Originally Posted by Mexicola
On the contrary, I have fairly high expectations for Maria on the clay this year. I'm certainly not talking about her defending all 3 of her titles. But if she can repeat in one of them and perform well in a couple of others, that would be a satisfactory clay season. Stuttgart probably gives her her best chance to win, but, obviously, I'm hoping for her peaking at Roland Garros.
Maria is clearly the second best player in the world right now and I'm looking forward to a few potential meetings with certain players over the 4 tournaments. Other than Serena, Li Na provides the biggest challenge to Maria on this surface. If they play, I'd be curious to see if Maria can get off to a better start and get inside the head of Li and create doubt, instead of letting her get into a comfort zone, which is what happened in Melbourne. Once you frustrate Li, she crumbles. She is not a player that can come from behind against Maria. I definitely want to see her play Vika on clay because there's little chance of Maria doing anything but smacking her down. A great chance to turn the momentum in the head to head. Even though I don't want to see Errani yet again, another matchup on Sara's favorite surface would be intriguing. This is becoming a fierce little rivalry after their last two close ones. And then there's Petra. For some reason, I always like seeing Maria play her. And I think Kvitova has become the new "cow on ice". Definitely kind of awkward watching her move around out there, but always an entertaning battle of power with these two.
It'll be a big challenge for Maria, but I really like her attitude. She carrying herself with a confidence that I don't think was even there last year, even as consistent as that year was. There was a defiance from her after the Serena match, which was good. She expected to win and was ticked off she didn't. And I don't think I've ever heard her openly say she believes she'll beat Serena, until the other day when she said it. And also having to guts to choose Wimbledon as her court of choice against her. I like that. Having that bit of edge and swagger will serve her well in the future, no matter who she plays.
Maria has had a great season so far, with 2 semis, 2 finals, and one title. It was a shame she had to play Serena in Miami because against anyone else, it's a slaughter. But that's tennis and it can be a cruel sport. Anything can happen on a tennis court and it'd be unreasonable to expect a deep run in every tournament and there will be some downs. But Maria's trending in the right direction. And if she stays healthy, that will mean several more opportunities to take home titles, which is what we all want.