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Old Sep 1st, 2011, 10:10 AM   #3108
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Re: ** Masha News and Articles! ** Vol. 2

By Neil Edward Schlecht
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova, former Grand Slam champions and world No. 1s, who a few years back were a romantic item around the grounds of Flushing Meadows, shared the night program at Arthur Ashe Stadium united by a common quest: to return to former glory on this stage.

Both have struggled recently. Roddick, the 2003 US Open champ, hasn’t been back to a Slam winner’s circle since and in 2011 has suffered from injury, poor results and a lack of confidence. Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam titlist (including the 2005 US Open), has also had to overcome injury and a series of shaky performances, although she entered the tournament as the third seed, as well as the Wimbledon finalist and the winner of two WTA events this year.

Both survived; Roddick was severely tested, and Sharapova had the much easier time advancing, after taking to the court at 11 p.m.

In the opening match Roddick, looking for a boost of confidence after a dip in the rankings, outlasted 96th-ranked Michael Russell, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. It was an all-American matchup of veterans: one a former US Open champion, the other a 33-year-old career journeyman who’d never won a match in seven US Open appearances.

Roddick is looking to resurrect his year, and perhaps career, with a good performance here. He moved out to an early lead on the strength of net approaches, but as the match wore on, Roddick played defensive, counter-punching tennis that didn’t trouble Russell, a scrappy 5-foot-8 player who’s the third-oldest in the men’s draw.

Roddick got the win but probably not a whole lot else to encourage him as he moves forward. It’s a troublesome indication of where Roddick’s game and head are that Russell, who has few real weapons and in 17 tournaments this year had lost in the first round seven times, was able to give him real difficulty.

“I don’t really care if it’s ugly,” Roddick told ESPN’s Chris Fowler after the match. “I got through.”

Roddick, who turned 29 on Tuesday, entered the 2011 US Open as the No. 21 seed, his lowest seeding ever at a Grand Slam. The former top-ranked American not only surrendered that distinction to good friend Mardy Fish earlier this year, he dropped out of the Top 20 for the first time in a decade.

After deep disappointments at recent majors, a Davis Cup shellacking in July at the hands of Spain in his hometown Austin, and nagging injuries, Roddick is hardly brimming with confidence. Roddick looked to be cruising after recovering from a break down in the second set, but Russell – called “Iron Mike” in the locker room and one of the few remaining players still to don a sleeveless shirt, looking more middleweight boxer than elite tennis player – hung tough, breaking Roddick early in the third set and making a match of it by extending rallies.

In fact, in the final two sets, it was the diminutive Russell who was dictating play and pushing his larger opponent around the court.

“I’m not going to pretend I’m in championship form,” Roddick said.

Sharapova’s form looked much stronger, and she made much quicker work of her similarly unheralded opponent, 84th-ranked Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarrus, 6-1, 6-1, in just 70 min.

Sharapova struck 27 winners compared to just two for Yakimova. The Russian’s serve, so problematic in her belabored first-round victory, was much more effective tonight, as was the rest of her game; her groundstrokes were precise and penetrating, and Sharapova confidently finished off 13 of 15 points at the net. Perhaps most important, she committed only three double faults.

Sharapova’s performance answered a lot of questions, while Roddick’s only solidified the nagging concerns about his game.

Match Facts
- Roddick hit 42 winners and had just 22 unforced errors.

- Roddick is the last American male to win a Grand Slam (the 2003 US Open).
From the

heh, for being the official USO site, you'd think they could at least get Maria's winning year right...
Serena Williams: I'm going for team Sharapova 'coz she's hot

Bring on all the pretenders. Someday, WE WILL BE REMEMBERED
Originally Posted by oliversmith View Post
oudin is a great player she already beat maria i expect to do the same now
btw whos bolivia smith?
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