (various players including Maria:
* http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/gallery/20100618/party-time-in-london_2256674_2074079
* http://www.onthebaseline.com/2010/06/19/wta-photos-from-the-wimbledon-players-party/

-------------------
2. First-round draw
--------------------
2.1 Top quarter: Chakvetadze, Šafářová, Hantuchová, Sharapova
-------------------------------------------------------------

* Michelle Larcher de Brito v SERENA WILLIAMS [1] (ˇvamos Michelle!)
* Anna Chakvetadze [EF] v Andrea Petković (DAVAI ANNA!!)
* Ayumi Morita [s] v Tamarine Tanasugarn (ganbatte Ayumi!)
* LUCIE ŠAFÁŘOVÁ [25,EF] v Dominika Cibulková (my loyalty is to LUCIE)

* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [24,EF] v Vania King (POĎME DANIELA!!)
* Elena Vesnina v Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová (davai Elena!)
* Alizé Cornet v Ioana Raluca Olaru (my loyalty is to Alizé)
* MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v Anastasia Pivovarova [LL] (my loyalty is to MARIA)

* Chanelle Scheepers [WC] v LI,NA [9]
* Mariana Duque Marińo v Kurumi Nara [Q]
* Anastasia Rodionova v Anne Keothavong
* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [19] v Akgul Amanmuradova

* SARA ERRANI [32] v Julie Coin (forza Sara!)
* Arantxa Parra Santonja [s] v Olga Govortsova (my Passion says Olga, but my Reason says Arantxa)
* Jill Craybas v Alberta Brianti
* Melinda Czink v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [7]


2.2 Second quarter: Magdaléna Rybáriková
----------------------------------------

* CAROLINE WOŹNIACKI [3] v Tathiana Garbin (kom sĺ Caro!)
* Arantxa Rus v Chang,Kai-Chen
* Roberta Vinci v Sybille Bammer (forza Roberta!)
* Iveta Benešová v ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA [29] (pojďme Iveta!)

* ZHENG,JIE [23] v Pauline Parmentier (jia you Jie!)
* Sorana Cîrstea v Petra Kvitová (hai Sorana!)
* Casey Dell'Acqua v Bojana Jovanovski
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [14,DF] v Mirjana Lučić [Q] (davai Vika!)

* FLAVIA PENNETTA [10,DF] v Anabel Medina Garrigues (forza Flavia!)
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v Monica Niculescu [Q,S] (my loyalty is to Gisela)
* Klára Zakopalová v Yvonne Meusburger (pojďme Klára!)
* Magdaléna Rybáriková [EF] v ARAVANE REZAĎ [18,DF] (my loyalty is to MAGDA)

* Kimiko Date Krumm v ALEXANDRA DULGHERU [13]
* Heather Watson [WC] v Romina Sarina Oprandi [Q]
* Tímea Bacsinszky v Edina Gallovits (hopp Tímea!)
* SAMANTHA STOSUR [6] v Kaia Kanepi [Q] (c'mon Sam!)


2.3 Third quarter: Vera Zvonarëva
---------------------------------

* KIM CLIJSTERS [8] won
* Karolina Šprem [DF] won
* Shenay Perry [Q] won
* MARIA KIRILENKO [27,DF] won

* JUSTINE HENIN [17] won
* Kristina Barrois won
* Chan,Yung-Jan won
* NADIA PETROVA [12] won

* YANINA WICKMAYER [15,DF] won
* Kirsten Flipkens won
* Andrea Hlaváčková [Q] won
* VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] won

* ALYONA BONDARENKO [28] won
* Varvara Lepchenko won
* Aleksandra Woźniak won
* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [4] won


2.4 Bottom quarter
------------------

* Vera Dushevina won
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] won
* Regina Kulikova won
* YAROSLAVA SHVEDOVA [30] won

* Gréta Arn [Q] won
* Alicia Molik won
* Petra Martić won
* MARION BARTOLI [11,DF,S] won

* SHAHAR PE'ER [13] won
* Angelique Kerber won
* Jarmila Groth won
* MELANIE OUDIN [33] won

* ALISA KLEYBANOVA [26] won
* Alla Kudryavtseva won
* Ekaterina Makarova won
* VENUS WILLIAMS [2] won

--------------------------
3. Maria Sharapova preview
--------------------------

Maria Sharapova is a tweenage tennis-phenomenon with the potential to be the best player in the world, as she continues to improve an already brilliant game. She has already been #1 in the world, and won three Majors.

Maria's on-court presence is reminiscent of my all-time favourite player Monica Seles, with her powerful, early groundstrokes, her extreme on-court intensity, passion, focus, determination and fearlessness, and yes – her grunting! ;) At her best, she gets in a zone where the ball seems to come to her in slow motion, enabling her to hit winners at will.

Maria is still struggling after a 9˝-month lay-off from July 2008 to May 2009, during which she had right-shoulder surgery in October 2008.

Last year, she reached the quarter-finals of the French Open in only her second tournament back, but has failed to reach a fourth round in the four Majors since. Although she won her first Major title at Wimbledon 2004, she has lost in the second round of the last two Wimbledons. I trust that both of these abnormal, embarrassing sequences will be rectified at Wimbledon 2010!

At times in her comeback, Maria has looked as impressive as ever, with her ferocious groundstrokes and iron will that had helped her win three Major titles and become world #1 in 2004–2008.

Yet at other times, Maria has really struggled, going through alarming periods of unforced errors, and often serving double faults in double figures for a match.

So far in her comeback, Maria has got her ranking back up to #13, won a Premier title at Tokyo last October, and won two International titles so far in 2010: Memphis and Strasbourg.

But 2010 has been a huge disappointment for Maria outside of those two tournaments, as she has played only five other tournaments – and barely won a match in the first three of those other tournaments – due to a right-elbow injury. After reaching the Birmingham final, Maria's win/loss record for the year so far stands at 17:5, with 15 of the wins coming in International tournaments.

Maria lost to #58 Maria Kirilenko in a 3h22m marathon in the first round of the Australian Open: 7-6 3-6 6-4. Little Maria went on to reach her first Major quarter-final.

Maria won Memphis in February, beating #101 Shenay Perry 6-0 6-2, #137 Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1 6-1, #70 Elena Baltacha 6-2 7-5, #66 Petra Kvitová 6-4 6-3, and #102 Sofia Arvidsson 6-2 6-1 in the final.

In her opening match at Indian Wells, Maria struggled past #43 Vera Dushevina 4-6 7-5 6-2, coming back from the verge of defeat at 4-6 3-5* (15/30*). She then lost 6-3 2-6 6-3 to #23 Zheng,Jie, blowing a *3-2 lead in the third set as her right-elbow injury flared up.

Maria didn't play for eight weeks after that. She came back at Madrid, but had the misfortune to draw the brilliant Lucie Šafářová in the first round. Maria fought from 0-4* to 4-4* in the first set, but Lucie is much better than her then-ranking of #30, and stormed to a 6-4 6-3 victory. Lucie went on to reach the semi-finals.

Maria fared much better at Strasbourg, gaining some much-needed match-play as she beat #67 Regina Kulikova 6-3 3-6 6-1, #267 Dia Evtimova 6-3 6-0, #81 Julia Görges 7-6 6-1, #49 Anabel Medina Garrigues 4-6 6-2 6-2, and #77 Kristina Barrois in the final.

What impressed me about Maria's Strasbourg-campaign was her determination to complete the tournament despite rain-delays that meant she had to complete her quarter-final and play her semi-final on Friday, and then play the final on Saturday. Maria doesn't usually like to play the week before a Major, so I was half-expecting her to tank after dropping the first set of her semi-final.

At the French Open, Maria won an entertaining match against #110 Ksenia Pervak 6-3 6-2, then saw off #71 Kirsten Flipkens 6-3 6-3 in the second round.

Maria then had the misfortune to run into the unretired Justine Henin in the third round, who, despite being ranked only #23 and seeded accordingly, won four French Open titles in 2003–2007. Maria looked in danger of an embarrassingly lopsided loss as she went *0-4 down, but after dropping the first set 2-6, she went from strength to strength in the second, taking it 6-3 before bad light stopped play. Maria made a 2-0* start to the third set, but won only one more game after that: 2-6 6-3 3-6.

For failing to defend her French Open quarter-final, Maria's ranking fell from #13 to its current #17.

Maria reached her fourth Birmingham final, starting with straightforward wins over #108 Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-0 6-3, #86 Alla Kudryavtseva (who beat her at Wimbledon 2008) 6-3 6-1, and #144 Sesil Karatantcheva (who, as a 14-year-old in 2004, claimed that Maria was afraid to play her and vowed to "kick her butt off", although in 2010 she seems to have matured into a pleasant young lady with much more modest expectations).

Although Karatantcheva wasn't strong enough to trouble Maria, who won that quarter-final 6-2 6-4, I got the impression that Maria wasn't feeling very well. She made a blistering start, but totally stopped grunting early in the match, and again in the second set of her semi-final against #185 Alison Riske (who had played amazingly aggressive and successful all-court tennis to upset Anna Chakvetadze and Yanina Wickmayer in previous rounds), which she won 6-2 4-6 6-1.

This set up a final against #11 Li,Na: a rematch of their Birmingham 2009 semi-final, which Maria had lost 6-4 6-4. This time, she made a 3-1* start but lost 7-5 6-1. Li looked every bit a top player – she has developed from a go-for-broker to a player who knows how to put her opponent into awkward positions with good placement – but Maria didn't seem to have any energy left for the second set after losing a very tough first set.

My guess is that Maria fell ill before her Birmingham quarter-final (with a sore throat among the symptoms!), and didn't have the energy to complete the tournament. I don't think it will be anything to worry about now that she's had a week off, and will have a day off after each of her Wimbledon matches.

Except after the fourth round, of course: she's seeded to play Serena Williams, and the quarter-finals are the next day!


3.1 First-round preview
-----------------------

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v Anastasia Pivovarova [LL]

Maria's first-round draw got a lot easier when María José Martínez Sánchez [22] pulled out of Wimbledon, as Maria was originally drawn against Wimbledon 2004 Girls' Singles and Birmingham 2008 champion Kateryna Bondarenko (who was promoted to 34th seed), but now gets Anastasia Pivovarova, who was double-bagelled in the third round of qualifying!

It's an improvement in terms of eye-candy, too, as Pivovarova is another tall, slim, leggy, beautiful Russian! ;)

World #127 Pivovarova just turned 20, and has a 21:14 win/loss record for 2010 so far, although most of these results come from the ITF circuit or WTA qualifying.

Pivovarova fell in the second qualifying-round of Auckland to #127 Chanelle Scheepers. She avenged that loss immediately in the first qualifying-round of the Australian Open: 6-4 6-2. She beat #181 Oksana Kalashnikova 6-2 7-5, but lost 7-6 1-6 6-4 to #191 Han,Xinyun in the third qualifying-round.

Pivovarova lost to #296 Olivia Sánchez in the second round of ITF Rancho Mirage, and to #307 Florencia Molinero in the first round of ITF Laguna Nigel. She reached the quarter-finals of ITF Surprise, but lost 6-3 6-4 to #257 Abigail Spears.

Pivovarova lost 6-4 4-6 6-4 to #75 Petra Martić in the first qualifying-round of Indian Wells, then 6-2 6-3 to Arantxa Rus in the second round of ITF Fort Walton Beach. She lost 6-1 7-6 to #36 Carla Suárez Navarro in the first round of Miami, and 2-6 6-2 6-3 to #175 Kristina Mladenović in the second qualifying-round of Marbella.

Pivovarova reached the semi-finals of ITF Bari, beating #292 Julia Mayr 5-7 6-2 6-1, #131 Darya Kustova 3-6 6-2 6-2, #206 Iryna Kuryanovich 2-6 7-5 6-2, and losing 6-7 6-4 6-2 to #123 Zuzana Kučová.

Pivovarova reached quarter-finals at ITF Brescia (losing 6-1 3-6 6-3 to #268 Anna Korzeniak) and ITF Florence (losing 4-6 7-6 6-4 to #200 Margalita Chaknashvili). Her four wins in those tournaments were all straight-setters against players outside the top 248.

Pivovarova's highlight of the year so far has been reaching the third round of the French Open as a qualifier. In qualifying, she beat #265 Claire de Gubernatis 7-6 5-7 6-3, #108 Bojana Jovanovski 6-3 2-6 6-2, and #130 Michaëlla Krajíček 6-4 6-7 6-2. In the main draw, she beat #90 Ioana Raluca Olaru and #24 Zheng,Jie both 6-4 6-3, then lost 6-3 6-2 to the eventual runner-up: #7 Samantha Stosur.

At 's-Hertogenbosch, Pivovarova beat #251 Valeria Savinykh 6-4 6-2 in the first qualifying-round, then lost 7-6 6-4 to #50 Arantxa Parra Santonja.

Pivovarova's qualifying-results:
1q + #173 Silvia Soler Espinosa, 6-1 6-3
2q + #199 María Irigoyen, 6-2 6-4
3q - #187 Eleni Daniilidou, 0-6 0-6

For Pivovarova, it's a case of "out of the frying-pan, into the fire"! She'll be out of her depth against Maria, who may be keen to emulate Daniilidou's scoreline!

I just hope for Pivovarova's sake that she looks her best, and won't feel too bad about being humiliated in a large stadium by a former champion who will be keen to send out a warning to the rest of the draw.


3.2 Later rounds
----------------

In the second round, Maria would face the winner of #77 Alizé Cornet and #114 Ioana Raluca Olaru. Either way, there will be no shortage of beauty!

The third round could well see a mouth-watering match between Maria and #25 Daniela Hantuchová. They met at the same stage of Wimbledon 2004, with Maria going on to win the title!

The fourth round could bring #1 Serena Williams (though I hope Anna Chakvetadze or Lucie Šafářová will have something to say about that), whom Maria beat 6-1 6-4 in the Wimbledon 2004 final!

------------------
4. Andrew's wishes
------------------

MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF]:
1r + Anastasia Pivovarova [LL]
2r + Alizé Cornet
3r + DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [24,EF]
4r + Anna Chakvetadze [EF]
qf + Arantxa Parra Santonja [s]
sf + Magdaléna Rybáriková [EF]
_f + VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF]

----------------------------
5. Order of play for Tuesday
----------------------------

Court 2 (start 12:00 BST = 11:00 GMT)
1. WS 1r: SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [19] v Akgul Amanmuradova
2. MS 1r: Nicolas Kiefer v DAVID FERRER [9]
3. WS 1r: MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v Anastasia Pivovarova [LL]
4. MS 1r: JUAN CARLOS FERRERO [14] v Xavier Malisse

Let me take this opportunity to criticise Wimbledon's usual sexist scheduling for my first time this year. It beggars belief that in this politically-correct day and age, they can still put two men's best-of-5 matches and only one women's match on each of Centre Court and Court One – especially now that Centre Court has a roof, which allows play to continue indefinitely. There's no way Maria wouldn't be on a stadium-court at the other three Majors.

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

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jun 24th, 2010, 06:27 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round TV-report: Sharapova v Pivovarova
3. Second-round draw
4. Second-round preview: Sharapova v Olaru
5. Andrew's wishes
6. Order of play for Thursday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Various players including Maria:
* http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/galleries/2010-06-22/2010-06-221.html

------------------------------------------------
2. First-round TV-report: Sharapova v Pivovarova (Tuesday 22nd June 2010)
------------------------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] d. Anastasia Pivovarova [LL], 6-1 6-0

Pretty much what I predicted in my preview: Pivovarova was out of her depth, and was lucky to avoid a quadruple bagel (she lost 6-0 6-0 in the third round of qualifying), as Maria had her first 2 SPs at 5-0*.

Maria was on blistering form from start to finish: she had way too much firepower for Pivovarova, who didn't look used to facing it at all. Maria's power and depth kept Pivovarova on the back foot for almost the entire match, although Pivovarova did manage the odd winner, such as a deep forehand winner down the line at 1-6 *0-4 (0/40).

Pivovarova looked like she could be a good retriever - her long limbs give her excellent reach - but she couldn't repel firepower of that magnitude!

The only concern for Maria was that a couple of wild errors crept into her game at 5-0*, allowing Pivovarova to win a game. It's only going to get tougher from here on in - especially with Maria having Serena Williams in her fourth-round draw!

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date (ETA 20th September 2010), because, with Maria being a member of my Eternal Fanship, I want to extract much more detail from the match before I release my point-by-point description.


First set
---------
SHARAPOVA *@*@*_* 6
PIVOVAROV _____*_ 1

The match was third on Court 2, and started at 16:33 BST.

Maria serving 0-0: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Pivovarova serving 0-1: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Pivovarova (GP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Maria (BP #1). Broken.

Maria serving 2-0: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). Held.

Pivovarova serving 0-3: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Maria serving 4-0: 15/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Pivovarova serving 0-5: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (SP #1 for Maria). Deuce #1. Ad Maria (SP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Pivovarova (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 5-1: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (SP #3 for Maria). Maria won the first set 6-1 at 17:03 BST (30m).


Second set
----------
SHARAPOVA @*@*@* 6
PIVOVAROV ______ 0

Pivovarova serving 0-0 (new balls): 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Broken.

Maria serving 1-0: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Pivovarova serving 0-2: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Maria serving 3-0: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). 40/30 (GP #2). Held.

Pivovarova serving 0-4: 0/15. 0/30. 0/40 (BP #1). 15/40 (BP #2). Broken.

Maria serving 5-0: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (MP #1 for Maria). Maria won 6-1 6-0 at 17:27 BST (second set 23m, match 54m).

--------------------
3. Second-round draw
--------------------
3.1 Top half: Chakvetadze, Hantuchová, Sharapova
------------------------------------------------

* Anna Chakvetadze [EF] v SERENA WILLIAMS [1] (DAVAI ANNA!!)
* Dominika Cibulková v Ayumi Morita [s] (my loyalty is to Domi)
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [24,EF] v Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová (POĎME DANIELA!!)
* MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v Ioana Raluca Olaru (my loyalty is to MARIA)

* LI,NA [9] v Kurumi Nara [Q]
* Anastasia Rodionova v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [19]
* Arantxa Parra Santonja [s] v SARA ERRANI [32]
* AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [7] v Alberta Brianti

* CAROLINE WOŹNIACKI [3] v Chang,Kai-Chen (kom sĺ Caro!)
* Roberta Vinci v ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA [29] (forza Roberta!)
* ZHENG,JIE [23] v Petra Kvitová (jia you Jie!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [14,DF] v Bojana Jovanovski (davai Vika!)

* FLAVIA PENNETTA [10,DF] v Monica Niculescu [Q,S] (my loyalty is to Flavia)
* ARAVANE REZAĎ [18,DF] v Klára Zakopalová (my Passion says Klára, but my Reason says Aravane)
* ALEXANDRA DULGHERU [31] v Romina Sarina Oprandi [Q]
* Edina Gallovits v Kaia Kanepi [Q]


3.2 Bottom half: Vera Zvonarëva
-------------------------------

* KIM CLIJSTERS [8] won
* MARIA KIRILENKO [27,DF] won
* JUSTINE HENIN [17] won
* NADIA PETROVA [12] won

* YANINA WICKMAYER [15,DF] won
* VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] won
* ALYONA BONDARENKO [28] won
* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [4] won

* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] won
* Regina Kulikova won
* Gréta Arn [Q] won
* MARION BARTOLI [11,DF,S] won

* Angelique Kerber won
* Jarmila Groth won
* ALISA KLEYBANOVA [26] won
* VENUS WILLIAMS [2] won

------------------------------------------
4. Second-round preview: Sharapova v Olaru
------------------------------------------

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v Ioana Raluca Olaru (my loyalty is to MARIA)

Maria has lost in the second round of Wimbledon for the last two years, but although she's never played Olaru before, it's difficult to imagine that abnormal, embarrassing streak continuing against the world #114, whose win/loss record for 2010 so far is 7:14.

Looking at Olaru's 2010 results, I see a lot of first-round losses, some second-round losses, and some qualifying-campaigns (she successfully qualified for WTA Paris). She hasn't beaten a top-64 player all year. She came into Wimbledon on a six-match losing-streak, but beat #77 Alizé Cornet 5-7 6-4 6-4 in the first round here.

Olaru is very attractive, so I'm really looking forward to watching her on TV for the first time!

------------------
5. Andrew's wishes
------------------

MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF]:
2r + Ioana Raluca Olaru
3r + DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [24,EF]
4r + Anna Chakvetadze [EF]
qf + Arantxa Parra Santonja [s]
sf + VICTORIA AZARENKA [14,DF]
_f + VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF]

-----------------------------
6. Order of play for Thursday
-----------------------------

Court One (start 13:00 BST = 12:00 GMT)
1. WS 2r: MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v Ioana Raluca Olaru
2. MS 2r: ROBIN SÖDERLING [6] v Marcel Granollers
3. MS 2r: Ivan Dodig v SAM QUERREY [18]

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

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jun 26th, 2010, 06:48 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Second-round TV-report: Sharapova v Olaru
3. Third-round draw
4. Third-round preview: Sharapova v Záhlavová Strýcová
5. Andrew's wishes
6. Order of play for Saturday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Various players including Maria:
* http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/galleries/2010-06-24/2010-06-241.html

--------------------------------------------
2. Second-round TV-report: Sharapova v Olaru (Thursday 24th June 2010)
--------------------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] d. Ioana Raluca Olaru, 6-1 6-4

In the most entertaining match of Wimbledon 2010 so far, Maria dominated Olaru until 6-1 2-0* with her usual display of big serves, huge groundstrokes and drive-volleys, as Olaru struggled to cope with the speed of the grass.

Then Olaru relaxed and played some brilliant tennis: big serves, forehand winners, volley-winners. Maria was in danger of losing control of the match when Olaru broke back for 4-4, but after a tremendous game of three deuces on Olaru's serve, Maria cranked up the pressure; Olaru double-faulted to give Maria *5-4, and she converted her third of three match-points at 40/0.

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date (ETA 4th October 2010), because, with Maria being a member of my Eternal Fanship, I want to extract much more detail from the match before I release my point-by-point description.


First set
---------
SHARA *@*_*@* 6
OLARU ___*___ 1

The match was first on Court One, and started at 13:10 BST.

Maria serving 0-0: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Maria (GP #1). Held.

Olaru serving 0-1: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Maria serving 2-0: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Olaru serving 0-3: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Maria (BP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Olaru (GP #1). Deuce #3. Ad Olaru (GP #2). Held.

Maria serving 3-1: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). Held.

Olaru serving 1-4: 0/15. 0/30. 0/40 (BP #1). 15/40 (BP #2). Broken.

Maria serving 5-1: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (SP #1 for Maria). Maria won the first set 6-1 at 13:42 BST (32m).


Second set
----------
SHARA @*_*_*__@* 6
OLARU __*_*_*@__ 4

Olaru serving 0-0 (new balls): 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Maria serving 1-0: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). Held.

Olaru serving 0-2: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 2-1: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Deuce #1. Ad Olaru (BP #3). Deuce #2. Ad Maria (GP #1). Held.

Olaru serving 1-3: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). Held.

Maria serving 3-2: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Olaru serving 2-4: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). 40/30 (GP #3). Held.

Maria serving 4-3: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Olaru (BP #1). Broken.

Olaru serving 4-4: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Maria (GP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Maria (GP #3). Deuce #3. Ad Maria (GP #4). Broken.

Maria serving 5-4 (new balls): 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (MP #1 for Maria). 40/15 (MP #2 for Maria). 40/30 (MP #3 for Maria). Maria won 6-1 6-4 at 14:34 BST (second set 51m, match 1h24m).

-------------------
3. Third-round draw
-------------------

* Dominika Cibulková v SERENA WILLIAMS [1] (poďme Domi!)
* MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová (DAVAI MARIA!!)
* Anastasia Rodionova v LI,NA [9]
* SARA ERRANI [32] v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [7] (forza Sara!)

* CAROLINE WOŹNIACKI [3,DF] v ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA [29] (kom sĺ Caro!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [14,DF] v Petra Kvitová (davai Vika!)
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [10,DF] v Klára Zakopalová (my loyalty is to Flavia)
* ALEXANDRA DULGHERU [31] v Kaia Kanepi [Q]

* KIM CLIJSTERS [8] won
* JUSTINE HENIN [17] won
* VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] won
* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [4] won

* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] won
* MARION BARTOLI [11,DF,S] won
* Jarmila Groth won
* VENUS WILLIAMS [2] won

------------------------------------------------------
4. Third-round preview: Sharapova v Záhlavová Strýcová
------------------------------------------------------

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová (DAVAI MARIA!!)

I was looking forward to a mouth-watering match with Daniela Hantuchová (they met in the third round of Wimbledon 2004), but Daniela surprisingly lost to Záhlavová Strýcová in the previous round.

Záhlavová Strýcová is ranked #68, and has a 15:16 win/loss record for 2010 so far (including her first two rounds here).

Their official head-to-head stands at 1:0 after Maria beat Záhlavová Strýcová 6-1 6-3 in the second round of Amelia Island 2008 (Maria went on to win her first clay-court title), but Maria also played "Barbora Strýcová" in the Australian Open 2002 Girls' Singles final, and lost 6-2 7-5. Maria was the youngest-ever Australian Open Girls' Singles finalist at 14 years and 9 months, while Strýcová was 13 months older.

Záhlavová Strýcová is one of the most openly emotional players on the WTA Tour. During her loss to Maria at Amelia Island 2008, she threw her racket, slammed it against her shoe and the ground, and yelled at herself and even the umpire.

Looking at Záhlavová Strýcová's results for 2010, I see a lot of first- and second-round exits, and several failures to qualify (all in Tour-level events). She reached the semi-finals of ITF Marseille two weeks ago, beating three players outside the top 119, and losing 2-6 6-3 6-1 to #74 Klára Zakopalová. She fell in the first round of 's-Hertogenbosch 6-4 7-6 to #51 Roberta Vinci.

Záhlavová Strýcová has reached the third round with the following results:
1r + #41 Elena Vesnina, 6-1 6-3
2r + #25 DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [24,EF], 6-1 2-6 4-6

Maria has reached the third round with the following results:
1r + #127 Anastasia Pivovarova [LL], 6-1 6-0
2r + #114 Ioana Raluca Olaru, 6-1 6-4

Záhlavová Strýcová's two wins here suggest that she should be another notch up on the difficulty-gradient of Maria's Wimbledon 2010 campaign, but I still expect a comfortable straight-sets win for Maria.

What worries me is that Maria would almost certainly play Serena Williams in the fourth round, and the difficulty-gradient would be off the scale, relative to Maria's first three opponents. Williams has been on terrifying form so far, threatening to double-bagel both her first two opponents, so Maria needs to make a similar statement in her third-round match.

There is, of course, a direct correlation between the number of games that Maria will lose against Záhlavová Strýcová and the number of games that she will win against Williams (12, I hope!), and with the way that Williams has played in her first two matches, I suspect that only a 6-0 6-0 thrashing of Záhlavová Strýcová would equate to a win over Williams. :eek:

------------------
5. Andrew's wishes
------------------

MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF]:
3r + Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová
4r + Dominika Cibulková
qf + SARA ERRANI [32]
sf + VICTORIA AZARENKA [14,DF]
_f + VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF]

-----------------------------
6. Order of play for Saturday
-----------------------------

Court One (start 13:00 BST = 12:00 GMT)
1. MS 3r: ROBIN SÖDERLING [6] v THOMAZ BELLUCCI [25]
2. WS 3r: MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová
3. MS 3r: Xavier Malisse v SAM QUERREY [18]

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

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jun 28th, 2010, 06:04 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Third-round TV-report: Sharapova v Záhlavová Strýcová
3. Fourth-round draw
4. Fourth-round preview: Sharapova v S.Williams
5. Andrew's wishes
6. Order of play for Monday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Various players including Maria:
* http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/galleries/2010-06-26/2010-06-261.html

--------------------------------------------------------
2. Third-round TV-report: Sharapova v Záhlavová Strýcová (Saturday 26th June 2010)
--------------------------------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] d. Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová, 7-5 6-3

This was a fascinating match, as Záhlavová Strýcová is one of the most emotional and extreme tactical players I've ever seen. She mixed up the pace, depth and spins of her shots, and put Maria in all sorts of awkward positions. Záhlavová Strýcová hit numerous dropshots until Maria started reading them, and gave Maria a lot of trouble with dipping passing-shots.

It was an unconvincing performance by Maria, and the way her forehand broke down in this match is serious cause for concern ahead of her next match against Serena Williams, although the challenge that Záhlavová Strýcová presented was completely different to the one that Williams will present.

Ultimately, Maria had too much firepower for Záhlavová Strýcová, whose emotions got in the way at the decisive moments: not least at *5-6 (15/30), when she threw a wobbler when her first serve was called wide, then double-faulted to go SP×2 down.

Maria's so much better conditioned to handle these pressure-cooker situations, so although she continued to struggle in the second set, the outcome was never in doubt after the aforementioned double fault.

There was an interesting subplot with Hawk-Eye challenges in this match. Maria made several correct challenges in this match: Záhlavová Strýcová got annoyed that Maria was making these challenges, while Maria was annoyed that she had to make these challenges, as the resulting overrules often meant having to replay a point that she would have won already but for a bad call. Záhlavová Strýcová, on the other hand, ran out of challenges in both sets.

Maria's grunting was exceptionally loud in this match. Perhaps it was just because she had to work really hard to win points, but BBC commentator Simon Reed suggested that she was deliberately raising the volume because she could see that Záhlavová Strýcová was getting upset about it.

Maria made a very bad start to the match, playing a terrible service-game to be broken straight away. She broke straight back courtesy of two double faults, but was broken again for 1-2* as Záhlavová Strýcová mixed power with numerous dropshots, and retrieved very well: making Maria feel a need to hit very close to the lines.

Maria hit a crosscourt forehand winner and a crosscourt backhand winner as she broke back for *2-2, then scored the first hold of the match for 3-2*.

Záhlavová Strýcová came through a tough service-game to hold for 3-3*, then Maria started to read Záhlavová Strýcová's dropshots, hitting winners off two of them as she held for 4-3*. Záhlavová Strýcová tried to convince the umpire that Maria had touched the net after running down a dropshot.

Maria saved BP at *4-4 (30/40) before coming through a two-deuce service-game to hold to 5-4*. Then they played a mammoth-game of three deuces on Záhlavová Strýcová's serve: she saved two SPs bravely, going to the net both times.

Maria held to love for 6-5*, reached 40/15* on a double fault as I have already mentioned, and took the first set 7-5 when Záhlavová Strýcová dumped a forehand halfway up the net (and threw her racket).

Záhlavová Strýcová's body-language looked positive when she broke for 5-7 *1-0, but that soon changed when Maria made yet another successful challenge, and broke back for *1-1. The next three games went with serve: *3-2.

They played a five-deuce marathon, with Maria needing 6 BPs to break for *4-2 – sealed with a blazing backhand return-winner down the line. Maria then came through a four-deuce service-game, saving a BP before holding for 5-2*.

Záhlavová Strýcová looked very positive as she held to love for 3-5*, but Maria then served out the match to love – sealed with a pinpoint ace down the middle.

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date (ETA 14th February 2011), because, with Maria being a member of my Eternal Fanship, I want to extract much more detail from the match before I release my point-by-point description.


First set
---------
SHARAPOVA _@_@*_*_*_*@ 7
ZÁHLAVOVÁ @_@__*_*_*__ 5

The match started at 15:22 BST.

Maria serving 0-0: 0/15. 0/30. 0/40 (BP #1). 15/40 (BP #2). Broken.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 1-0: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Maria serving 1-1: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (BP #2). Broken.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-1: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Deuce #1. Ad Maria (BP #1). Broken.

Maria serving 2-2: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-3: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #3). Held.

Maria serving 3-3: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 3-4 (new balls): 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 4-4: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Maria (GP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Maria (GP #2). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 4-5: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Maria (SP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #2). Deuce #3. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #3). Deuce #4. Ad Maria (SP #2). Deuce #5. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #4). Held.

Maria serving 5-5: 0/15. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 5-6: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (SP #3 for Maria). Maria won the first set 7-5 at 16:26 BST (1h04m).


Second set
----------
SHARAPOVA _@*_*@*_* 6
ZÁHLAVOVÁ @__*___*_ 3

Maria serving 0-0: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Broken.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 1-0: 0/15. 0/30. 0/40 (BP #1). 15/40 (BP #2). Broken.

Maria serving 1-1: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 1-2: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 2-2 (new balls): 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-3: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Maria (BP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Maria (BP #3). Deuce #3. Ad Maria (BP #4). Deuce #4. Ad Maria (BP #5). Deuce #5. Ad Maria (BP #6). Broken.

Maria serving 4-2: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Maria (GP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (BP #1). Deuce #3. Ad Maria (GP #3). Deuce #4. Ad Maria (GP #4). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-5: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 5-3: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (MP #1 for Maria). Maria won 7-5 6-3 at 17:17 BST (second set 51m, match 1h55m).

--------------------
3. Fourth-round draw
--------------------

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v SERENA WILLIAMS [1] (DAVAI MARIA!!)
* LI,NA [9] v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [7]
* CAROLINE WOŹNIACKI [3,DF] v Petra Kvitová (kom sĺ Caro!)
* Klára Zakopalová v Kaia Kanepi [Q] (pojďme Klára!)

* JUSTINE HENIN [17] v KIM CLIJSTERS [8] (a win for Henin would be much the lesser evil)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [4] (DAVAI VERA!!)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v MARION BARTOLI [11,DF,S] (my Reason says Marion, but my Passion says Tsvetana)
* Jarmila Groth v VENUS WILLIAMS [2] (c'mon Jarmila!)

-----------------------------------------------
4. Fourth-round preview: Sharapova v S.Williams
-----------------------------------------------

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v SERENA WILLIAMS [1]

Well, Maria really has the wolf by the ear on Monday, as she faces Serena Williams for the first time at Wimbledon since the 2004 final, when she made mincemeat of Williams's second serve to score a sensational 6-1 6-4 victory and win her first Major at the grand old age of 17.

Maria led their head-to-head 2:1 at the end of 2004, but since then, it has deteriorated to 2:5:
- 2004 Miami 4r: Williams won 6-4 6-3
+ 2004 Wimbledon final: Maria won 6-1 6-4
+ 2004 WTA Tour Championships SF: Maria won 4-6 6-2 6-4
- 2005 Australian Open SF: Williams won 2-6 7-5 8-6
- 2007 Australian Open final: Williams won 6-1 6-2
- 2007 Miami 4r: Williams won 6-1 6-1
- 2008 Charleston QF: Williams won 7-5 4-6 6-1

Four of Williams's wins have come on hard courts – her best surface – while Maria has beaten Williams on both a grass-court and a hard court.

Williams has a 21:4 win/loss record for 2010 so far (including her three wins here). After being resoundingly defeated by #5 Elena Dementieva in the Sydney final (6-3 6-2), she won her fifth Australian Open title, beating surprise finalist Justine Henin 6-4 3-6 6-2 in a high-quality final.

Williams didn't play again until Rome, where she reached the semi-finals but lost to #7 Jelena Janković 4-6 6-3 7-6 in the quarter-finals. She lost 4-6 6-2 6-3 to #18 Nadia Petrova at Madrid, and alternated struggles with blistering wins at the French Open, finally falling 6-2 6-7 8-6 to #7 Samantha Stosur after wasting a match-point in their quarter-final.

Maria has reached the fourth round with the following results:
1r + #127 Anastasia Pivovarova [LL], 6-1 6-0
2r + #114 Ioana Raluca Olaru, 6-1 6-4
3r + #68 Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová, 7-5 6-3

Williams has reached the fourth round with the following results:
1r+ #148 Michelle Larcher de Brito, 6-0 6-4
2r+ #118 Anna Chakvetadze [EF], 6-0 6-1
3r+ #46 Dominika Cibulková, 6-0 7-5

Williams has looked on terrifying form in her first three matches here, going 8-0*, 11-0* and 7-0* up, respectively, but she did go off the boil in the second set of her first- and third-round matches, and she can't afford to do that against Maria!

Williams went through her first three matches without having her serve broken, but that should change on Monday, as Maria is one of the most fearsome returners in the game: eating up first and second serves! Maria certainly has to hold her own serve reliably, though, if this is to be more like Wimbledon 2004 than the Australian Open 2007.

Maria said: "It's tough to take anything away from that [Wimbledon 2004] match, as it was many years ago. There are always wonderful memories but, when you step out on the court, it's new. You've got to start from scratch; the score is 0-0."

Williams said: "I just remember I was really nervous [in the Wimbledon 2004 final]. I think I put too much pressure on myself. It didn't work out, and that was that."

------------------
5. Andrew's wishes
------------------

MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF]:
4r + SERENA WILLIAMS [1]
qf + LI,NA [9]
sf + Tsvetana Pironkova [DF]
_f + VERA ZVONARËVA [21,EF]

---------------------------
6. Order of play for Monday
---------------------------

Centre Court (start 13:00 BST = 12:00 GMT)
1. MS 4r: ROGER FEDERER [1] v JÜRGEN MELZER [16]
2. WS 4r: MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] v SERENA WILLIAMS [1]
3. MS 4r: SAM QUERREY [18] v ANDY MURRAY [4]

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

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/shara/

andrewbroad
Jul 12th, 2010, 02:41 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Fourth-round TV-report: Sharapova v S.Williams

---------
1. Photos
---------

Day 2: various players including Maria:
* http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8753788.stm

Day 4: various players including Maria:
* http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8758473.stm

Day 6: various players including Maria:
* http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8764923.stm

Day 7: various players including Maria:
* http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8768163.stm
* http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/galleries/2010-06-28/2010-06-281.html

-------------------------------------------------
2. Fourth-round TV-report: Sharapova v S.Williams (Monday 28th June 2010)
-------------------------------------------------

- MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [1], 6-7 (9/11) 4-6

Maria played much better than she did in the previous round against Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová, but really should have won at least the first set, as she had 3 SPs in the tiebreak.

The standard of play was so high: huge, deep serves, and anything short got punished. Williams was going for too much too soon in the rallies, which were therefore very short - in complete contrast to Maria's third-round match. At least tiredness would not be a factor!

Williams made a ridiculous start, serving four aces in the opening game as she held to 30. Maria played a good service-game of her own to hold to 15, but Williams served two more aces as she held for 2-1*.

Knowing that she couldn't afford to hit short second serves against Williams, Maria hit two double faults long as she was broken to love for 1-3*. But she became the first player to break Williams's serve this Wimbledon, hitting a beautiful off-forehand drive-volley winner, and going on to level at 3-3*.

With games going with serve, Maria served to save the first set at *4-5 and *5-6, and hit a couple of amazing return-winners at 5-5* - sadly not rewarded with a break.

The tiebreak was Maria's personal 9/11. She recovered from 1/3* with a hellacious crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline at *2/3, hit an off-forehand winner at 4/3*, and had 3 SPs (*6/4 and 8/7*) but wasted them with forced and unforced errors. Maria also saved Williams's first 2 SPs (*6/7 and *8/9), but couldn't do anything about the ace on the third.

The second set was an anticlimax, as Maria again threw in a bad service-game with two double faults to get broken for 1-2*, but this time there was no break back, and Williams finished with an incredible 19 aces.

Williams said: "She returned really well. It forced me to serve really well. She's in it for every point. Even on match-point, she's trying 200%."

Maria said: "I played really well, and had my chances. If it was not for her really great serving, I certainly had a real good look at winning it. She served extremely well - some of the best she served against me. I gave her a run for her money, but that was really the difference."

Maria told BBC Sport: "I'm a competitor and I love to win, and there's only one winner at the end of the tournament, and I really want it to be me, but today's situation didn't happen, and that's the way it goes, but I'm certainly not leaving here disappointed that I lost. I know that I went out there and did what I could do, and today just wasn't enough."

So yet another Wimbledon goes by without Maria regaining the title she won as a 17-year-old - or even reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006 (when she reached the semi-finals for the third year in a row). Once a regular in Major semi-finals, she will go into the US Open having not reached a Major quarter-final for 15 months.

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date (ETA 7th March 2011), because, with Maria being a member of my Eternal Fanship, I want to extract much more detail from the match before I release my point-by-point description.


First set
---------
SHARAPOV _*__@*_*_*_*_ 6(9)
WILLIAMS *_*@__*_*_*_T 7(11)

The match started at 14:53 BST.

Williams serving 0-0: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). 40/30 (GP #2). Held.

Maria serving 0-1: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). Held.

Williams serving 1-1: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). Held.

Maria serving 1-2: 0/15. 0/30. 0/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Williams serving 3-1: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Maria serving 2-3: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). 40/15 (GP #2). Held.

Williams serving 3-3: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 3-4 (new balls): 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Williams serving 4-4: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 4-5: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Williams serving 5-5: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Williams (GP #2). Held.

Maria serving 5-6: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Sharapova/Williams): 0/0*. *0/1. *1/1. 1/2*. 1/3*. *2/3. *3/3. 4/3*. 5/3*. *5/4. *6/4 (SP #1 for Maria). 6/5* (SP #2 for Maria). 6/6*. *6/7 (SP #1 for Williams). *7/7. 8/7* (SP #3 for Maria). 8/8*. *8/9 (SP #2 for Williams). *9/9. 9/10*. Williams won the first set 7-6 (11/9) at 15:50 BST (57m).


Second set
----------
SHARAPOV *___*_*_*_ 4
WILLIAMS _*@*_*_*_* 6

Maria serving 0-0: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Williams serving 0-1: 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 1-1: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). Broken.

Williams serving 2-1 (new balls): 15/0. 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). 40/30 (GP #2). Deuce #1. Ad Williams (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 1-3: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Williams serving 3-2: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 2-4: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (GP #1). 40/30 (GP #2). Held.

Williams serving 4-3: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (GP #1). Held.

Maria serving 3-5: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30 (GP #1). Held.

Williams serving 5-4: 15/0. 30/0. 40/0 (MP #1 for Williams). 40/15 (MP #2 for Williams). Williams won 7-6 (11/9) 6-4 at 16:30 BST (second set 39m, match 1h36m).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Nov 5th, 2010, 01:07 PM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================
First round: Sharapova v Pivovarova (Tuesday 22nd June 2010)
-----------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] d. Anastasia Pivovarova [LL], 6-1 6-0

I saw this match on the BBC Red Button, and have just uploaded my full TV-report – including a detailed point-by-point description, and transcriptions of selected commentary – to my website:

http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/shara/wimbledon2010.html

I apologise for posting this report much later than I said I would. I've had one thing after another to deal with since Wimbledon, and with the distinct possibility of a new job starting in December, I am becoming busier and busier.

As soon as the 2010 WTA season is over, I'll have to make updating my Eternal Fanship biographies (including Maria's) my first priority, so it's most unlikely that I will complete any more of Maria's Wimbledon 2010 reports this side of the Australian Open 2011.

The revised ETAs for the rest of my Wimbledon 2010 reports for Maria are as follows:

2r: Maria Sharapova v Ioana Raluca Olaru (28th February 2011)
3r: Maria Sharapova v Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová (28th March 2011)
4r: Maria Sharapova v Serena Williams (16th May 2011)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Apr 11th, 2011, 08:21 PM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================

I apologise for the very long delay in getting round to this report. Since Wimbledon 2010, I have started a new job that keeps me extremely busy, and my website is no longer online, since Sqweebs closed down its free hosting-service in January. So I’m posting my reports here, at a lower level of detail than originally planned, with the goal of finishing Wimbledon 2010 before Wimbledon 2011 begins.

-----------------------------------------
Second-round TV-report: Sharapova v Olaru (Thursday 24th June 2010)
-----------------------------------------

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] d. Ioana Raluca Olaru, 6-1 6-4

In the most entertaining match of Wimbledon 2010 so far, Maria dominated Olaru until 6-1 2-0* with her usual display of big serves, huge groundstrokes and drive-volleys, as Olaru struggled to cope with the speed of the grass.

Then Olaru relaxed and played some brilliant tennis: big serves, forehand winners, volley-winners. Maria was in danger of losing control of the match when Olaru broke back for 4-4, but after a tremendous game of three deuces on Olaru’s serve, Maria cranked up the pressure; Olaru double-faulted to give Maria *5-4, and she converted her third of three match-points at 40/0.

Maria embarrassed not only her opponent, but also a couple of line-judges with her successful Hawk-Eye challenges.


First set
---------
OLARU ___*___ 1
SHARA *@*_*@* 6

The match was first on Court One. Maria won the toss and chose to serve. Olaru chose the far side.

Tracy Austin said that no one’s talking about Maria as a Wimbledon 2010 title-contender, but she’s always dangerous with her big serve and big groundstrokes.

The match started at 13:10 BST.

Maria serving 0-0: First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand to the sideline forced Olaru to bunt a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/0. Maria backhand just long. 15/15. Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. 30/15. Maria forehand just long. 30/30. Maria netted a forehand off a mildly awkward sliced backhand from Olaru. 30/40 (BP #1). Maria hit a crosscourt backhand winner deep into the corner. Tracy Austin: “A couple of safer shots from Maria until she gets the exact one that she wants, then she goes bigger. She got down break-point by going big too soon.” Deuce #1. Olaru netted a forehand. Ad Maria (GP #1). Olaru hit an off-forehand just wide, and used Hawk-Eye to show that it was wide by a hair’s breadth! Olaru smiled as she changed ends. Held.

Olaru serving 0-1: Ace #1: down the middle, on the centre-line. 15/0. Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Olaru, pushed back on her heels, hit a down-the-line backhand into the tramlines. Sam Smith: “Doesn’t have the biggest game, Ioana Raluca Olaru. Would prefer the feel of the red clay under her feet – slower surface. This is a bit quick for her.” 15/30. Maria on the fourth stroke nailed an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria on the fourth stroke hit a down-the-line backhand winner back behind Olaru. Tracy Austin: “That last serve, 89 mph, is not gonna get the job done. Just not enough pace to disturb Maria Sharapova.” Held.

Olaru is struggling to cope with the speed of the grass.

Tracy Austin: “Olaru’s index-finger is underneath the racket, so it’s really an extreme Western grip.”

Maria serving 2-0: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Maria dominated the rally, forced a short floater, and dispatched it with a crosscourt backhand winner. 15/15. Maria on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. Olaru’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Maria to hit a forehand long. 30/30. First serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace out wide: just inside the sideline. Held.

Olaru serving 0-3: Olaru went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to hit a backhand long. 30/0. Maria went to the net, forcing Olaru to net a forehand. 30/15. Second serve: Maria nailed a backhand return-winner onto the baseline. 30/30. Maria went to the net, forcing Olaru to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). Second-serve ace down the middle: right in the corner! Deuce #1. Maria hit a down-the-line backhand winner just inside the baseline. Ad Maria (BP #2). First serve down the middle – on the centre-line – forced Maria to stretch wide and earth a forehand return. Tracy Austin: “What’s good about the last couple of serves is that they’ve had some nice /slice/ on them, which is so effective on grass.” Deuce #2. Maria hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. Ad Olaru (GP #1). Maria on the fourth stroke hit an off-forehand winner. Tracy Austin: “You just can’t afford to hit those shots down the middle of the court with nothing on them. So much pressure on opponents to go for better depth, better angles.” Deuce #3. Deep sliced serve out wide forced Maria to hit a forehand return long. Tracy Austin: “Slice just makes the ball stay down a little bit longer on the grass.” Sam Smith: “It’s a good effort to get some slice with that grip!” Ad Olaru (GP #2). Deep first serve forced Maria to net a backhand. Held.

Olaru is taking a lot of time between points on her serve. The commentators made a big deal of the fact that she has just avoided the double bagel, which she suffered at the fair hands of Victoria Azarenka here last year.

Maria serving 3-1: Ace down the middle. Maria forced Olaru to earth a backhand on the fourth stroke. 30/0. Maria’s deep forehand volley down the middle forced Olaru to turn and net a forehand. 40/0 (GP #1). Olaru’s deep return forced Maria to hit a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #2). Maria forced a short ball, and hit a deep backhand down the line: just inside the baseline, forcing Olaru to earth a forehand. Held.

Olaru serving 1-4: First serve: Maria’s deep down-the-line forehand return forced Olaru to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 0/15. Maria’s piercing off-forehand forced a short floater from Olaru, which Maria dispatched with an easy crosscourt forehand winner. 0/30. Maria spread Olaru, her short-angled crosscourt backhand forcing Olaru to hit a one-handed backhand long. Sam Smith: “The young Romanian, who’s only won eight matches this year, is really struggling against the power of Maria Sharapova.” 0/40 (BP #1). Olaru’s high-bouncing crosscourt forehand induced Maria to net a forehand. Tracy Austin: “Looking at the two players’ serves, there’s a massive difference: obviously in the speed, but look at the knee-bend. Olaru doesn’t use any knees or lower body whatsoever, whereas Sharapova /propels/ herself up into the serve.” 15/40 (BP #2). Olaru forced a short ball, but hit a forehand long. She has to pick off the low-hanging fruit, because there’s not much of it around. Held.

Maria serving 5-1: First serve out wide forced Olaru to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Maria went to the net, and hit a delectable crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. She’s won 11 of 11 points at the net so far. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to bunt a forehand long – and Maria was looking to serve and volley. 40/0 (SP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to earth a forehand return. Maria won the first set 6-1 at 13:42 (32m).


Second set
----------
OLARU __*_*_*@__ 4
SHARA @*_*_*__@* 6

Olaru serving 0-0 (new balls): Olaru went to the net, forced a floater, and dispatched it with a beautiful off-forehand punch-volley winner. 15/0. Double fault (second serve wide). Olaru wasted a challenge. 15/15. Olaru went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand to the sideline, but Maria anticipated it well, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner that was halfway between being a passing-shot and being a lob. 15/30. Maria went to the net and hit a beautiful backhand drop-volley. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria’s forehand winner down the line was called long, but Maria embarrassed the line-judge with a Hawk-Eye challenge that showed that it was a couple of inches inside the baseline! Olaru argued that Hawk-Eye had picked up the wrong shot. The umpire awarded the point to Maria without a replay.

Tracy Austin: “Maria looks in good shape. She looks fit; she’s moving well; striking the ball cleanly. She hits the ball so /flat/, so when it moves through the grass, it’s tough to track down.”

Maria serving 1-0: Maria hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Maria’s deep forehand down the line forced a floater, which she dispatched with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner onto the sideline. 30/0. Ace down the middle: 110 mph, on the centre-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Huge first serve down the middle forced Olaru to lunge wide and earth a forehand return. Held.

Olaru serving 0-2: First serve down the middle induced Maria to hit a backhand return wide. 15/0. Body-jamming serve induced Maria to net a forehand return. Sam Smith: “Feeding on the scraps now, the Romanian.” 30/0. Olaru’s deep crosscourt backhand induced Maria to hit a backhand long. Tracy Austin: “Just a little /too/ flat there.” 40/0 (GP #1). Maria embarrassed another line-judge with a challenge that showed that Olaru’s first serve was a couple of inches long. Second serve: Maria dumped a cheap forehand return into the net. Held.

Maria serving 2-1: Double fault #2 (second serve long). 0/15. Olaru’s deep crosscourt forehand caught Maria standing too far in, forcing her to net a forehand. 0/30. Deep first serve out wide forced a short return, which Maria dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/30. Maria forehand just long. 15/40 (BP #1). Deep second serve forced Olaru to bunt a forehand just wide – a leave that would have embarrassed Maria, had it just dropped in. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve down the middle forced Olaru to chop a forehand return very long. Deuce #1. Olaru chipped a deep forehand return just inside the baseline, forcing Maria to hit a forehand long. Tracy Austin: “I consider that an unforced error. Yes, she was pushed back, it was deep, but it wasn’t that hard. She certainly should have been able to get that ball back in.” Ad Olaru (BP #1). Second-serve ace down the middle: on the service-line. Deuce #2. Second serve: Olaru hit a makeable forehand return long. Ad Maria (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to bunt a forehand lob-return wide. Held.

Tracy Austin thinks Maria hits the ball 30–40% harder than Olaru. She also observed that Maria had abandoned her habit of tucking two strands of hair behind her ears before every serve.

Olaru serving 1-3: Olaru went to the net, drove Maria way outside the tramlines with a short-angled crosscourt backhand, and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner. 15/0. Big first serve forced a short return, which Olaru dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 30/0. Virtual ace down the middle (Maria just clipped it with her racket). 40/0 (GP #1). First serve forced a floater, but Olaru tried to hit a backhand volley from just inside the baseline, putting it wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Olaru opened up the court and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. Held.

A brilliant game by Olaru – much better than anything she had shown previously in this match! There was a nice close-up of Olaru’s shirt hiking up to show her belly-button as she served. Is this the start of a fightback?

Maria serving 3-2: Maria went to the net and hit a backhand dropshot-winner. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to chop a forehand return into the net. 30/0. Olaru forced a floater, and hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line. 30/15. Olaru forced a short floater by the sideline, but dumped a horrendous crosscourt backhand into the net. 40/15 (GP #1). Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand drive-volley winner. Held.

Olaru serving 2-4: Maria on the fourth stroke netted a backhand. 15/0. Maria netted a backhand return. 30/0. Deep, body-jamming second serve forced a short return, which Olaru dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 40/15 (GP #2). Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand drive-volley winner. 40/30 (GP #3). Olaru finally got the time-violation that had been coming throughout this match. She looked annoyed, but opened up the court and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. Held.

Time-violations are counted separately from code-violations (such as swearing or breaking a racket) in terms of the second violation bringing a point-penalty.

Maria serving 4-3: Maria forced a short ball and hit an easy forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Maria ran down a dropshot but netted a forehand. 15/15. Olaru chopped a forehand return just long. Tracy Austin: “Not feeling that she has time for a bigger swing.” 30/15. Olaru’s off-forehand forced Maria to net a backhand. 30/30. Second serve: Olaru netted a cheap off-backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Olaru hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, forcing Maria to hit a forehand long. Deuce #1. Maria’s crosscourt backhand was called wide, and her Hawk-Eye challenge confirmed it. Ad Olaru (BP #1). Olaru forced a short ball, and hit an off-forehand winner. Broken.

For the first time in the match, I’m starting to worry about Maria’s chances of reaching the third round for the first time since 2007. :o Olaru is playing much better since going a set and a break down, and could be a threat if she can maintain this form.

Tracy Austin: “Olaru really seems to be handling the /pace/ now. She’s adjusted to the ball coming to her quicker. Quicker backswing, staying down better.”

Olaru serving 4-4: Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to earth a backhand return. 15/0. Big first serve down the middle – just inside the centre-line – forced Maria to hit a forehand long. 30/0. Maria hit a deep backhand down the middle, plumb on the baseline, forcing Olaru to bunt an off-backhand wide. 30/15. Maria hit an off-forehand return deep into the corner, forcing Olaru to net a backhand. Maria said “c’mon”. 30/30. Big first serve down the middle forced Maria to stretch wide and net a backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with a down-the-line backhand drive-volley winner. Deuce #1. Olaru dumped a forehand halfway up the net, and doubled over in frustration. Sam Smith: “Sharapova cranking up the pressure here.” Ad Maria (BP #1). Deep second serve forced a slow forehand return that sat up nicely for Olaru to hit a forehand winner down the line. Tracy Austin: “It’s really amazing Maria’s not reading that one up the ‘T’ on the Ad-side a little bit better. Olaru really prefers that serve: it’s the one that she feels more comfortable going to, especially under pressure.” Deuce #2. Maria dominated the rally, forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand drive-volley winner. Ad Maria (BP #2). Maria hit a down-the-line backhand wide. Deuce #3. Olaru, stretched, hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Maria (BP #3). Double fault #3 (second serve wide of the centre-line). Broken.

Huge serving from Olaru at the start of that game, but Maria showed once again that she is mistress of the decisive moments, and it’s a shame that the best – and key – game of the match ended on a double fault.

Maria serving 5-4 (new balls): Ace #6: first serve out wide. 15/0. Heavy second serve induced Olaru to mishit a backhand return short and weak; Maria dispatched it with a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Olaru to hit a forehand return long. 40/0 (MP #1 for Maria). Olaru hit a deep backhand return just inside the baseline, inducing Maria to hit an off-forehand wide. 40/15 (MP #2 for Maria). Olaru’s crosscourt forehand induced Maria to net a makeable forehand. 40/30 (MP #3 for Maria). A short second serve induced Olaru to hit a backhand return long. Maria won 6-1 6-4 at 14:34 BST (second set 51m, match 1h24m).

Sam Smith: “For most of that match, she looked utterly convincing.”
Tracy Austin: “It’s good for Maria to be tested. Daniela Hantuchová in the next round would be a notch up from Olaru.”


Maria’s first BBC interview
---------------------------

This interview took place immediately after Maria left the court. She was still wearing her sun-visor, and glistening with sweat.

Celina Hinchcliffe: “Congratulations, Maria. The first set a breathe [sic]. How hard was it to adjust to the fight in the second set.”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, it was definitely a challenge, and she stepped it up and started playing really well, and er, you know, I’m just happy that I was able to close it off. You know, definitely made a few errors, er, you know, in the second set that er, you know, I shouldn’t, shouldn’t really make, but erm, I’m happy that I got through.”

Celina Hinchcliffe: “Is there anything missing from your game for you to really go on and challenge for this title?”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, just got to keep being aggressive, and you know, look to come in and, you know, in the second set, I just became a little bit more tentative, and erm, you know, wasn’t going, er... my shots weren’t going through the court as much as I would like them to, but erm, but it got better.”

Celina Hinchcliffe: “You’ve come back from this really bad shoulder-injury. What perspective has that given you on your tennis, Maria?”

Maria Sharapova: “Well, it’s just... it’s a thrill to be back, and, you know, last year on this day, I was going back home, er, you know, I lost in the second round, so, you know, I was definitely thinking about that in the last game. I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going home, you know. I’m here to contend; I’m here to win the tournament.’ So erm, you know, I was happy to get through.”

Celina Hinchcliffe: “Congratulations.”

Maria Sharapova: “Thank you.”


Maria’s second BBC interview
----------------------------

By this time, Maria had showered and changed into a stripy blue T-shirt that went nicely with the bright blue wall behind her.

Rishi Persad: “But Maria, watching the match, it seemed a different approach in the two sets: first set quite aggressive, second set less so.”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, and I think that’s why she got back in the match, and erm, was able to come back. I really gave her that opening, and erm, you know, she, she broke me, and I was fortunate to get a break back and, erm, and close out the match.”

Rishi Persad: “I suppose you have to be glad to be through to the third round after the last couple of Wimbledon tournaments that you’ve played in.”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, I am. I’m really thrilled, and erm, last year I was packing my bags at this time, so erm, I was really aware of that, and erm, was fortunate to get that win today, and erm, give myself an opportunity to play another match.”

Rishi Persad: “What do you think the difference is between Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon /this/ year compared to last year?”

Maria Sharapova: “Erm, to be honest, last year I was really trying to get my feet on the ground, and see where I was, erm, physically and mentally. I’d been out of the game for so long, and erm, you know, coming back, just trying to see if my shoulder can handle many matches, where my game was, and it was... it just depended day by day how I was feeling, and erm, this year’s definitely different, and I’ve been fortunate to play many matches in the last few weeks, erm, which has been good, and erm, you know, coming here, playing well.”

Rishi Persad: “Well done today. By the way, has there been much chat about the Queen’s presence here in the locker-room?”

Maria Sharapova: “Erm, I haven’t heard too much, because I was getting ready for my match, but erm, it seemed like a few players got to meet her, which is wonderful, and erm, I think it’s great. It’s been, I believe, 33 years since she’s been here, and for her to be part of, you know, Wimbledon’s tradition. When you think of Wimbledon and you think of what it means to us, and of the tradition that’s behind the tournament, erm, you really think of royalty, and to see her here is wonderful.”

Rishi Persad: “And, final question: what do you make of what’s happening on Court 18 between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner?”

Maria Sharapova: “Oh... to be honest, I’d be checking myself into the local hospital right now! <laughing> Erm, it’s incredible. Erm, it really... it’s really great for the game, and to see them – just to know that they still have to go back out there and finish the match, and they still have six more to go if they want to win the tournament, is pretty surreal, and erm, I mean, I feel for them and their bodies, but what they’ve done is really heroic.”

Rishi Persad: “Well thank you very much for talking to us.”

Maria Sharapova: “Thank...”

Rishi Persad: “Best of luck for the rest of the tournament.”

Maria Sharapova: “Thank you.”


Articles
--------

Ruthless Serena into third round (BBC Sport)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8759063.stm
>>>
Maria Sharapova reached the third round with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 win over Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania.

The Russian 16th seed and 2004 champion breezed through the first set, but Olaru made the second more of a battle.

She broke back in the eighth game to level the set, but handed the advantage back to the Russian in the following game with a double fault.

Sharapova will play Czech Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová in the third round.

Záhlavová Strýcová dropped the first set against Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchová before battling back to beat the 24th seed 1-6 6-2 6-4.

She will face an increasingly confident Sharapova, who is returning to something like her old form after a long-term shoulder-injury.

“I made some errors, but I’m happy that I made it through,” Sharapova said after her second-round win.

“I’ve got to keep being aggressive. In the second set, I was bit tentative, but it got better. It’s a thrill to be back. Last year, I lost in the second round, and I was thinking about that, and there’s no way I was going home. I’m here to contend, and I’m here to win the tournament.”
<<<

Steady progress for Sharapova [skytext 480->482]
>>>
Maria Sharapova is safely into the third round of Wimbledon after a straight-sets victory over Romania’s Ioana Raluca Olaru on Number One court.

The No.16 seed – the Ladies’ champion in 2004 – won 6-1 6-4 to set up a clash with Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová, who beat Daniela Hantuchová.

Sharapova made short work of the first set, but faced stiffer resistance in the second, with her unseeded opponent breaking the Russian in the eighth game.

However, Olaru handed the initiative straight back in the next game, dropping her serve with a double fault.

The break enabled Sharapova to serve out the match and stay on course for a fourth-round meeting with defending champion Serena Williams.

Sharapova, 23, said: “It was definitely a challenge, and she stepped it up. I’m happy I was able to close it off.

“I made some errors, but I’m happy that I made it through. I’ve got to keep being aggressive. In the second, I was a bit tentative, but it got better. It’s a thrill to be back.”
<<<

Sharapova Shakes Wimbledon Jinx (www.wtatour.com)
>>>
Having fallen in the same round the last two years, Maria Sharapova snapped a Wimbledon second-round jinx on Thursday, defeating young Romanian Ioana Raluca Olaru in straight sets: 6-1 6-4.

With her power game in full flow – she hit 29 winners in the match – Sharapova, the champion at The Championships in 2004 and this year’s No.16 seed, made quick work of the 21-year-old Olaru, whose imperfect record against top-20 players stretched to 0:14 – winning only one set in those 14 matches.

“I kind of backed up and let her back in the match,” said Sharapova, who gave a break back in the second set before closing it out. “I knew that coming into this match that last year I was on the plane the next day. I really thought about it, especially toward the end of the match. So I was really excited to get through.”

Sharapova had been stopped in the second round here in 2008 (by Alla Kudryavtseva) and 2009 (by Gisela Dulko). Before those last two losses, she had never lost in the first week of the grass court Major.

Two major storylines emerged over the last 24 hours or so: the Queen’s visit to the All-England Club, and the marathon men’s match between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner. Sharapova was asked about both of them in press.

“It’s wonderful and great for our sport [that] she was able to take some time from her really busy schedule and be a part of Wimbledon,” Sharapova said of Queen Elizabeth II, who was visiting the tournament for the first time in 33 years, and just the fourth time overall. “To see her here supporting the tournament was great. I didn’t get an opportunity to meet her – I had a match to play – but I’m sure I’ll see highlights of her watching the match. It will be pretty cool to see.”

And on the Mahut v Isner drama, which picked up at 2:2 59-59 on Thursday? “It’s amazing what they’ve done,” the 23-year-old said. “They’ve created some crazy news around the world, which is great for the sport. Even for people who don’t have any interest in tennis, they read about it and see how amazing it is. It’s heroic. I’d be checking myself into the local hospital.”
<<<

Injury-free Sharapova bounces back (Vicki Hodges, The Daily Telegraph – UK)
>>>
[The Siberian is fit again, and set to break the Williams sisters’ stronghold]

Maria Sharapova lingered on Court One for a brief moment longer than usual. Blowing her customary kisses to every corner, savouring the adulation and occasion as if it was her first time on a Wimbledon show-court.

In fact, it was Serena Williams who was shunned by the All England Lawn Club, scheduled third on Court Two for her second-round contest against Anna Chakvetadze.

If the reigning champion and world No.1, who needed just 49 minutes on Thursday night to dispatch a player ranked No.5 in the world just three years ago 6-0, 6-1, felt aggrieved, she did not show it.

A date in front of the Queen on Centre would have been special, but Williams has received her fair share of affection from SW19’s masses down the years. The timing of her match at least enabled her to execute her much-rehearsed curtsey in a figure-hugging white dress and tailored jacket in front of Her Majesty at lunch.

No, this was Sharapova’s chance to shine again on the big stage, and didn’t it feel good.

The Siberian’s straightforward 6-1 6-4 win over the unseeded Ioana Raluca Olaru saw her advance past the second round in west London for the first time since 2007.

Sharapova had not long returned from a nine-month lay-off following shoulder-surgery when she lost to Gisela Dulka last year. The 23-year-old also suffered her earliest exit at a Major when 154th-ranked Alla Kudryavtseva shot her down in straight sets in 2008.

Sharapova used to be known for her style and good looks; now she is shackled by talk of her right shoulder.

“We’re professional athletes. We don’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘Everything feels perfect.’ Maybe when we’re very young,” Sharapova said.

“But at this point in our careers, when we play tennis on a daily basis, we practise, we play matches, it’s impossible to feel fit. That’s the way it goes.”

An injury-free Sharapova has underlined her credentials to break the Williams sisters’ stronghold at Wimbledon again.

Sharapova who powered her way past Serena Williams for her first Major and Wimbledon title, is potentially one win away – against Czechia’s Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová – from setting up a repeat of the 2004 final – a scenario that seemed a long way off 12 months ago for the 16th seed, who has averaged a Major win every two years since her maiden success.

“I knew coming into this match that last year I was on the plane the next day after I lost,” Sharapova said. “I really thought about it, especially towards the end of the match.”

That could explain the only stumble she encountered against Olaru, her serve broken in the eighth game of the second set before putting the seal on a dominant display.

“As far as physically and fitness-wise [sic], I feel really good,” Sharapova added. “It feels a lot better than I did last year when I was sitting here.”

Serena Williams can sympathise with Sharapova’s injury-troubles. The American sat out three months of the season with a knee-injury after winning the Australian Open in January.

It was not all bad. Williams utilised the time to hone her manicure-skills at “nail-school”. Sharapova, meanwhile – the world’s highest-earning sportswoman – spent her time away from the courts getting richer, spreading her ‘Maria Inc.’ brand worldwide.

“I’ve set myself up well for things I can do after my tennis-career. But that never really crossed my mind. I was always gearing up to get back.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with different people in different industries that have made my life interesting, fun and creative.”

The fun and games can wait. Sharapova, for now, is just relieved to get back to her day-job.
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Apr 24th, 2011, 10:46 AM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================------------------------------------
Third-round TV-report: Sharapova v Záhlavová Strýcová (Saturday 26th June 2010)
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+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] d. Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová, 7-5 6-3

This was a fascinating match, as Záhlavová Strýcová is one of the most emotional and extreme tactical players I’ve ever seen. She mixed up the pace, depth and spins of her shots, and put Maria in all sorts of awkward positions. Záhlavová Strýcová hit numerous dropshots until Maria started reading them, and gave Maria a lot of trouble with dipping passing-shots.

It was an unconvincing performance by Maria, and the way her forehand broke down in this match is serious cause for concern ahead of her next match against Serena Williams, although the challenge that Záhlavová Strýcová presented was completely different to the one that Williams will present.

Ultimately, Maria had too much firepower for Záhlavová Strýcová, whose emotions got in the way at the decisive moments: not least at *5-6 (15/30), when she threw a wobbler when her first serve was called wide, then double-faulted to go SP×2 down.

Maria’s so much better conditioned to handle these pressure-cooker situations, so although she continued to struggle in the second set, the outcome was never in doubt after the aforementioned double fault.

There was an interesting subplot with Hawk-Eye challenges in this match. Maria made several correct challenges in this match: Záhlavová Strýcová got annoyed that Maria was making these challenges, while Maria was annoyed that she had to make these challenges, as the resulting overrules often meant having to replay a point that she would have won already but for a bad call. Záhlavová Strýcová, on the other hand, ran out of challenges in both sets.

Maria’s grunting was exceptionally loud in this match. Perhaps it was just because she had to work really hard to win points, but BBC commentator Simon Reed suggested that she was deliberately raising the volume because she could see that Záhlavová Strýcová was getting upset about it.

Maria made a very bad start to the match, playing a terrible service-game to be broken straight away. She broke straight back courtesy of two double faults, but was broken again for 1-2* as Záhlavová Strýcová mixed power with numerous dropshots, and retrieved very well: making Maria feel a need to hit very close to the lines.

Maria hit a crosscourt forehand winner and a crosscourt backhand winner as she broke back for *2-2, then scored the first hold of the match for 3-2*.

Záhlavová Strýcová came through a tough service-game to hold for 3-3*, then Maria started to read Záhlavová Strýcová’s dropshots, hitting winners off two of them as she held for 4-3*. Záhlavová Strýcová tried to convince the umpire that Maria had touched the net after running down a dropshot.

Maria saved BP at *4-4 (30/40) before coming through a two-deuce service-game to hold to 5-4*. Then they played a mammoth-game of three deuces on Záhlavová Strýcová’s serve: she saved two SPs bravely, going to the net both times.

Maria held to love for 6-5*, reached 40/15* on a double fault as I have already mentioned, and took the first set 7-5 when Záhlavová Strýcová dumped a forehand halfway up the net (and threw her racket).

Záhlavová Strýcová’s body-language looked positive when she broke for 5-7 *1-0, but that soon changed when Maria made yet another successful challenge, and broke back for *1-1. The next three games went with serve: *3-2.

They played a five-deuce marathon, with Maria needing 6 BPs to break for *4-2 – sealed with a blazing backhand return-winner down the line. Maria then came through a four-deuce service-game, saving a BP before holding for 5-2*.

Záhlavová Strýcová looked very positive as she held to love for 3-5*, but Maria then served out the match to love – sealed with a pinpoint ace down the middle.


First set
---------
SHARAPOVA _@_@*_*_*_*@ 7
ZÁHLAVOVÁ @_@__*_*_*__ 5

The match was second on Court One, and started at 15:22 BST.

Maria serving 0-0: Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Maria’s forehand clipped the netcord and sat up nicely for Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 0/30. Maria on the third stroke hit a wild off-forehand wide. 0/40 (BP #1). Maria went to the net, and did well to leave Záhlavová Strýcová’s forehand pass down the middle, which was just long. It could so easily have clipped Maria’s racket. 15/40 (BP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová hit a crosscourt forehand winner, and shouted “c’mon”. Broken.

A very bad start for Maria, and already her chances of beating Serena Williams on Monday are diminishing.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 0-1: Záhlavová Strýcová on the third stroke hit a cheap forehand long. 15/0. Double fault #1 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell long). 15/15. A longish baseline-rally ended with Maria dumping a horrendous forehand into the net. 30/15. Maria, her grunt rising in pitch, hit an off-forehand winner into the corner. 30/30. Maria hit a pinpoint forehand down the line, forcing Záhlavová Strýcová to earth a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). Broken.

Tracy Austin said that Maria’s lay-off with an elbow-injury earlier this year was devastating to her emotionally.

Tracy Austin: “Záhlavová Strýcová is a feisty competitor. She’s very quick about the court, will get a lot of balls back in play.”
Simon Reed: “Apparently she has to warm her serve up longer and longer in this comeback.”

Some very heavy breathing could be heard in the BBC’s coverage. It turned out that a ball-boy was crouching right by the effects-microphone. It’s hard work being a ball-person!

Maria serving 1-1: Maria on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 0/15. Deep serve out wide forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a forehand long. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Záhlavová Strýcová drew Maria to the net with a dropshot, but Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a forehand lob long. 30/30. Maria forced a short ball, but hit a laserlike off-forehand just wide. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide forced a short return, which Maria dispatched with a crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. Deuce #1. Záhlavová Strýcová’s forehand dropshot forced Maria to net a forehand. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (BP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová dominated the point with a good return + deep crosscourt backhand, forcing Maria to net a backhand. Broken.

Maria is struggling to overpower Záhlavová Strýcová, who retrieves very well, and mixes it up with a lot of dropshots as well as power. She’s making Maria feel that Maria has to hit a very close to the lines. I’m beginning to understand how Záhlavová Strýcová beat Daniela Hantuchová in the previous round.

Simon Reed: “Confidence is elusive, but Záhlavová Strýcová seems to have it now, despite having a terrible year.”

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-1: Maria forced a short ball, but dumped an off-backhand into the net. 15/0. Maria’s deep return forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a forehand return. 15/15. Záhlavová Strýcová netted a forehand. 15/30. A meaty rally ended with Maria taking out her frustration with a high crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria dumped a forehand into the net. 30/40 (BP #2). Deep body-jamming serve down the middle forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #1. Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to bunt a forehand wide. Ad Maria (BP #3). Maria hit a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner. Broken.

Maria serving 2-2: Záhlavová Strýcová mishit a crosscourt backhand just wide, and yelled in frustration. 15/0. Záhlavová Strýcová forehand long. 30/0. Serve out wide forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/15 (GP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

And that, incredibly, was the first hold of the match. Maria’s going to have to hold serve much more reliably if she is to have any chance against Serena Williams, who has looked almost invincible on serve in her first three rounds.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-3: Záhlavová Strýcová hit a pinpoint forehand down the line, but Maria challenged and showed that it was wide by about 2% of the breadth of the sideline. 0/15. Maria ran down a dropshot and netted a forehand. 15/15. Second serve: forehand return long. 30/15. Deep serve out wide: Maria nailed a deep backhand return-winner down the line. 30/30. First serve out wide forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide (she said “late” just after hitting it). 40/30 (GP #1). In a long baseline rally, Záhlavová Strýcová mixed up the depth and spins on her shots, but netted a crosscourt backhand. Deuce #1. Záhlavová Strýcová on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #2). Maria ran down a short-angled crosscourt forehand and hit a forehand winner down the line. Deuce #2. Záhlavová Strýcová’s short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Maria to net a forehand. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #3). Maria hit a wild forehand long. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová is mixing up the pace, depth and spins of her shots extremely well, and Maria is getting very frustrated.

Maria serving 3-3: Záhlavová Strýcová hit a short down-the-line forehand just wide. 15/0. Maria ran down a dropshot, hit a crosscourt forehand winner, and Záhlavová Strýcová tried to convince the umpire that Maria had touched the net, which she very nearly did: when Maria’s winner bounced for the second time, she was standing on tiptoes with her racket-arm stretched over the net, but no part of Maria or her racket was actually touching the net. 30/0. Maria hit a deep crosscourt forehand onto the baseline, forcing Záhlavová Strýcová to mishit a forehand just wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace down the middle. 40/15 (GP #2). Maria ran down a dropshot and hit an off-backhand winner. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová’s becoming too predictable with her dropshots now. She’s going to have to use them much more sparingly from now on.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 3-4 (new balls): Záhlavová Strýcová dumped a forehand into the net, and muttered that she was distracted by Maria’s screaming. 0/15. Maria hit a backhand long. 15/15. Maria forced a floater, but didn’t close into the net, and netted a backhand volley. 30/15. Maria’s backhand was called long, but she called upon Hawk-Eye to show that it was good, so they had to replay the point. With a loud shriek, Maria hit a blazing backhand winner onto the baseline, and Záhlavová Strýcová challenged in vain. Záhlavová Strýcová is getting very emotional. 30/30. Maria went to the net, but Záhlavová Strýcová’s dipping crosscourt backhand forced her to net a backhand half-volley. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide induced Maria to hit a backhand return long. Held.

Maria serving 4-4: Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Maria to spray a forehand long. 0/15. Maria went to the net and hit a backhand volley-winner onto the sideline. Záhlavová Strýcová smiled, and shouted “why?” The luck does seem to be going with Maria at the moment. 15/15. Maria hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline, and Záhlavová Strýcová bent over in frustration, but sensibly didn’t risk her last challenge. 30/15. Maria’s first serve clipped the netcord and landed on the service-line, but was called long. She made a successful challenge to show that it clipped that line, and so she got another first serve. Maria netted a forehand. 30/30. Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Maria to net a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). Maria’s crosscourt forehand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a forehand long. Deuce #1. Záhlavová Strýcová netted a forehand, threw her racket, and muttered. Ad Maria (GP #1). Maria hit a down-the-line forehand would-be winner just wide. Deuce #2. Maria went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. Ad Maria (GP #2). Deep first serve out wide forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a backhand long. Held.

Maria’s grunting is exceptionally loud now – even for her. Simon Reed suggested that she was deliberately upping the volume because she can see that Záhlavová Strýcová is getting upset about it (and a lot of other things). There’s a real personality-clash in this match, which makes for an entertaining subplot.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 4-5: Záhlavová Strýcová crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, forcing Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. Záhlavová Strýcová on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/15. Záhlavová Strýcová tried to serve and volley, but didn’t get to the net quickly enough for Maria’s short, dipping return, and so she dumped a short-angled crosscourt backhand volley into the net. 30/30. Maria went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand drop-volley winner, but Záhlavová Strýcová ran it down and hit a backhand pass just out of Maria’s reach, forcing her to net a forehand volley. 40/30 (GP #1). Maria’s depth forced Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a backhand long. Záhlavová Strýcová yelled in frustration. Deuce #1. Maria’s deep forehand down the line forced Záhlavová Strýcová to stretch wide and earth a backhand. Ad Maria (SP #1). Záhlavová Strýcová’s crosscourt forehand approach forced Maria to net a forehand. Deuce #2. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net and hit a high forehand volley down the middle, forcing Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand lob wide. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová ran around her backhand, got jammed, and dumped a forehand halfway up the net. And Maria just bunted her return back to see if Záhlavová Strýcová could handle the lack of pace! Deuce #3. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #3). Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, but Maria’s down-the-line forehand pass forced her to lunge wide, net a backhand volley and fall over. Deuce #4. Maria on the fourth stroke hit an off-forehand winner onto the baseline. Záhlavová Strýcová wasted her last challenge to show that it was plumb on the line. Ad Maria (SP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net behind a deep first serve out wide, and dispatched the floater it forced with an off-forehand volley-winner. Deuce #5. Second serve out wide forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (GP #4). Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep serve forced Maria to hit a backhand lob long. Held.

Tracy Austin: “Right before Strýcová goes to hit the second serve on the deuce-court, Sharapova moves over to her left, looking like she’s giving her more room to hit to the forehand; the ball goes up, and she moves back to the right.”

Maria serving 5-5: First serve out wide: Záhlavová Strýcová hit a down-the-line forehand winner onto the baseline, but Maria challenged it to show that it was wide. First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. Maria shouted “c’mon”. 30/0. First serve forced a short return, which Maria dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner – lovely footwork to get into position. 40/0 (GP #1). Záhlavová Strýcová forced a short ball, but put a forehand just long (she’s out of challenges). Held.

Tracy Austin: “She says she shoulder’s feeling fine, 100%. It took her a while to get back to full strength. Any time you have rotator-cuff surgery on your right shoulder, and you rely so much on your big serve... there was a /huge/ amount of concern of whether she was going to come back 100%. She had surgery in New York with quite an experienced surgeon: Dr. Altchek – did a lot of research on who the best surgeon was going to be.”

There were several shouts of “c’mon Barbora” from the crowd.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 5-6: Body-jamming crosscourt forehand return forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net an off-backhand and sink to her knees. 0/15. Maria’s roaring backhand return forced Záhlavová Strýcová to bunt back a short, weak forehand; another searing backhand from Maria forced Záhlavová Strýcová to earth a forehand lob. 0/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to hit a forehand return wide. 15/30. Záhlavová Strýcová threw a wobbler when her first serve was called a let, and rather predictably went on to serve a double fault (dumping her second serve into the net). She muttered in Czech. 15/40 (SP #3 for Maria). Záhlavová Strýcová dumped a horrendous mishit forehand halfway up the net. Záhlavová Strýcová threw her racket. Maria won the first set 7-5 at 16:26 BST (1h04m).

Záhlavová Strýcová fought so hard in that set, but just cracked emotionally at the crucial moment. Maria’s so much better conditioned to handle these pressure-cooker situations.


Second set
----------
SHARAPOVA _@*_*@*_* 6
ZÁHLAVOVÁ @__*___*_ 3

Tracy Austin: “Would be nice for Maria to see her streak away with this second set easily, because she really needs to elevate the level of her game. If she wins this, next up for her is Serena Williams. She’ll have to play better than this.”

Maria serving 0-0: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Maria hit an error-forcing crosscourt backhand onto the sideline, and Záhlavová Strýcová wasted her first challenge of the set, having run out of them in the first set. Real mind-games going on with challenges in this match. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 15/30. Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Maria to hit a forehand long. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 30/40 (BP #2). Maria forehand just long. Broken.

Záhlavová Strýcová jogged to her chair looking quite pleased with herself, then had a word with the umpire. Is she complaining about Maria’s grunting?

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 0-1: Maria’s dipping crosscourt forehand + crosscourt backhand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a backhand volley. 0/15. Maria hit a down-the-line backhand return-winner, and once again had to call on Hawk-Eye to show that it was good. Záhlavová Strýcová hit a ball against the ground, and looked extremely upset. 0/30. Maria threw in a short sliced backhand, forcing Záhlavová Strýcová to net a forehand. 0/40 (BP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to earth a backhand lob-return. 15/40 (BP #2). Maria off-forehand virtual return-winner. Broken.

Maria serving 1-1: Záhlavová Strýcová’s deep backhand just inside the baseline forced Maria to net a forehand. 0/15. Maria netted a horrendous forehand off a mildly awkward deep ball. Tracy Austin: “You can tell when someone’s losing a little confidence in a shot: they slow down the racket-head speed instead of hitting it with conviction and letting the arm move through freely.” 0/30. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand drive-volley off a forehand lob that was going wide, then hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner onto the sideline. Záhlavová Strýcová threw her racket. 15/30. Maria forced a floater and hit a backhand drive-volley winner down the line, and Záhlavová Strýcová smiled. 30/30. Maria hit a deep forehand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace down the middle: just inside both the centre-line and the service-line. Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová read notes from a book at the changeover. She’s a very tactical player, so the book has several pages. I’d be fascinated to read it (even if I’d have to spend a few weeks studying Czech first).

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 1-2: Záhlavová Strýcová hit a deep short-angled crosscourt forehand + short-angled crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner. 15/0. Maria backhand long. 30/0. Double fault (second serve just long). Záhlavová Strýcová said “aiee!” 30/15. Záhlavová Strýcová’s short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Maria outside the tramlines to hit a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Maria hit a down-the-line forehand long. Held.

Maria serving 2-2 (new balls): First serve out wide forced Záhlavová Strýcová to stretch wide and net a forehand. 15/0. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, but Maria hit a “beautifully balanced” backhand pass-winner down the line. Tracy Austin: “It’s tough to come in on the backhand wing of Sharapova, particularly when she has so much room to hit into. Open stance.” 30/0. Deep second serve forced Záhlavová Strýcová to bunt a forehand return just long. 40/0 (GP #1). Maria went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner: Záhlavová Strýcová threw her racket at it (not a legal shot, even if it would have got the ball back – the racket has to be in the player’s hand). Held.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-3: Záhlavová Strýcová’s crosscourt forehand clipped the netcord THREE TIMES and dropped dead for a winner! Well, I guess she was due for some luck, as Maria does seem to have had all the luck so far. 15/0. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, but Maria hit a down-the-line backhand pass-winner. 15/15. Záhlavová Strýcová hit a forehand long, and yelled. 15/30. First serve out wide forced Maria to hit a backhand long. 30/30. With Maria retreating from the net after hitting a short, weak forehand, Záhlavová Strýcová netted a makeable down-the-line backhand, and emitted a long, high-pitched shriek. 30/40 (BP #1). Maria netted a backhand. Deuce #1. Maria’s deep backhand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a forehand. Ad Maria (BP #2). Záhlavová Strýcová forced a floater, and dispatched it with a deep forehand smash-winner just inside the baseline, forcing Maria to net a backhand. Deuce #2. Záhlavová Strýcová went to the net, forcing Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand pass wide. Ad Maria (BP #3). Deep 102mph first serve forced Maria to net a forehand. Deuce #3. Second serve out wide: Maria’s deep forehand return forced Záhlavová Strýcová to net a backhand. Ad Maria (BP #4). Maria forced a floater but netted an off-forehand drive-volley winner. Deuce #4. Maria hit a deep crosscourt backhand virtual winner, and celebrated with a massive fist-pump. Ad Maria (BP #5). First serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #5. Záhlavová Strýcová forced a short return, but dumped a forehand into the net. Ad Maria (BP #6). Maria hit a blazing backhand return-winner down the line. Broken.

Tracy Austin: “[Maria is] really struggling on that forehand. She’s using all arm, and not uncoiling. You really want to turn a lot and have your left hand out in front, but then you’ve got to /uncoil/: that right side’s got to come around, and it’s not on her forehand. That’s going to make it harder on her shoulder as well.”

Maria serving 4-2: Maria netted a forehand. Maria is coughing – I hope it’s not a recurrence of the illness I suspect her of having had at Birmingham. 0/15. Maria sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide. Tracy Austin: “She really just yanked up on that forehand completely.” 0/30. First serve out wide + deep forehand drive-volley virtual winner. Záhlavová Strýcová yelled in frustration. 15/30. Maria hit a forehand onto the baseline, forcing Záhlavová Strýcová to bunt a forehand wide. 30/30. First serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve down the middle forced a short return, but Maria netted a horrendous off-forehand that should have been an easy put-away. Deuce #1. Ace #2: down the middle. Ad Maria (GP #2). Maria went to the net, but her volleys sat up very nicely for Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a crosscourt backhand pass-winner that Maria had to dodge out of the way of. Deuce #2. Maria went to the net, but hit a forehand volley long. Ad Záhlavová Strýcová (BP #1). Maria hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line – just inside the baseline – after her crosscourt backhand barely cleared the net earlier in the rally. Deuce #3. First serve out wide forced a very short return, which sat up nicely for Maria to hit an easy crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Maria (GP #3). Maria went to the net, but a dipping pass forced her to hit a backhand volley that sat up nicely for Záhlavová Strýcová to hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. Deuce #4. Maria’s deep off-forehand forced Záhlavová Strýcová to earth a backhand lob. Záhlavová Strýcová wasted her last challenge. Ad Maria (GP #4). Maria forced a very short ball, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner. She reacted with a loud “c’mon” and a shaking fist-pump. Held.

This match has been like pulling teeth for Maria, but suddenly her lead looks very commanding.

Záhlavová Strýcová serving 2-5: First serve out wide + crosscourt backhand forced Maria to net a backhand. 15/0. Maria forced a floater, but hit a horrendous crosscourt backhand drive-volley wide. Tracy Austin: “She’s just not the same athlete as Venus [Williams], Serena [Williams], Kim Clijsters or Justine Henin. So it was an awkward shot, and she couldn’t adjust the body. She’s a very /grooved/ tennis-player.” 30/0. First serve out wide forced Maria into the tramlines to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

A very good hold for Záhlavová Strýcová, and her body-language looked very positive as she skipped back to the baseline to receive.

Maria serving 5-3: Záhlavová Strýcová off-backhand wide. 15/0. Maria went to the net; Záhlavová Strýcová hit a dipping forehand pass to Maria’s feet, but Maria pulled off an amazing half-volley backhand dropshot-winner. 30/0. Záhlavová Strýcová netted a backhand. 40/0 (MP #1 for Maria). Ace down the middle: just inside the centre-line. Maria won 7-5 6-3 at 17:17 BST (second set 51m, match 1h55m). The hand-shake was a cursory slap.


Maria’s BBC interview
---------------------

This interview took place immediately after Maria left the court. She drank some pink liquid from a large bottle marked “evian”.

Phil Jones: “Well done, Maria. A really gutsy performance out there today, and you’re into the second week of Wimbledon, where I think you feel you truly belong.”

Maria Sharapova: “It’s great to be in that second week. It always means you’ve won a few rounds, and er, you know, the tougher ones are ahead of you.”

Phil Jones: “Well, you won here in 2004. Every couple of years since, you’ve won a Grand Slam [sic]. Do you think the omens are good for this year, the way you’re playing?”

Maria Sharapova: “Yeah, it’s been... it’s been good so far, but I, you know, I can’t worry about that. I just gotta go out and take it one match at a time, and not... not think about years or days, or... you know.”

Phil Jones: “And you’ve got to step it up next round, because it’s Serena Williams, obviously, in the last 16. Your thoughts on that?”

Maria Sharapova: “Well, it’ll be... it’ll be a really tough match. She’s the defending champion, and playing really well, so erm, it’ll be tough, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Phil Jones: “Well, you certainly played so well today that I’m sure she’ll be looking at the draw with interest herself. Well done.”

Maria Sharapova: “Thank you very much.”


Articles
--------

Sharapova ready for huge test [skytext 480->484]
>>>
Maria Sharapova is hopeful that she will be able to combat the big hitting of Serena Williams in Monday’s big fourth-round clash at Wimbledon.

Defending champion Williams has looked in great form in this year’s tournament so far, winning the opening set of each of her matches 6-0.

But, asked if she could live with the power of Williams, Sharapova said: “Tennis is not just about power. On grass, it’s a big key to the game, but I don’t think it’s everything.”

The last time the pair met on grass was in the 2004 final, when a 17-year-old Sharapova sensationally won 6-1 6-4.

But she added: “It’s tough to take anything away from that match, as it was many years ago. I don’t really think about yesterday or the day before.

“There are always wonderful memories but, when you step out on the court, it’s new. You’ve got to start from scratch; the score is 0-0.”

Williams, who has won the Wimbledon title three times, agrees that the 2004 encounter will have little bearing on Monday’s clash.

“I just remember I was really nervous,” she said. “I think I put too much pressure on myself. It didn’t work out, and that was that.”

<<<

Wozniacki and Sharapova advance (BBC Sport: digitext)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8764986.stm
>>>
Third seed Caroline Wozniacki and 2004 champion Maria Sharapova passed tough third-round tests in straight sets to make the last 16 at Wimbledon.

<snip Wozniacki>

Sharapova shook off a tenacious Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová 7-5 6-3 to set up a match against Serena Williams.

It will be the first meeting between Sharapova and Williams at Wimbledon since the Russian upset her as a fast-rising 17-year-old in the 2004 final.

<snip Wozniacki>

Sharapova showed the sort of steely resolve during big points that her compatriot lacked.

The 23-year-old lost her opening service-game in both sets, but each time fought her way back to overhaul an aggressive Záhlavová Strýcová.

The Czech had kept the umpire busy with a series of challenges and complaints before her racket bore the brunt of her frustration as she found the net at set-point down in the 12th.

Sharapova moved ahead in the second set with a hard-earned break in the sixth and, after facing down a break-point in the following game, clinched the contest with an ace.

“I love playing against her,” said Sharapova of her match against Williams.

“She is the defending champion. She is great on this surface. She has won numerous Grand Slams [sic]. If there is a challenge ahead of you, it is definitely playing against her, and I enjoy that.”

<snip other matches>
<<<

Sharapova loses attitude and wins new admirers (Oliver Brown, The Sunday Telegraph – UK)
>>>
[Russian is far removed from stroppy teenager of old as she wins through despite high error-count]

Mercifully, Maria Sharapova is losing her affectations. At Wimbledons past, she has irked many with her grand royal waves, stroppy put-downs, and feathery white outfits that would have looked better on a swan.

It seems that winning a Major at 17 can do that to a girl.

Of course, she still conducted her victory press-conference last night with a certain hauteur, matching her Nike gym top with a designer bag so capacious that it was technically a sack. She also scrupulously refused to say anything whatsoever of interest about herself, her game or her opponent.

It used to be worse. Any question of the vaguest impudence was once treated with the type of disdain a teenage girl might muster if her mother scorned her boyfriend. But her demeanour on court at least showed a greater spontaneity, and fewer ostentatious hair-flicks.

No, it was Sharapova’s third-round victim who had the attitude-problem.

Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová could barely lose a point without flouncing in disgust, or making another ludicrous Hawk-Eye challenge.

The pity for the Czech was that her play appeared good enough to beat Sharapova, who made 35 unforced errors – a total she can ill afford to repeat if she has any hope of beating Serena Williams tomorrow.

It may be too romantic to expect Sharapova to emulate her exploits of 2004, when she outwitted the weapons of Williams with her balletic 17 year-old’s poise. Most expect her to be marmalised by the American, and even she had the modesty to concede that her relationship with the world No.1 “would only be a rivalry if I won more”.

Reflecting on that age of innocence six years ago, Sharapova said: “There are always wonderful memories. But when you step out on court, it’s new. You’ve got to start from scratch. The score is 0-0.

“At that age, when you’re just playing a few tournaments, not many people know about you or your game. I’ve been around the Tour for many years. So I think Serena and I know each other’s games pretty well.”

Sharapova has endured a truncated season as a result of a troublesome shoulder-injury, and her movement continues to be somewhat staccato. So it was against Záhlavová Strýcová, her unseeded adversary, but she still produced the decisive shots when called upon to seal a 7-5 6-3 triumph.

The crowd on Court One were effusive in their applause, confirming the impression that Sharapova had come full circle since she was embraced at Wimbledon as the siren of Siberia, referred to by some as ‘Maria Supernova’.

After two seasons on the periphery of the game, though, and much time in injury-bays, she appears to have rediscovered her glow.

Sharapova needed all her patience to thwart Záhlavová Strýcová. The first four games of the match all ended in breaks of serve, but a tiebreak was averted when the Czech pitched a forehand into the net to fall behind.

Still Sharapova was not safe, finding herself broken early in the second set, only to reclaim the advantage immediately. Again she broke in the sixth game, and had to hold the lead with increasing desperation as her net-play faltered, forcing her to defend another break-point.

The coup de grâce was emphatic, though, as she served an ace down the centre of the ‘T’ for an invigorating win. Sharapova cannot be judged just by how she discharges her work on court, though. Her popularity is inextricably linked as much to her personality.

There is feverish interest among the commentators here, for distance, in her boyfriend Sasha Vujačić: the Slovenian player for the LA Lakers basketball team. Vujačić is expected at Wimbledon imminently.

Then there is her forthcoming visit to her homeland of Belarus – to inspect the legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster – to consider. Even if she is swept away by Williams, she can still find much to keep her humble.
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jun 18th, 2011, 10:28 PM
=================
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Wimbledon, London, England; grass; Major)
=================-----------------------------
Fourth-round TV-report: Sharapova v S.Williams (Monday 28th June 2010)
----------------------------------------------

- MARIA SHARAPOVA [16,EF] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [1], 6-7 (9/11) 4-6

Maria played much better than she did in the previous round against Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová, but really should have won at least the first set, as she had three set-points in the tiebreak.

The standard of play was so high: huge, deep serves, and anything short got punished. Williams was going for too much too soon in the rallies, which were therefore very short – in complete contrast to Maria’s third-round match. At least tiredness would not be a factor!

Williams made a ridiculous start, serving four aces in the opening game as she held to 30. Maria played a good service-game of her own to hold to 15, but Williams served two more aces as she held for 2-1*.

Knowing that she couldn’t afford to hit short second serves against Williams, Maria hit two double faults long as she was broken to love for 1-3*. But she became the first player to break Williams’s serve this Wimbledon, hitting a beautiful off-forehand drive-volley winner, and going on to level at 3-3*.

With games going with serve, Maria served to save the first set at *4-5 and *5-6, and hit a couple of amazing return-winners at 5-5* – sadly not rewarded with a break.

The tiebreak was Maria’s personal 9/11. She recovered from 1/3* with a hellacious crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline at *2/3, hit an off-forehand winner at 4/3*, and had 3 SPs (*6/4 and 8/7*) but wasted them with forced and unforced errors. Maria also saved Williams’s first 2 SPs (*6/7 and *8/9), but couldn’t do anything about the ace on the third.

The second set was an anticlimax, as Maria again threw in a bad service-game with two double faults to get broken for 1-2*, but this time there was no break back, and Williams finished with an incredible 19 aces.

Williams said: “She returned really well. It forced me to serve really well. She’s in it for every point. Even on match-point, she’s trying 200%.”

Maria said: “I played really well, and had my chances. If it was not for her really great serving, I certainly had a real good look at winning it. She served extremely well – some of the best she served against me. I gave her a run for her money, but that was really the difference.”

So yet another Wimbledon went by without Maria regaining the title she won as a 17-year-old – or even reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006 (when she reached the semi-finals for the third year in a row). Once a regular in Major semi-finals, she would go into the US Open 2010 having not reached a Major quarter-final for 15 months.


Prematch article
----------------

Sharapova shows no fear over Serena clash (Oliver Brown, The Daily Telegraph – UK, Monday 28th June 2010)
>>>
This Wimbledon has already staged more dramatic flights of fancy than the local Polka children’s theatre.

As Andy Roddick reminded assembled journalists last Friday night, if we are struggling for storylines here, we should be looking for another job.

Today, here’s another one: on Centre Court, it is 2004 revisited, as Maria Sharapova submits herself to another gruelling duel with Serena Williams.

To study that encounter is to be reminded instantly of their final six years ago, when Sharapova’s trademark screams were drowned out only by rapturous acclaim for the 17 year-old en route to her first Wimbledon title.

The Russian seemed an ingénue then, a coquettish teenager who was so obliging to photographers that, upon winning her last point against Williams, she strode into the crowd and collapsed into the arms of crying father Yuri.

Monday afternoon’s fourth-round meeting appears a little early for the re-enactment of such a storied rivalry. Truth be told, there has been less equality between the pair in recent years, and emphatically not when they contested another Major final in 2007. At the Australian Open, Williams betrayed a cold intent through her power-play, bullying her way to an avenging victory over Sharapova for the loss of just three games.

That change in the dynamic has lasted, with Williams having reclaimed the world No.1 ranking, and Sharapova only the 23rd seed, in a reflection of the ragged form that has accompanied her bothersome shoulder-injury. But she did not perceive a draw against her nemesis this early in the second week as premature.

“I love playing against her,” Sharapova said. “She’s the defending champion. She’s great on this surface. She has won numerous Slams [sic]. If there’s a challenge ahead of you, it’s definitely playing against her – and I enjoy that.”

Williams, supremely indifferent about reminders of her 6-1 6-4 loss on the same stage, was equally generous. “I don’t think it’s too early,” she said. “It is what it is. You obviously have to be ready. She’s really good, especially on grass.”

Williams was patently not herself on that strange Saturday afternoon, and has been back to her uncompromising best so far this year.

In the three early rounds, she has won each first set 6-0. If that were not frightening enough, listen to her service-statistics from a third-round dismembering of the hapless Dominika Cibulkova: 20 aces, 37 of 43 service-points won, a first set wrapped up in 18 minutes.

“Serving that well feels awesome,” Williams said. “I serve well at Wimbledon for some reason. I wish I could serve like this [at] every tournament.”

Sharapova is grateful to be serving at all after all the physiotherapy she has had on her shoulder, and wise enough not to be thinking dreamily of 2004. “That was our last meeting on grass. It’s tough to take anything away from that match, as it was so many years ago.”

Exuding a confidence about her future, she explained: “You know this will be a new day. I look back, and it’s difficult to compare yourself to what you were. It’s a different time in my career.”

So, a new day, but, in the daunting shape of Williams, the same old roadblock lies ahead.
<<<


First set
---------
SHARAPOV _*__@*_*_*_*_ 6(9)
WILLIAMS *_*@__*_*_*_T 7(11)

The match was second on Centre Court, and started at 14:53 BST.

Williams serving 0-0: Ace out wide: deep in the corner. Barry Davies: “Number 45 of the championship.” 15/0. Maria’s deep off-forehand return just inside the baseline forced Williams to net a backhand. 15/15. Ace out wide. 30/15. Ace out wide: just inside the service-line. 40/15 (GP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve into the net). 40/30 (GP #2). Ace down the middle. Held.

Awesome serving by Williams: four aces in a game! There’s not much Maria can do about that, so she needs to hold serve reliably today.

Tracy Austin: “One big difference in this match will be the movement of the two players. Serena is just about one of the best movers on the grass and on the Tour, along with sister Venus. Maria, when she gets in a defensive position, it’s tough to bring the point back to neutral.”

Maria serving 0-1: Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit an off-backhand return wide. 15/0. Deep second serve out wide – just inside the sideline – forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 30/0. The first extended rally of the match ended with Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand inducing Williams to spray a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand return just inside the baseline forced Maria to mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. 40/15 (GP #2). Body-jamming second serve forced Williams to net a backhand. Held.

Good serving by Maria, and she becomes the first opponent of Williams to avoid a first-set bagel so far this Wimbledon.

Williams serving 1-1: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Ace out wide: deep in the corner and just inside the sideline. 30/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to block a backhand return long. 40/0 (GP #1). A would-be ace out wide was called wide. Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Williams to spray a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #2). Maria forced Williams to retreat with a deep backhand lob just inside the baseline, but couldn’t capitalise, and Williams hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. Held.

Maria serving 1-2: Double fault (second serve just long; Maria wasted a challenge). 0/15. Second serve: Williams’s deep crosscourt backhand return just inside the baseline forced Maria to hit a backhand long. 0/30. Double fault (second serve just long). 0/40 (BP #1). First serve down the middle: Williams hit a crosscourt forehand winner deep in the corner. Broken.

Maria knows she can’t afford to hit short second serves against Williams, hence the two second serves long.

Williams serving 3-1: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Second serve: Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with a beautiful off-forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Ace #7: out wide, just inside the service-line. 30/15. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell back on Williams’s side). 30/30. Williams netted an off-backhand off a very short return, and emitted a high-pitched yell. 30/40 (BP #1). Williams on the third stroke hit a backhand just long. Held.

Maria becomes the first player to break Williams’s serve this Wimbledon.

Maria serving 3-2: First serve out wide + deep crosscourt forehand back behind Williams forced Williams to spray a crosscourt forehand long and wide. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a forehand return long. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide – on the service-line – forced Williams to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep second serve out wide: Williams hammered a crosscourt backhand return-winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a backhand return long. Maria bent over and said “c’mon”. Held.

Tremendous fightback by Maria. The standard of play is so high: huge, deep serves, and anything short gets punished. Williams is going for too much too soon in the rallies.

Williams serving 3-3: First serve: Maria hit a stunning crosscourt backhand return-winner. 0/15. First serve down the middle + off-forehand winner back behind Maria. 15/15. Would-be ace out wide called let. Ace out wide: on the sideline. 30/15. Service-winner out wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Body-jamming second serve out wide induced Maria to net an off-backhand return. Held.

Maria serving 3-4 (new balls): First serve out wide: Maria hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand return-winner onto the sideline. 15/0. Williams blasted a forehand long. 30/0. Second serve out wide: off-backhand return-winner. 30/15. Ace #1: down the middle: just inside the service-line. 40/15 (GP #1). Deep second serve: Williams hit a makeable backhand return just long. Held.

Williams serving 4-4: Maria hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline, but it was called wide. Maria issued a Hawk-Eye challenge to show that it caught the sideline by 7 mm! 0/15. Williams hit a down-the-line backhand wide, and there was an anxious look on her face. 0/30. Deep second serve: Maria hit a wild backhand return long. 15/30. Big second serve down the middle + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Ace down the middle: on the service-line. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace out wide: just inside the service-line. Held.

A 0/30 opening goes begging, despite Maria receiving second serves on the next two points. It would have been so cool if she could have won this set 6-4.

Maria serving 4-5: 112mph first serve out wide: Williams forehand return long. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide – on the service-line – forced Williams to net a backhand. 30/0. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell long). 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle – just inside the service-line – forced Williams to lunge wide and net a forehand return. 40/15 (GP #1). Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Williams to spray a forehand long. Held.

Williams continues to be erratic when she can’t get the first strike.

Williams serving 5-5: Double fault (second serve just long). Williams hit the dead ball behind her back, and it hit the umpire’s chair, to the amusement of the crowd. 0/15. Williams went to the net, and picked off Maria’s crosscourt forehand with a forehand drop-volley winner. Ace down the middle. 30/15. First serve out wide: Maria hit a blazing short-angled crosscourt backhand return-winner. 30/30. Williams’s short-angled crosscourt forehand to the sideline forced Maria to run outside the tramlines and hit a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Maria hit a blazing short-angled crosscourt backhand return-winner! Deuce #1. Williams’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Maria to bunt a crosscourt forehand wide. Ad Williams (GP #2). Deep second serve into the corner forced Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

Two amazing return-winners by Maria, but sadly no break. Barry Davies: “The entertainment-level has risen considerably.”

Maria serving 5-6: First serve down the middle forced Williams to stretch wide and earth a backhand return. 15/0. Maria’s deep backhand down the line – just inside the baseline – forced Williams to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 30/0. First serve out wide forced a short return, but Maria dumped a cheap forehand into the net. 30/15. First serve out wide forced Williams to hit a backhand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams off-backhand wide. Held.

Tracy Austin: “Sharapova has raised the level of her game from her last match. Drastic change. She is just going for it, and she has found her range. She’s the one with less pressure.”

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Sharapova/Williams):
{0/0*} Ace down the middle.
{*0/1} Ace down the middle.
{*1/1} Double fault #4 (second serve just long).
{1/2*} Maria went to the net, but her down-the-line forehand volley gave Williams a crosscourt backhand pass-winner just inside the sideline. This point was selected for the BBC’s highlights-show Today at Wimbledon, with John Inverdale claiming that it was the best point of the entire Championships! Well, no.
{1/3*} Maria’s deep forehand return down the line forced Williams to hit a backhand just long.
{*2/3} Deep first serve down the middle + hellacious crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline.
{*3/3} Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
{4/3*} Maria’s off-forehand winner clipped the netcord and landed just inside the sideline.
{5/3*} Maria hit a makeable backhand return long.
{*5/4} Maria’s deep forehand forced Williams to net a backhand.
{*6/4: SP #1 for Maria} A brief rally ended with Maria unforcedly netting a forehand.
{6/5*: SP #2 for Maria} Second serve... Williams hit a pinpoint backhand onto Maria’s right sideline, forcing her to bunt a crosscourt forehand wide.
{6/6*} Deep first serve out wide forced a short return; Williams hit a backhand approach right to Maria’s forehand, but Maria hit a makeable down-the-line forehand pass wide.
{*6/7: SP #1 for Williams} Second serve out wide: Williams dumped a cheap backhand return into the net.
{*7/7} Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to net a forehand return.
{8/7*: SP #3 for Maria} Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to hit a forehand return long.
{8/8*} First serve down the middle forced Maria to hit an off-backhand wide.
{*8/9: SP #2 for Williams} First serve into the net. Brave second serve out wide forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand return wide.
{*9/9} Double fault (wild second serve very long).
{9/10*: SP #3 for Williams} Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. Williams won the first set 7-6 (11/9) at 15:50 BST (57m). She celebrated with a shout of “yes”.

Tracy Austin: “I have not seen Maria Sharapova serve this big since she’s been back from the shoulder-surgery – particularly on a consistent basis. It’s a good sign: it means that all doubt about her arm has been erased.”


Second set
----------
SHARAPOV *___*_*_*_ 4
WILLIAMS _*@*_*_*_* 6

Maria serving 0-0: Deep first serve down the middle forced Williams to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Maria went to the net and hit a forehand drive-volley that jammed Williams into netting a forehand volley. 30/0. First serve out wide, but Maria netted a forehand. 30/15. First serve out wide forced Williams to net a backhand. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide forced Williams to net a forehand return. Held.

Williams serving 0-1: First serve out wide – just inside the sideline – forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to hit a forehand long. 30/0. Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). 30/15. Maria poked back a short off-forehand return, but Williams slapped a wild backhand into the net. 30/30. Ace #14: down the middle, just inside the service-line. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve forced a very short return; Williams ran it down and hit a forehand winner down the line. Held.

Maria serving 1-1: Deep first serve down the middle: backhand return long. 15/0. Williams’s deep forehand just inside the baseline forced Maria to net a backhand. 15/15. Double fault (second serve into the top of the net). 15/30. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell wide). 15/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide forced a short return, but Maria’s forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Broken.

A set and a break down now, but Maria recovered from 1-3* in the first set, so she’s not out of this match yet.

Williams serving 2-1 (new balls): First serve out wide forced a short return, which Williams dispatched with a deep forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to hit a backhand return long. 30/0. Maria’s backhand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. 30/15. First serve out wide forced a short return, which Williams dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Williams forced a short return but dumped a forehand into the net – poor footwork. 40/30 (GP #2). Williams ran down a dropshot-return in plenty of time, but unbelievably dumped a forehand into the net. Tracy Austin: “I think she saw Sharapova out of the corner of her eye going to the left, and tried to cut it too fine.” Deuce #1. First serve out wide: Maria netted a makeable forehand return, and looked “furious with herself”. Ad Williams (GP #3). Deep second serve on the service-line induced Maria to net a backhand return. Held.

Maria serving 1-3: Maria went to the net behind a short-angled crosscourt backhand to the sideline, hit an impressive crosscourt forehand volley from below the height of the net, which landed deep in the corner; on the 4:3 TV-screen that I had at the time, it looked like Williams ripped a running crosscourt forehand pass-winner, but it must have gone wide. 15/0. Maria tried to serve and volley, but dumped an awkward low off-forehand volley into the net. 15/15. Body-jamming serve forced Williams to hit a forehand return long. 30/15. Williams’s deep forehand down the line induced Maria to net a backhand – really should have made it, though. 30/30. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to hit a forehand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace down the middle. Held.

Williams serving 3-2: Body-jamming second serve induced Maria to hit a backhand return long. 15/0. Maria went to the net and hit a deep forehand down the line, but Maria hit an amazing half-volley backhand lob-winner just inside the baseline!! 15/15. Ace down the middle. 30/15. Maria’s off-forehand return forced a short return, but Maria hit a wild off-forehand wide. Tracy Austin: “She could have gone for a beautiful angle. Today, she really seems excited about going for everything with power. Quick points.” 40/15 (GP #1). Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand forced Maria to bunt a forehand long. Held.

Maria serving 2-4: Deep first serve forced Williams to hit a backhand long. 15/0. First serve out wide, but a short, low-bouncing return induced Maria to net a backhand. 15/15. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to net a forehand return. 30/15. Williams hit a backhand return just long. But she made a successful challenge, so they had to replay the point. Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to hit a backhand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Maria forehand just long. 40/30 (GP #2). Maria went to the net, forcing Williams to hit a forehand lob just wide. Held.

Williams serving 4-3: Ace down the middle: just inside the service-line. 15/0. Ace #17: down the middle, short on the centre-line. 30/0. Ace #18: down the middle, just inside the service-line. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to stretch wide and net a forehand return. Held.

Tracy Austin: “She skips up to the line – always such positive body-language, never giving anything away about the disappointment of where she is in a match.”

Maria serving 3-5: Deep first serve down the middle – on the service-line – forced Williams to net a forehand return. 15/0. Williams’s deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline forced Maria to net a forehand. 15/15. First serve out wide: Williams hit a stunning crosscourt forehand return-winner just inside the baseline – Maria was right there, but the angle was too acute for her to get her racket on it. 15/30. Maria hit a deep forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Williams to net a backhand. 30/30. Deep 111mph first serve down the middle forced Williams to earth a backhand return. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Williams to net a backhand return. Held.

Tracy Austin: “I’m sure if you asked Serena whether she’s returning serve well today, she probably wouldn’t think she is – but she’s got to give some of that credit to Sharapova. Her fastest serve today was 116 mph. The fastest of her career was a couple of weeks ago in Birmingham: 121 mph for Sharapova.”

Williams serving 5-4: Ace out wide: right in the corner. 15/0. Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to net a backhand return. Barry Davies: “Still trying to believe.” 30/0. Maria hit a thunderous deep backhand return down Williams’s left sideline and went to the net, but hit a backhand drive-volley wide. 40/0 (MP #1 for Williams). Would-be ace down the middle just long. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and fell long). 40/15 (MP #2 for Williams). First serve out wide + off-forehand forced Maria to hit an off-backhand wide. Williams won 7-6 (11/9) 6-4 at 16:30 BST (second set 39m, match 1h36m).

Barry Davies: “It started as wham-bang, then got better.”
Tracy Austin: “Maria will be disappointed today, but when she reflects on this match, she’ll realise that she is going forward in her comeback.”


Williams’s BBC interview
------------------------

PHIL JONES: “Well, tremendous performance, Serena, against a top-class player in Maria. You pulled out a champion’s performance, it seemed.”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “Yeah, I guess. She played really well, and I just wasn’t able to do as well as I wanted to do, but I thought she played so well today, and she’s really doing good.”

PHIL JONES: “The thing is: when you’re down, as you were in that tiebreak – two set-points against you – you pull on that champion’s know-how, that determination, and pull yourself out of it.”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “I know. I don’t know how I do it. I was just like, ‘Okay, Serena, like, you haven’t been doing great, you just like, relax,’ and I was able to do that, and come through.”

PHIL JONES: “Does this place help you? You’ve been here, you’ve been a champion so many times.”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “Yeah. I mean: yeah. And the crowd was great, and I was really happy that they were out there, rooting really hard for me.”

PHIL JONES: “So it’s onwards and upwards now. Nŕ Lǐ in the quarter-finals – what about that?”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “Well, I definitely expect a much tougher match, so I have to keep being ready, and she’s such a good player, so we always have such tough matches, so we’ll see what happens.”

PHIL JONES: “Well done today on getting through.”

SERENA WILLIAMS: “Thank you.”


Maria’s BBC interview
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INTERVIEWER: “So, are you gonna take some satisfaction away from this year’s Wimbledon, or a little bit of frustration?”

MARIA SHARAPOVA: “Well, look: I mean: I’m a competitor and I love to win, and there’s only one winner at the end of the tournament, and I really, really want it to be me, but today’s situation didn’t happen, and that’s the way it goes, but I’m certainly not leaving here disappointed that I lost. I know that I went out there and did what I could do, and today just wasn’t enough.”


Postmatch articles
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Serena halts Sharapova charge [skytext 480]
>>>
Serena Williams won a dramatic first-set tiebreak to set her on the way to the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a 7-6 (11/9) 6-3 win over Maria Sharapova on Centre Court.

The match started in the brutal fashion that had been expected – with both players blasting fierce groundstrokes.

Williams was the first to show as she powered her way to a break of serve in the fourth game, but the Russian rallied to break back in the fifth.

There were no further breakthroughs, and a tense tiebreak ensued, with Williams gaining an early mini-break – only to throw it away.

Sharapova wasted two set-points, allowing Williams back into it – and the American seized her chance with an emphatic set-clinching ace.

One break proved enough in the second, as a deflated Sharapova surrendered serve in the third game to allow Williams to coast home.

Williams said: “She returned really well. It forced me to serve really well. She’s in it for every point. Even on match-point, she’s trying 200%.

“Honestly, I feel like I’ve had tough matches this whole trip. I’ve played some players who have been among the best in this tournament.”

Sharapova added: “I played really well, and had my chances. If it was not for her really great serving, I certainly had a real good look at winning it.

“She served extremely well – some of the best she served against me. I gave her a run for her money, but that was really the difference.”
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Serena ends Sharapova challenge (David Ornstein, BBC Sport)
Williams praises beaten Sharapova
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8768816.stm
>>>
Defending champion Serena Williams came through her first genuine test to see off a resurgent Maria Sharapova and reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon.

The American top seed beat her Russian opponent 7-6 (11/9) 6-4 to set up a last-eight meeting with China’s Lǐ,Nŕ.

Sharapova, who overcame Williams in the 2004 final, bounced back from an early break of serve, but squandered three set-points in the first-set tiebreak.

Williams then broke once in the second before serving out for a 96-minute win.

“She played really well, and is really doing good,” the world number-one, who remains on course to meet sister Venus in the final, told BBC Sport.

“I don’t know how I pull myself out of situations like that tiebreak – I was just able to relax. The crowd was great, and I was really happy [that] they were rooting really hard for me.”

Williams said before the match that she was not entirely happy with her current form but, on this evidence, she has little cause for concern as she continues her bid for a 13th Major title.

While ninth seed Lǐ is sure to pose a threat following her 6-3 6-2 win against seventh seed Agnieszka Radwańska, Williams has won four of their previous five meetings.

And, if she can reproduce the performance-level that got her past Sharapova, a semi-final berth should beckon.

“She served extremely well: the best she’s ever served against me, and that was the difference,” Sharapova said of Williams, who sent down 19 aces, and won 84% of points on her first serve.

“I had a few looks at her serve, but when they’re coming out at 120 mph it’s pretty hard to do anything about it. She wins the majority of matches by serving well, so you’ve got to win your own service-games to stand any chance.

“I did that today, but not well enough. I played really well, and had my chances in the first set. I felt really good, and gave her a run for her money.

“I’m in a much better place than I was last year, playing well and feeling great.”

Williams and Sharapova were meeting at Wimbledon for the first time since the 2004 final, when the Russian triumphed as a 17-year-old to become the second-youngest SW19 champion in the Open Era.

It was an eagerly-anticipated encounter, and although the pair arrived to a sparsely-populated Centre Court – the crowd having filtered out after Roger Federer’s victory over Jürgen Melzer – there was soon not a seat to be had.

And it was easy to see why, as Williams opened with a flurry of aces, and Sharapova responded by offering a commanding service-hold of her own in the second game.

It was the first time in this year’s tournament that Williams had conceded a game in the opening set, and she responded with another three aces before cranking up the pressure on her opponent’s serve.

Sharapova went long, and then netted to fall 0/40 down in the fourth game, and Williams wasted no time in wrapping up the break with a crunching forehand return.

But the three-time Major champion – fully recovered from the shoulder-injury that saw her miss nine months and drop to 126th in the world in May 2009 – was in no mood to be rolled over, and hit straight back when Williams lifted a backhand beyond the baseline.

For long periods, this was not one for the purists, with no quarter asked or given by either woman, but they played out a gripping tiebreak, and Sharapova will be left to rue her missed opportunities.

After hitting back from an early mini-break, and then coming up with a stinging forehand winner to move 5/3 ahead, Williams netted a backhand to bring up 6/4 and two set-points.

Two wayward forehands put paid to Sharapova’s hopes on that occasion, and she wasted a third opportunity at 8/7, going into the tramlines with a forehand return.

A double fault at 9/9 gave Williams her third opening, and the 28-year-old showed all her experience to seal the set with a thumping ace.

There was, again, precious little to chose between the players in the second, but Sharapova, 23, seemed to lose her concentration in the third game, and was duly punished.

Another double fault and netted forehand saw Williams break to 15, and she never looked back, reeling off unstoppable deliveries and winners before taking the second of three break-points when Sharapova put a backhand wide.
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--
Dr. Andrew Broad

atominside
Jun 18th, 2011, 10:57 PM
Does anyone read these?

Steven.
Jun 18th, 2011, 10:59 PM
I sometimes do... when I'm bored. I have no life during exam periods.

:hug: Dr. Andrew Broad