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Old May 28th, 2011, 07:18 PM   #2543
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

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Roland Garros: Sharapova d. Chan 05/28/2011 - 2:08 PM


Who would have guessed just a few months ago that the biggest question on the women’s side would be whether Maria Sharapova could complete a career Grand Slam at this year's French Open? But Sharapova won the biggest clay-court title of her career at Rome a few weeks ago, then Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki confirmed they wouldn’t win their third in a row and first majors, respectively, this week. So here we are, awaiting the answer to a question we didn’t think we’d ask.

Playing this week on courts and with balls said to be faster than usual, Sharapova hinted at the answer again today with a straightforward, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Yung-Jan Chan.

Chan, the lowest-ranked player and only qualifier remaining in the women's draw, did well to get this far and managed to hit a pleasant 15 winners in the loss. What happened? Sharapova overpowered her opponent with big-as-usual groundstrokes and better-than-usual serving. One of the stats that’s most important to Sharapova is first-serve percentage, and hers was an impressive 75 percent. What’s more impressive—and shocking, frankly—is that she served no double faults. And when she did serve a second serve, she was actually likelier to win the point (77 percent of the time) than on a first serve (66 percent).

In the first set, when Sharapova was especially dominant, Tennis Channel’s Lindsay Davenport and Justin Gimelstob entertained themselves (and us) with chitchat about Sharapova’s basketball player fiance, Sasha Vujacic. There was this exchange:

Gimelstob: “You’ve seen the ring. Is it Kim Kardashian-esque?”
Davenport: “I have not. I’ve heard it’s big.”

And this one, soon after Sharapova glanced at her box about a call:

Gimelstob: “Would you say Sasha Vujacic is one of the most animated significant others in the players’ box?”
Davenport: “There hasn’t been a point that’s gone by without a fist pump… ”
Gimelstob: “‘Emotionally vested’ seems like the term… ”
Davenport: “A nervous cute, I’m going to give it to him…”
Nervous Cute.
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