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Old Jun 10th, 2012, 02:39 AM   #1
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Andrew's French Open 2012 TV-reports (+Fourth round: Sharapova v Zakopalová)

FRENCH OPEN (Roland Garros, Paris, France; outdoor red clay; Major)

Congratulations to Maria on winning her fourth Major title and completing her Career Grand Slam. As a Maria-fan since 2003, I have waited a long time for this moment. So many great champions finish their careers with one Major title having eluded them, so to win all four Majors is very special.

I’m also delighted that Maria has validated her return to the number-one ranking by winning her first Major title since the Australian Open 2008. That’s a very long time in tennis-terms, so it’s great for her to get that monkey off her back.

Maria is on top form at the moment, hitting her groundstrokes with an irresistable combination of power and pinpoint precision. She’s serving the best that she has served since before her shoulder-surgery in 2008. Her return of serve is an even bigger weapon, with many blazing winners. And she’s moving the best that she has ever moved on clay.

Unfortunately I had to work during the French Open, as I have a big deadline looming at the worst possible time of year. But I did see all seven of Maria’s matches on ITV, and I plan to write up my reports on the other six matches sometime between the Olympics and the French Open 2013. For now, here is my report on the final.


Singles: Final: Sara Errani v Maria Sharapova (Saturday 9th June 2012)

First set
ERRANI ____@*_*_ 3
SHARAP *@*@__*_* 6


The match was first on Court Philippe Chatrier, and started at 15:13 CEST. I saw the whole match on ITV1.

Sharapova serving 0-0: First serve + crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Deep first serve induced Errani to spray a forehand return long. 30/0. Double fault #1 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell long). 30/15. In a nail-biting rally, Maria ran down a very short ball from Errani, and hit a deep down-the-line forehand that induced Errani to earth a backhand lob. 40/15 (GP #1). Ace #1: first serve out wide. Held.

Errani serving 0-1: Deep first serve out wide induced Maria to spray a forehand long. 15/0. Maria’s depth induced Errani to bunt a backhand long. 15/15. First serve out wide drew a short return, but Errani pushed an off-forehand wide. 15/30. Maria hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: on the sideline. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria dumped a makeable forehand return into the net. 30/40 (BP #2). Errani hit a nervy backhand long. Broken.

ITV commentator Amélie Mauresmo: “It’s not the kind of mistake you usually see from Sara Errani. She always makes you hit the extra shot.

“You can see her [Maria] playing with the mind of Errani, starting on the second serve to move around, make her think more, make her doubt her second serve.”
ITV commentator Sam Smith: “Just where Sharapova is standing at the end of the court, she doubts her second serve!”

Sharapova serving 2-0: Maria hit a deep off-forehand winner back behind Errani. 15/0. Maria hit a deep crosscourt forehand winner just inside the baseline – but Errani just stood there like a lemon, as if she’s too nervous to read the game. 30/0. Deep first serve out wide induced Errani to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace #2: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. Held.

So far, it looks like a total freeze by Errani. Maria’s playing quite well, but Errani is neither hitting nor moving well so far.

Errani serving 0-3: Errani hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, inducing Maria to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Maria punished a short, weak first serve with a thumping forehand return-winner down Errani’s forehand sideline. 15/15. A longish baseline-rally ended with Errani dumping a cheap backhand into the net. 15/30. Maria broke up a crosscourt-backhand drill with a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: on the sideline. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria sprayed a forehand long. 30/40 (BP #1). A long baseline-rally ended with Errani hitting a deep topspin ball, forcing Maria back on her heels to net a forehand. Deuce #1. Short second serve out wide: Maria hit a crosscourt forehand return-winner. Ad Sharapova (BP #3). Maria nailed an off-forehand winner deep into the corner. Broken.

Maybe a few signs in that game that Errani is beginning to settle down, but Maria was ruthless. If Errani could play like at 30/40 consistently, Maria could be in trouble.

Sam Smith: “There’s just not enough on Errani’s rally-ball.”
Amélie Mauresmo: “Exactly, and she keeps going to Maria’s backhand.”

Sharapova serving 4-0: Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Errani nailed a pinpoint off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 0/30. Double fault #3 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell long). 0/40 (BP #1). First serve down the middle: Errani hit a crosscourt forehand return just wide (the umpire checked the mark and confirmed it). 15/40 (BP #2). First serve forced a short return, but Maria sprayed an off-forehand just wide. Broken.

A loose service-game by Maria. Perhaps she’s getting a little complacent after Errani’s lack of resistance in the first three games.

Errani serving 1-4: Errani went to the net behind a moonball, and hit a beautiful off-backhand volley-winner. 15/0. Errani’s depth induced Maria to spray a forehand long. 30/0. Errani spread Maria with an acute crosscourt backhand followed by a forehand deep into Maria’s forehand corner, forcing Maria to net a forehand. 40/0 (GP #1). A nail-biting baseline-rally ended with Maria hitting a laserlike short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Errani forced a short ball but netted a backhand dropshot. 40/30 (GP #3). Maria forced a short ball, but sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide. Held.

Errani really transformed herself in that game. If she can keep this up, then the match could get very interesting. She’s got some momentum now, having won two games in a row. It’s a little too early to say that she’s got /the/ momentum.

Sharapova serving 4-2: Maria hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Maria hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: on the baseline. 30/0. Maria hit a backhand winner down the line. 40/0 (GP #1). Deep first serve out wide forced Errani to bunt a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

A very impressive game by Maria to steady the ship. She’s hitting her groundstrokes with power and pinpoint accuracy, which is an irresistable combination.

Errani serving 2-5 (new balls): Maria failed to reproduce the power and precision of the previous game, and dumped a backhand into the net. 15/0. Maria hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Errani to stretch wide and low, and net a forehand. 15/15. Errani netted a makeable forehand off a deep ball from Maria. 15/30. Maria’s deep crosscourt backhand induced Errani to float a crosscourt sliced backhand wide. 15/40 (SP #1 for Sharapova). Second serve: Maria blasted an off-forehand return into the net. 30/40 (SP #2 for Sharapova). Errani opened up the court with a short-angled crosscourt forehand to the sideline, and hit a pinpoint down-the-line forehand winner just inside the sideline. Deuce #1. Errani’s deep crosscourt backhand induced Maria to hit an off-backhand wide. Ad Errani (GP #1). A long baseline-rally ended with Maria mishitting a crosscourt backhand wide. Held.

Two set-points saved, and this match is looking much more competitive than it did at the beginning.

Sharapova serving 5-3: Maria forced a floater, and dispatched it with an off-forehand drive-volley winner. 15/0. Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). 15/15. First serve out wide induced Errani to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. 30/15. Errani played a great spreading rally, opening up the court with a short-angled off-forehand to the sideline, and hitting a deep backhand winner down the line. 30/30. Maria’s crosscourt forehand forced a short ball, which she dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 40/30 (SP #3 for Sharapova). First serve out wide + pinpoint backhand winner down the line. Sharapova won the first set 6-3 at 15:49 CEST (36m).

ITV commentator Mark Petchey: “It got competitive towards the end; it promises much for the second set. [Errani is] courageous; she’s gutsy; she’s got tenacity. She clawed her way back to some degree, but ultimately, the power of Maria Sharapova is just overwhelming.”

ITV commentator Sam Smith said that Errani didn’t return well in the first set, and that that was the key thing that she needed to improve in the second.


Second set
ERRANI __*__@__ 2
SHARAP @*_*@_@* 6


Errani serving 0-0: Errani, on the third stroke, dumped a cheap backhand into the net. 0/15. Maria’s deep crosscourt backhand to the sideline forced Errani to net a defensive sliced backhand. 0/30. Maria, stretched wide, hit a backhand winner down the line. 0/40 (BP #1). Maria hit a deep, pinpoint backhand down the line, forcing Errani to bunt a forehand lob long. Broken.

There’s a nasty grey cloud in the sky. I get the impression that it’s quite cold, which is bad for Maria, but at least it’s not as windy as when she struggled for over three hours against Klára Zakopalová in the fourth round.

Sharapova serving 1-0: Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Errani to bunt a forehand into the net. 15/0. Errani went to the net and hit a crosscourt backhand drop-volley winner. 15/15. Deep second serve induced Errani to hit a crosscourt backhand return wide. 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle forced Errani to mishit a forehand return long and wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Errani went to the net and hit a beautiful crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 40/30 (GP #2). Maria tried to spread Errani, but couldn’t put her away, and ended up netting a forehand off an awkward short ball that bounced low. Deuce #1. Ace #3: first serve out wide. Ad Sharapova (GP #3). Errani went for an awkward short sliced backhand, but Maria handled it with a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: on the baseline. Held.

Errani got to hit a couple of nice drop-volleys in that game (as befits one of yesterday’s Women’s Doubles champions), but Maria hasn’t allowed her to do that much today at all.

Errani serving 0-2: Errani hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Maria to bunt a forehand long. 15/0. Maria netted a backhand on the fourth stroke. 30/0. Errani took the initiative with a deep lob onto the baseline, forcing Maria to hoist a defensive backhand lob; Errani hit an off-forehand smash + crosscourt forehand smash-winner. 40/0 (GP #1). Maria forced a short ball, and blasted an off-forehand winner. 40/15 (GP #2). Double fault #1 (second serve long). 40/30 (GP #2). Errani netted a backhand. Deuce #1. Maria netted a backhand. Ad Errani (GP #3). Short second serve out wide: Maria hit a backhand return just long. Held.

Sharapova serving 2-1: Maria sprayed an off-forehand just long. 0/15. Maria, driven wide, hit a down-the-line backhand winner. 15/15. Ace #4: first serve down the middle. 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle induced Errani to hit an off-forehand return wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Errani’s deep return induced Maria to net a backhand. 40/30 (GP #2). Errani’s deep forehand forced Maria to net a forehand. Deuce #1. Ace: first serve out wide – but the umpire checked the mark and called it wide. Second serve... Maria sprayed a forehand long. Ad Errani (BP #1). In a nail-biting rally, Maria hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand just inside the sideline, forcing Errani to bunt a forehand lob long. Deuce #2. Maria ran down a dropshot and painted the sideline with a crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Sharapova (GP #3). Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Errani to bunt a forehand into the net. Held.

Amélie Mauresmo (after Maria ran down the dropshot at Deuce #2): “I think it’s quite clear to see the extra power she has on the lower part of the body, because she used big steps, but powerful steps.”
Sam Smith: “I think it has a lot to do with rehiring her trainer Yutaka Nakamura.”
Amélie Mauresmo: “She would never get to this ball, let’s say one year ago. She was not the best mover forward.”

Errani serving 1-3: Second serve: Maria hit a blazing off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. Errani forehand long. 0/30. First serve + short-angled off-forehand winner. 15/30. Deep first serve induced Maria to hit a down-the-line backhand return just long. 30/30. Errani’s deep backhand induced Maria to hit a backhand long. 40/30 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Maria hit a stunning crosscourt backhand return-winner. Deuce #1. First serve out wide forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Ad Errani (GP #2). Maria hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: on the sideline. Deuce #2. Maria hit a brilliant short-angled crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline. Ad Sharapova (BP #1). Maria hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Deuce #3. First serve out wide induced Maria to hit a forehand return long. Ad Errani (GP #3). Maria wrong-footed Errani with a blazing short-angled off-forehand winner. Deuce #4. First serve out wide: Maria hit a thunderous forehand return-winner down the line. Ad Sharapova (BP #2). A longish baseline-rally ended with Maria hitting a forehand just long. Deuce #5. Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Errani to earth a forehand. Maria shouted “c’mon”. Ad Sharapova (BP #3). Errani went to the net and hit a drop-volley; Maria ran it down and hit a down-the-line backhand into Errani’s body as she overran it. Broken.

An important game for Maria to win, even though she was already a set and a break up. Errani is playing well and displaying a feisty attitude.

Sharapova serving 4-1: Maria hit an off-forehand winner deep into the corner. 15/0. Deep first serve down the middle forced Errani to hit a forehand return long. 30/0. Errani opened up the court with a bunted forehand down the line, then hit a deep down-the-line backhand that forced Maria to run right and net a forehand. 30/15. Double fault #5 (second serve into the net). 30/30. First serve out wide: Errani gave Maria a taste of her own medicine with a down-the-line forehand return-winner. 30/40 (BP #1). Errani hit a pinpoint backhand down the line – just inside the sideline – forcing Maria to stretch wide and net a forehand. Broken.

That’s why the previous game was so important – Errani would have had the momentum, had it been 3-3 at this stage.

Errani serving 2-4: Maria hit a blazing backhand winner down the line. 0/15. Errani netted a makeable forehand. 0/30. Errani went to the net, but had to hit an awkward backhand volley from below the height of the net, which she pushed long. 0/40 (BP #1). Second serve: Maria hit an off-forehand return wide. 15/40 (BP #2). Maria hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line from outside the sideline: just inside the sideline. Broken.

Mark Petchey: “She’s a special player. She’s a special champion. Errani brought her sword, but unfortunately this is a gun-fight.”

Sharapova serving 5-2 (new balls): Errani hit a deep forehand down the line, forcing Maria to bunt a backhand long. 0/15. Maria’s deep forehand just inside the baseline forced Errani to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. Errani went to the net, but a dipping ball at her feet forced her to hit a backhand long. 30/15. Errani drew Maria to the net with a backhand dropshot, went to the net herself, and passed Maria with a crosscourt backhand volley-winner. 30/30. Maria ran down a crosscourt forehand and hit a running forehand pass-winner down the line. 40/30 (MP #1 for Sharapova). Maria hit a down-the-line forehand long – the world seemed to go into slow motion as it flew through the air. Deuce #1. Errani forced a short ball, and hit a forehand dropshot-winner down the line. Amélie Mauresmo: “She’s been trying different things, trying desperately to change the momentum: dropshotting, coming to the net, being more aggressive on the returns of serve.” Ad Errani (BP #1). First serve out wide + pinpoint short-angled crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. Deuce #2. Ace #5: first serve out wide. Ad Sharapova (MP #2). The world went into slow motion again... Errani broke up a nail-biting baseline-rally with an unbelievable down-the-line forehand dropshot-winner from the baseline. Deuce #3. Ace #6: first serve down the middle, just inside the centre-line. Ad Sharapova (MP #3). First serve long. Second serve... the world went into slow motion a third time... on the seventh stroke of the rally, Maria hit a crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, but Errani’s skyscraper forehand lob down the line landed just inside the sideline; however, Maria’s short-angled crosscourt backhand forced Errani to run outside the tramlines and net a sliced backhand. Sharapova won 6-3 6-2 at 16:42 CEST (second set 53m, match 1h29m).

Maria sank to her knees, and covered her face with her hands. She looked absolutely delighted, and reacted by jumping around in a circle before going into her usual victory-routine of blowing kisses to the four stands.

Errani sat in her chair with tears in her eyes.


Presentation-ceremony

Monica Seles presented the trophies. Monica is my favourite player of all time: very similar to Maria in the power of her groundstrokes, her intensity, and the volume of her grunting. So it was very fitting that the year that Monica presented the trophies was the year that Maria won the title!

The two MS kissed each other on the cheeks as Monica handed Maria the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen that she won herself as a 16-year-old in 1990, and again in 1991 and 1992 before that tragic stabbing incident on 30th April 1993.


Errani’s on-court interview

Cédric Pioline: “Sara, for the public a few words.”

Sara Errani: “Hi. I just I want to say ‘congratulate’ to Maria for the tournament today: you played a good match. I want to thank everybody that make possible this tournament, all the people that is here today. [She then thanked her parents in Italian.]”

Cédric Pioline said something inaudible, of which I only caught “first Grand Slam final”.

“I don’t feel like top ten, but I will be top ten [laughing]. I can’t believe it, and I’m so happy for that.”

Cédric Pioline: “Do you realise, from today on, your life is gonna change?”

Sara Errani: “I hope it doesn’t change! I want the same life!”


Maria’s speech

Maria Sharapova: “First, in English: Sara, what an amazing tournament. I’ve seen you play throughout the last two weeks, and the way you performed. The match you gave me today was extremely difficult. I know it’s our first meeting against each other, but I hope we get to play many more times, and be at the same stage of the tournament. So congratulations.”

“Maintenant, je parle français un petit peu. Un peu! Je voudrais dire ‘merci beaucoup’ pour votre soutien. C’est un magnifique moment dans ma carričre. [Now, I speak French a little bit. A bit! I would like to say ‘thanks a lot’ for your support. It’s a magnificent moment in my career.] I don’t know what else to say in French, but... it’s... I’m really speechless. It’s been such a journey for me to get to this stage. I don’t know. I have so many people to thank, but most importantly, is my wonderful team that keeps me together. My coach Thomas [Högstedt], for being there for me, for making me stronger. Juan [Reque], for taking care of my body – gracias por todo [thanks for everything]. And Cecil [Mamiit] for being a great addition to my team. Michael [Joyce], as well: thank you for all your work throughout the years – you really got me here on stage through all these injuries. Vladimir [Voltchkov], who’s not here – we’ll see you in a few weeks – he’s another part of my team. And most importantly, my mother and my father. They’re the ones, they’re my rock, that keep me together, that keep me up every single day, that keep me motivated, that kept me going through all the tough days and the good. Ya vas ochen sil’no ljublju [I love you very much].

“It took me many years to get to this stage. Eight years ago, it was my first breakthrough Grand Slam: I got to the quarter-finals. Eight years from that day, I’m here on this stage, and I’m so happy to share this moment with all of you today. Thank you Monica: you’re an inspiration to me. Thank you for giving me the trophy. When I was young, I always wanted to compete against you – and I did, but I lost very bad! But thank you. I cannot wait to be back. Merci beaucoup.”

Cédric Pioline asked her a question, but ITV presenter John Inverdale talked over it, and over the beginning of Maria’s answer.

Maria Sharapova: “Well, I will say that... if this was the first one I played, or if I didn’t have any Grand Slams, to be here and to win this one – if it was my only one – it would be just as special as it is winning my fourth.”

Cédric Pioline: “Are you going to celebrate it tonight?”

Maria Sharapova: “Oh yeah! [laughing]”


Errani’s press-conference

ITV4 televised the following excerpt from Errani’s press-conference.

Sara Errani: “Well, I start very bad. With this player, if you give her like some games like this in the beginning, of course, they are more relaxed. It was very difficult for me to play. She play very good, I think. She play very like this [Errani put her hands out like a witch casting a spell], so for me, it was difficult to start the point where I want to play the point. In the first two or three balls, she played very good. The serve, receive, so... I couldn’t arrive to play on the game that I want to play, so... for that.”


Maria’s ITV interview

Celina Hinchcliffe: “Maria, four years ago, when you had what, for most athletes, was a career-ending injury, did you ever imagine you’d be making an acceptance speech in French at Roland Garros?”

Maria Sharapova: “I never... I mean: I believed that one day, I could get to that stage, and obviously play at Roland Garros, compete – and I’ve been to a couple of semi-finals – but to actually believe that you’re holding the trophy, I don’t know; I’m not quite sure. So, to achieve it, it’s pretty special.

Celina Hinchcliffe: “How does it compare to your other Grand Slams?”

Maria Sharapova: “Well, very different. It’s a different time in my career. Each one is very special. Tough to compare them, but I always thought the first one will be the most memorable one for me – it just came so unexpected. But then, when I fell down to my knees, I thought, ‘This is pretty unreal,’ so I’m going to say this one.”

Celina Hinchcliffe: “You mentioned earlier that you spoke to your parents after your win, and their reaction made me laugh. Tell us.”

Maria Sharapova: “I spoke to my dad, and he was riding on his bicycle, and he said, ‘Yeah, congratulations, talk later.’ And the wind was all like behind him. My mum was like very happy, of course, but then she said, ‘You have only three or four days to think about it and enjoy it, and then you gotta get back to work.’ And that’s pretty much the philosophy of my family [laughing]: you’ve got to get back on the horse and keep working hard, and Wimbledon’s just around the corner.”

Celina Hinchcliffe: “Well, enjoy your days off.”

Maria Sharapova: “Yes, thank you.”

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

P.S. I plan to write up my reports on Maria’s other six matches sometime between the Olympics and the French Open 2013, so those wishing to read these reports might want to subscribe to this thread.
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 10:56 PM   #2
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First-round TV-report: Sharapova v Cadanţu

FRENCH OPEN (Roland Garros, Paris, France; outdoor red clay; Major)

At last I have reached the French Open 2012 in my backlog. I watched all seven of Maria Sharapova’s matches on ITV. I wrote up the final at the time. Now it’s time to write up Maria’s other six matches, starting with the first round.

I aim to finish my French Open 2012 and Birmingham 2012 reports before the French Open 2013. The way things are going, Wimbledon 2012 and the Olympics will have to wait until after Wimbledon 2013.


Women’s Singles: First round: Alexandra Cadanţu v Maria Sharapova (Tuesday 29th May 2012)

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] d. Alexandra Cadanţu, 6-0 6-0

In a short, sweet opening to her French Open campaign, Maria was on awesome form, and the #78-ranked Cadanţu was quite simply out of her depth.

Both girls were grunting loudly: compared to Maria’s grunt, Cadanţu’s grunt was high-pitched and long, rather like Victoria Azarenka’s. ITV commentator Sam Smith said: “The only thing Cadanţu’s doing better than Sharapova is shrieking – I’ve got a feeling it’s a little louder than Sharapova’s, and that takes some doing, doesn’t it?”


First set
CADANŢU ______ 0
SHARAPO *@*@*@ 6


The match was second on Court Suzanne Lenglen, and started at 12:27 CEST. ITV4 started televising it at 0:0 0-4* Ad*.

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

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

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

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

Sharapova serving 4-0: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Deuce #1. Ad Sharapova (GP #1). First serve out wide + backhand winner down the line. Held.

Cadanţu serving 0-5: First serve out wide induced Maria to net a forehand return. 15/0. Cadanţu’s deep forehand induced Maria to bunt a backhand long. 30/0. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner from no-man’s-land. 30/15. Maria’s deep, kicking backhand down the line induced Cadanţu to net a forehand. 30/30. Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand return induced Cadanţu to net a forehand. 30/40 (SP #1 for Sharapova). Maria went to the net, hit an off-forehand drive-volley straight to Cadanţu’s backhand, but Cadanţu hit it long. Sharapova won the first set 6-0 at 12:50 CEST (23m).

ITV commentator Sam Smith: “Once Sharapova’s got you in a headlock, that’s pretty much it.”


Second set
CADANŢU ______ 0
SHARAPO *@*@*@ 6


Sharapova serving 0-0: Deep first serve out wide induced Cadanţu to net a forehand return. 15/0. Maria went to the net and hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner back behind Cadanţu. 30/0. First serve out wide induced Cadanţu to net a forehand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 40/15 (GP #2). Maria’s forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. 40/30 (GP #3). Maria dispatched a deep, high-bouncing ball with a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. Held.

Cadanţu serving 0-1 (new balls): Double fault #2 (second serve just long). 0/15. Maria netted a makeable forehand return. 15/15. Maria hit a deep backhand return just inside the baseline, forcing Cadanţu to hit a backhand long. 15/30. Cadanţu hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Cadanţu jammed Maria with a forehand down the middle, inducing Maria to hit an off-forehand wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Cadanţu hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, inducing Maria to hit a forehand that clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Deuce #1. Maria’s depth induced Cadanţu to hit a backhand very long. Ad Sharapova (BP #3). Maria forced a short ball, and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner. Broken.

Sharapova serving 2-0: First serve out wide, deep in the corner, forced Cadanţu to earth a forehand return. 15/0. Cadanţu’s forehand return was deeper than Maria expected, inducing her to bunt an early forehand long. 15/15. Maria hit a short crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. Maria went to the net and forced a floater, but got off-balance and mishit a forehand smash wide. 30/30. Maria’s depth induced Cadanţu to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Cadanţu to bunt a forehand return very long. Held.

Sam Smith: “Although clay provides some problems for Sharapova, she doesn’t mind the ball getting up high, because she’s 6′2. So she doesn’t get beaten by the bounce, and that’s a huge advantage.”

Cadanţu serving 0-3: Maria punished a short second serve with a forehand return-winner down the line. 0/15. Double fault #3 (second serve long). 0/30. Deep first serve induced Maria to bunt a forehand return long. 15/30. Maria’s depth forced Cadanţu to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). Broken.

Sharapova serving 4-0: Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Cadanţu hit a wild off-forehand wide. 15/15. Cadanţu went to the net behind a penetrating crosscourt forehand, but mishit a forehand smash wide. 30/15. Deep first serve down the middle forced Cadanţu to bunt a forehand return into the net. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide induced Cadanţu to earth a forehand return. Held.

Cadanţu looked like she was chewing on wasps as she prepared to serve to avoid the double bagel.

Cadanţu serving 0-5: Maria hit a crosscourt backhand deep into the corner, forcing Cadanţu to bunt a backhand long by a whisker. 0/15. Maria hit a deep forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Cadanţu to bunt a forehand wide. 0/30. Slow first serve out wide: Maria hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 0/40 (MP #1 for Sharapova). Cadanţu, on the third stroke, sprayed a wild forehand very long, then gave a wry smile after shaking hands. Sharapova won 6-0 6-0 at 13:16 CEST (second set 26m, match 49m).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

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Old May 15th, 2013, 09:15 PM   #3
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Second-round TV-report: Sharapova v Morita

FRENCH OPEN (Roland Garros, Paris, France; outdoor red clay; Major)

Women’s Singles: Second round: Ayumi Morita v Maria Sharapova (Friday 1st June 2012)

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] d. Ayumi Morita, 6-1 6-1

ITV4 showed only the last point of the first set and the last three games of this match, as it decided to prioritise Agnieszka Radwańska v Svetlana Kuznetsova on Court Chatrier.

From the little I saw of this match, Morita hit some nice, hard groundstrokes – two-handed on both sides – but Maria had far too much power for her, hitting three return-winners, two other groundstroke-winners, and even a volley-winner.


First set
MORITA _*_____ 1
SHARAP *_*@*@* 6


The match was second on Court Suzanne Lenglen, and started at 13:28 CEST.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharapova serving 5-1: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 40/15 (SP #1 for Sharapova). 40/30 (SP #2 for Sharapova). ITV4 showed this point in a round-up: Morita dumped a forehand into the net on the fourth stroke. Sharapova won the first set 6-1 at 13:56 CEST (28m).


Second set
MORITA __*____ 1
SHARAP @*_*@*@ 6


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

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

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

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

Morita serving 1-3: 0/15. 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Morita (GP #1). Maria hit a pinpoint backhand return-winner down the line: about an inch inside the sideline. Deuce #2. Maria netted a backhand on the third stroke. Ad Morita (GP #2). Maria hit a series of crosscourt forehands, the last a winner back behind Morita. Deuce #3. Maria hit a blazing forehand return-winner down the sideline and just inside it. Ad Sharapova (BP #2). Morita dominated the rally and ripped a two-handed forehand down the line, forcing Maria to bunt a one-handed backhand wide left. Deuce #4. A long, meaty baseline-rally ended with Morita hitting a crosscourt forehand just wide. Ad Sharapova (BP #3). Morita hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Broken.

Sam Smith: “Even though she finished last year at #4 in the world, made that Wimbledon final, I felt last year she was struggling on the ball: she was trying to muscle it. She was prospecting for her game. This year, it’s all changed: the timing, the rhythm, the power – it’s all back. Even the serving’s improved; the shoulder seems to be an awful lot better. She really is back.”

Sharapova serving 4-1: Maria’s power and depth forced Morita to bunt a backhand long. 15/0. Morita blasted a wild off-backhand wide. 30/0. Kick serve out wide induced Morita to net a backhand return. 40/0 (GP #1). Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/15 (GP #2). Maria went to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand volley-winner into the open court – probably unnecessarily, as the ball from Morita looked like it was going wide. Held.

Morita serving 1-5: First serve out wide: Maria’s searing crosscourt forehand return forced Morita to net a forehand. 0/15. Second serve out wide: Maria used the angle for an acute crosscourt backhand return-winner just inside the sideline. 0/30. Deep, body-jamming first serve induced Maria to net a forehand return. 15/30. Maria netted a forehand on the fourth stroke. 30/30. Maria hit a crosscourt backhand winner back behind Morita on the fourth stroke. 30/40 (MP #1 for Sharapova). First serve out wide: Maria’s mildly awkward crosscourt backhand return induced Morita to mishit a backhand just long. Sharapova won 6-1 6-1 at 14:28 CEST (second set 32m, match 1h00m).


Maria’s press-conference

The following excerpt from Maria’s press-conference was televised in ITV4’s highlights-show:

“I was happy with the way I played today. I’d never faced my opponent before, but yeah: when she has time, she really goes for her shots, so I really wanted to try to get her on the move. I thought I played well, aggressive, and played well when I had to.”

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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Third-round TV-report: Sharapova v Péng

FRENCH OPEN (Roland Garros, Paris, France; outdoor red clay; Major)

Women’s Singles: Third round: Péng,Shuŕi v Maria Sharapova (Saturday 2nd June 2012)

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] d. Péng,Shuŕi, 6-2 6-1

Another very impressive performance by Maria. She was hitting clean winners all over the court, serving the best I’ve seen her serve since she won the Australian Open 2008 (she had shoulder-surgery later that year), and playing the best clay-court tennis of her career.

It was a very similar match-up to Maria’s second round against Ayumi Morita, for Péng is also a hard, sweet hitter with two hands off both sides. Péng likes to take the ball early and hit it flat, but that’s very difficult against the power and depth of Maria.


First set
PÉNG ___@*___ 2
SHAR @*@__*@* 6


The match was third on Court Philippe Chatrier, and started at 16:11 CEST.

Péng serving 0-0: First serve: Maria hit a deep off-backhand return just inside the sideline, forcing Péng to earth a forehand. 0/15. Maria’s depth induced Péng to spray a forehand very long. 0/30. Deep first serve: forehand return just long. 15/30. Maria hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line that clipped the outside edge of the sideline (Péng had the umpire Kader Nouni check the mark). 30/30. Maria’s stinging off-forehand induced Péng to bunt a backhand long. 30/40 (BP #1). Deep first serve induced Maria to mishit a forehand lob-return long. Deuce #1. Péng hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. Ad Sharapova (BP #2). Maria hit a deep forehand down the middle, jamming into Péng’s body and forcing her to net a forehand. Broken.

Sharapova serving 1-0: Deep second serve on the service-line induced Péng to spray a forehand return long. 15/0. Maria finished a long rally by spreading Péng with a crosscourt forehand + off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Maria ran down a very short dropshot and hit an off-forehand winner back behind Péng. 40/0 (GP #1). Ace #1: first serve down the middle. Held.

A very impressive start by Maria.

Péng serving 0-2: Péng’s depth induced Maria to bunt a forehand long. 15/0. Maria punished a short ball with an off-forehand winner. 15/15. First serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 30/15. Maria sprayed a forehand long. 40/15 (GP #1). Péng sprayed a down-the-line backhand wide. 40/30 (GP #2). First serve out wide: Maria hit a blazing crosscourt backhand return-winner, and clenched her fist. Deuce #1. Péng dumped a forehand into the net. Ad Sharapova (BP #1). Maria’s depth pushed Péng back on her heels, forcing her to bunt a backhand into the net. Broken.

Sharapova serving 3-0: Péng rifled a two-handed crosscourt forehand winner back behind Maria. 0/15. Double fault #1 (second serve long). 0/30. Maria’s defensive backhand lob looked like it landed on the baseline, but was called long (the umpire checked the mark and confirmed it). 0/40 (BP #1). Maria’s depth induced Péng to bunt a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #2). First serve out wide + off-forehand winner into the space thus created. 30/40 (BP #3). Maria hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. Broken.

Péng serving 1-3: Péng’s depth induced Maria to net an early backhand. 15/0. Maria’s deep forehand return forced Péng to bunt a one-handed forehand into the net. 15/15. Maria hit a loose forehand long. 30/15. Maria, on the third stroke, hit a forehand just long. 40/15 (GP #1). First serve out wide: Maria hit a forehand return long. Held.

Worrying errors are creeping into Maria’s game now.

Sharapova serving 3-2: First serve down the middle forced a short return, which Maria dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 15/0. A long baseline-rally ended with Péng hitting a forehand just long on the 18th stroke. 30/0. Ace #2: first serve out wide. 40/0 (GP #1). Péng hit a forehand just long. Held.

Péng serving 2-4: First serve out wide: Maria ate it up with a crosscourt forehand return-winner. 0/15. Maria’s deep return induced Péng to hit an early forehand long. 0/30. Péng, hitting the ball sweetly with her Selesian groundstrokes, hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/30. Péng’s deep off-forehand induced Maria to hit a backhand long. 30/30. Maria hit a backhand down the middle, jamming into Péng’s body with sidespin, forcing her to earth a forehand. 30/40 (BP #1). Péng, on the third stroke, hit an off-forehand winner back behind Maria. Deuce #1. Maria’s deep return induced Péng to hit an early forehand long. Ad Sharapova (BP #2). A long baseline-rally ended with Maria pouncing on a Péng lob to hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner into the corner. Broken.

Sharapova serving 5-2 (new balls): First serve out wide forced Péng to earth a forehand return. 15/0. Péng netted a forehand - this time from way behind the baseline. 30/0. Ace #3: first serve down the middle. 40/0 (SP #1 for Sharapova). Maria, on the third stroke, crunched an off-forehand winner back behind Péng. Sharapova won the first set 6-2 at 16:44 CEST (33m).

Maria hit 13 winners to Péng’s five in that set.


Second set
PÉNG ____*__ 1
SHAR @*@*_*@ 6


Péng serving 0-0: Second serve out wide: Maria blasted a crosscourt forehand return wide. 15/0. Péng hit a forehand just long. 15/15. Maria’s deep forehand return forced Péng to bunt a forehand very long. 15/30. A longish baseline-rally ended with Péng netting a forehand. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria hit an off-forehand winner back behind Péng. Broken.

Sharapova serving 1-0: Maria hit a forehand just long, and Kader Nouni made a very late call from the high chair. 0/15. Maria hit a blazing off-forehand winner back behind Péng. 15/15. Péng’s hard, early, low-bouncing forehand forced Maria to net a forehand. 15/30. Deep first serve out wide induced Péng to hit a backhand return long. 30/30. Second serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Maria ripped a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. Held.

Péng serving 0-2: First serve out wide: forehand return-winner down the line. 0/15. Péng’s early, flat crosscourt backhand induced Maria to net a backhand. 15/15. Deep first serve forced Maria to net a forehand return. 30/15. Maria’s deep return induced Péng to bunt a forehand long. 30/30. First serve out wide: forehand return long. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve clipped the netcord and fell back on Péng’s side). Deuce #1. Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to net a forehand return. Ad Péng (GP #2). Maria punished a short ball with an off-backhand winner. Deuce #2. Second serve out wide: Maria hit a crosscourt forehand return-winner. Ad Sharapova (BP #1). Péng chose to leave Maria’s backhand return, but it clipped the baseline for a winner. Broken.

ITV commentator Guillaume Raoux said that Péng shouldn’t be hitting her second serves out wide to Maria, because it gives her too much angle to work with.

Sharapova serving 3-0: Deep second serve out wide induced Péng to hit a forehand long. 15/0. Maria’s early crosscourt forehand took a weird hop, inducing Péng to whiff a forehand. 30/0. Ace #4: first serve down the middle. 40/0 (GP #1). Body-jamming second serve induced Péng to hit a crosscourt forehand return wide. Held.

Péng serving 0-4: Péng hit a sweet bullet of a two-handed forehand winner down the line. 15/0. The wind blew red dust into Péng’s eyes as she prepared to serve. Second-serve let... Maria punished a short second serve with a blazing backhand return-winner down the line. 15/15. Péng’s depth induced Maria to hit a backhand long. 30/15. Péng hit a sweet, hard crosscourt forehand winner just inside the baseline. 40/15 (GP #1). Maria’s deep off-forehand induced Péng to bunt a backhand lob just long. 40/30 (GP #2). Maria’s power induced Péng to hit a down-the-line backhand just wide. Deuce #1. Deep second serve out wide: Maria hit a forehand return just long. Ad Péng (GP #3). Deep first serve out wide forced Maria to bunt a crosscourt backhand return long and wide. Held.

Sharapova serving 4-1: Péng hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line and plumb onto it. 0/15. Maria, driven wide, hit a pinpoint down-the-line backhand winner that curled back into court and landed right in the corner. 15/15. Péng sprayed a wild forehand that landed closer to the back fence than to the baseline. 30/15. Péng sprayed an off-backhand wide. 40/15 (GP #1). Péng ran down a dropshot, squeezed a one-handed backhand down the line with sidespin, but Maria handled it by bunting a crosscourt forehand pass-winner into the wide open court. Held.

Péng serving 1-5: Maria dominated the rally with a couple of hard off-forehands close to the sideline, then hit a crosscourt forehand winner into the space thus created. 0/15. First serve out wide + blazing off-forehand winner back behind Maria. 15/15. Péng ran down a dropshot and chopped back a short crosscourt forehand, but it was just wide. 15/30. Maria’s deep crosscourt forehand forced Péng to hit a forehand long. 15/40 (MP #1 for Sharapova). First serve into the net. Second serve out wide: Maria’s hard, deep, low-bouncing crosscourt forehand return forced Péng to spray a wild forehand so long that it landed below the bottom of my TV-screen. Sharapova won 6-2 6-1 at 17:18 CEST (second set 34m, match 1h07m).


Maria’s press-conference

The following excerpt from Maria’s press-conference was televised in ITV4’s highlights-show:

“I think all the players know, coming into the clay-season, that the conditions can change drastically from a day-to-day basis. One day, it’s sunny; the ball is flying. Another day, it can be windy and raining, and everything seems heavier; the court is muddier. So I think it’s just about adjusting to those situations.

“It’s a nice thing when people consider you a favourite. It means that there’s a reason why you’re considered a favourite. It’s something that I’ve dealt with a lot in my career; I’m used to it, so experience is a good thing.”

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki

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Fourth-round TV-report: Sharapova v Zakopalová

FRENCH OPEN (Roland Garros, Paris, France; outdoor red clay; Major)

I’m sorry that this is over a year late, but at last I am ready to post my fourth-round TV-report from the French Open 2012. My quarter-final and semi-final French Open 2012 reports will almost certainly have to wait until July now, while my French Open 2013 reports take their places behind Wimbledon 2012 and the Olympics in my backlog of TV-reports.


Women’s Singles: Fourth round: Klára Zakopalová v Maria Sharapova (Monday 4th June 2012)

+ MARIA SHARAPOVA [2] d. Klára Zakopalová, 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-2

In terms of quality from both players, this was the best match that I remember seeing at the French Open 2012 – certainly the only real contest of Maria’s seven matches, as she didn’t drop more than three games a set in any of the other six. It would have made a far worthier final than did Maria v Sara Errani.

It was cold and windy – conditions that are anathema to Maria on clay, and favoured Zakopalová more – and yet they both hit the ball extremely well, with flairsome power. Zakopalová is a good counterpuncher who spread Maria laterally by hitting crosscourt to alternate sides of the court, and disguising the direction of her shots, but Maria had too much power and closeness to the lines for Zakopalová at other times. Zakopalová also did a lot of damage with her forehand, including 33 winners off that side.

This was Maria’s third revenge for the Australian Open 2003, for Zakopalová was actually the Klára Koukalová who beat 15-year-old Maria in her first-ever match at a Major, and followed that up with a win over the great Monica Seles in the second round.

The calibre of play was high from the start, but Maria was too strong and disciplined for Zakopalová as Maria took a *5-2 lead. Maria had her first set-point at 40/15, but Zakopalová’s mishit forehand return turned into a winner, and she broke back. Maria eventually sealed the first set after being taken to deuce at *5-4.

In the second set, Maria kept breaking and being broken back. She served for the match at *5-4 and *6-5, but won only three points in those two games due to a combination of her errors and Zakopalová stepping up. With Maria serving at *0/1 in the tiebreak, the umpire incorrectly thought that Maria wanted to stop the point to have a mark checked, and awarded the point to Zakopalová after Maria had hit a winner. Zakopalová went on to take the tiebreak 7/5.

The third set was closer than 6-2 implies. Maria broke for *2-0 on a netcord after three deuces on Zakopalová’s serve, and held for 3-0* after three deuces on her own serve – still not finding a clear way to hurt Zakopalová. Maria broke again for *5-1 after five deuces on Zakopalová’s serve. Maria had her first match-point at *5-1 40/30, but Zakopalová saved it with yet another forehand winner, and Maria surrendered her serve with her 12th double fault. However, she won the match on Zakopalová’s seventh double fault at *2-5 30/40.


First set
ZAKOPALOV _@___@_@*_ 4
SHARAPOVA @_@*@_@__* 6


The match was third on Court Philippe Chatrier, and started at 14:09 CEST.

Zakopalová serving 0-0: Second serve... Maria on the fourth stroke hit a pinpoint crosscourt backhand just inside the sideline, inducing Zakopalová to bunt a one-handed backhand long. 0/15. Zakopalová, on the third stroke, hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. 0/30. A long baseline-rally ended with Maria hitting a raking crosscourt forehand winner into the corner. 0/40 (BP #1). Ace #1: first serve down the middle. 15/40 (BP #2). Zakopalová hit a deep crosscourt forehand just inside the baseline. 30/40 (BP #1). First serve out wide + down-the-line backhand just inside the sideline forced Maria to bunt a defensive forehand lob long. Deuce #1. Zakopalová went for a deep, body-jamming second serve, but Maria’s hard, deep backhand return forced Zakopalová to bunt back a short defensive backhand, enabling Maria to hit an easy down-the-line forehand winner. Ad Sharapova (BP #4). A longish baseline-rally ended with Zakopalová hitting a forehand long. Broken.

The ITV commentators had the following amusing exchange after Zakopalová’s ace at 0/40:
– Amélie Mauresmo: “She’s going to have to hit a lot of those to exist today.”
– Sam Smith: “So, if you lose to Maria Sharapova, you cease to exist on the planet?”

Sharapova serving 1-0: Zakopalová netted a tame forehand. 15/0. Zakopalová’s low-bouncing crosscourt backhand forced Maria to net a backhand. 15/15. Maria, driven wide, hit a crosscourt backhand that clipped the netcord and fell wide. 15/30. Maria’s crosscourt forehand forced a short ball, which she dispatched it with an easy off-forehand winner. 30/30. Deep first serve forced Zakopalová to hit a crosscourt forehand return just wide – Zakopalová looked wistfully after it, for it would have been a winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault #1 (second serve just long). Deuce #1. Zakopalová’s down-the-line forehand shot through on Maria for a winner. Ad Zakopalová (BP #1). Zakopalová hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand winner that clipped the outside edge of the sideline. Broken.

Zakopalová is hitting the ball extremely well, with flairsome power. She’s doing a good job of spreading Maria laterally by hitting crosscourt to alternate sides of the court, and disguising the direction of her shots.

Zakopalová serving 1-1: A meaty baseline-rally ended with Zakopalová hitting a crosscourt backhand just wide. 0/15. Double fault #1 (second serve very long). 0/30. Zakopalová opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit an off-forehand winner. 15/30. Zakopalová ran down a very short dropshot, and pushed an off-backhand wide. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria forehand just long. 30/40 (BP #2). Maria hit a loose backhand long. Deuce #1. Zakopalová forehand long. Ad Sharapova (BP #3). Zakopalová forehand long. Broken.

Sharapova serving 1-2: Zakopalová sprayed a wild forehand return very long. 15/0. Zakopalová went for a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline, but it was wide by a whisker. 30/0. Zakopalová hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand winner back behind Maria, just inside the baseline. 30/15. Zakopalová’s forehand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. 30/30. Maria’s deep forehand induced Zakopalová to bunt a forehand into the net. 40/30 (GP #1). Maria, driven wide to her backhand sideline, ran around her forehand and hit an acute off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. Held.

Maria has too much power and closeness to the lines for Zakopalová now.

Zakopalová serving 1-3: First serve out wide forced Maria to earth a forehand return. 15/0. Maria netted a forehand. 30/0. Maria punished a short 75mph second serve with a deep forehand return-winner down the line. 30/15. First serve down the middle caught the outside edge of the centre-line, forcing Maria to hit a forehand return long. 40/15 (GP #1). Zakopalová hit a loose crosscourt forehand wide. 40/30 (GP #2). Maria’s hard, deep forehand forced a short floater, which she dispatched with a deep crosscourt forehand winner just inside the baseline. Deuce #1. Maria hit a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline, forcing Zakopalová to stretch wide and earth a forehand. Ad Sharapova (BP #1). Second serve... Maria’s short forehand died away on Zakopalová for a winner (the umpire called Zakopalová’s forehand “not up”). Broken.

Amélie Mauresmo: “I think she’s [Maria] improved her movement on clay lately.”

Sharapova serving 4-1: Zakopalová opened up the court and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 0/15. Zakopalová’s deep crosscourt backhand return induced Maria to hit a backhand long. 0/30. Zakopalová punished a short, weak ball with a deep forehand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. 0/40 (BP #1). Maria’s depth induced Zakopalová to hit an early forehand very long. 15/40 (BP #2). Maria hit a deep off-forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Zakopalová to net a backhand. 30/40 (BP #3). Deep first serve induced Zakopalová to hit a forehand return very long. Deuce #1. Zakopalová hit a sweet crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Zakopalová (BP #4). Ace #1: first serve down the middle, on the centre-line. Deuce #2. Double fault #2 (second serve just long). Ad Zakopalová (BP #5). Zakopalová’s acute crosscourt forehand induced Maria to net a forehand. Broken.

Zakopalová serving 2-4: Zakopalová netted a forehand on the third stroke. 0/15. Sharapova netted a forehand. 15/15. Maria’s deep backhand return down the middle induced Zakopalová to net a backhand. 15/30. Zakopalová punished a short ball with a backhand dropshot-winner. 30/30. Zakopalová crosscourt backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #1). 70mph second serve out wide: Maria hit a cheap forehand return long. Deuce #1. Zakopalová’s low-bouncing crosscourt backhand forced Maria to net a backhand. Ad Zakopalová (GP #1). Maria hit a fierce crosscourt backhand return just inside the sideline, forcing Zakopalová to bunt a backhand long. Deuce #2. Maria’s down-the-line backhand forced Zakopalová to net a late backhand. Ad Sharapova (BP #2). Zakopalová netted a backhand return. Held.

The cold conditions favour Zakopalová more than Maria, but Maria is just too strong and disciplined.

Sam Smith: “Sharapova is really applying herself out here in difficult conditions, and she’s really starting to motor now.”

Sharapova serving 5-2 (new balls): Body-jamming first serve induced Zakopalová to hit a forehand return long. 15/0. Zakopalová netted a cheap forehand return. 30/0. Zakopalová handled a deep, high-bouncing ball with an off-forehand winner. 30/15. Deep first serve out wide induced Zakopalová to bunt a backhand return long. 40/15 (SP #1 for Sharapova). First serve out wide: Zakopalová, off-balance, mishit a deep down-the-line forehand return-winner. 40/30 (SP #2 for Sharapova). Zakopalová’s deep backhand return induced Maria to net a backhand. Deuce #1. Zakopalová hit a deep pinpoint off-forehand winner. Ad Zakopalová (BP #1). Zakopalová pounced on a netcord to hit a deep crosscourt backhand, forcing Maria to earth a backhand. Broken.

Zakopalová serving 3-5: Zakopalová backhand just long. 0/15. Maria went to the net, hit a crosscourt backhand... but totally misread Zakopalová’s crosscourt backhand pass-winner. 15/15. Maria netted a forehand return. 30/15. Maria forced a short ball, and hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. 30/30. Zakopalová’s depth induced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Zakopalová’s deep crosscourt forehand induced Maria to hit a forehand long. Held.

Sam Smith: “Why is Maria struggling in these last two games?”
Amélie Mauresmo: “She’s a little bit further back from her baseline, due to the fact that the Czech is reading Maria’s serve and Maria’s game pretty well, and with her speed, she’s able to take the ball early, matching the pace really good. She likes it also, and Maria having a little bit of trouble finding angles to make her move, and put the ball away from her the way she’d like to.”
Sam Smith: “The wind is a great leveller: the lower-ranked player has a better chance, because the better-ranked player can’t play her game.”

Sharapova serving 5-4: Zakopalová hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 15/0. Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 15/15. Maria dominated the rally, but hit a crosscourt forehand just wide. 15/30. Maria forced a short ball, and hit an off-forehand winner. 30/30. Zakopalová’s crosscourt backhand forced Maria to net a backhand. 30/40 (BP #1). Deep first serve induced Zakopalová to hit a forehand long, making this the first break-point that Maria has saved in this match. Deuce #1. Zakopalová hit a wild forehand very long. Ad Sharapova (SP #3). Maria on the third stroke hit a crosscourt forehand that looked wide but apparently caught a piece of the sideline. Sharapova won the first set 6-4 at 15:06 CEST (57m).

According to the commentators, Maria was winning the majority of rallies that had three strokes or fewer, but Zakopalová was winning the majority of rallies that had four strokes or more.


Second set
ZAKOPALOV _@__*@_@_@_@T 7(7)
SHARAPOVA @_@*__@_@_@__ 6(5)


Zakopalová serving 0-0: ITV4 missed the first four points to show a round-up. 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. Zakopalová opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit a hard, deep forehand down the line, forcing Maria to hit a short defensive lob, which Zakopalová dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Zakopalová forehand long. Deuce #1. Zakopalová crosscourt backhand wide. Ad Sharapova (BP #1). Deep first serve down the middle forced Maria to bunt a forehand return long. Deuce #2. Zakopalová hit a powerful pinpoint off-forehand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. Ad Zakopalová (GP #2). Maria hit a fierce forehand down Zakopalová’s forehand sideline, forcing her to net a forehand. Deuce #3. Zakopalová hit a speedy forehand winner down the line – her 13th forehand winner to Maria’s 8. Ad Zakopalová (GP #3). Maria hit a pinpoint off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. Deuce #4. Another first serve out wide + forehand winner down the line forced Maria to earth a backhand. Ad Zakopalová (GP #4). Zakopalová went for a big crosscourt backhand winner to the sideline, but it was just wide. Deuce #5. Maria hit a body-jamming backhand return down the middle, inducing Zakopalová to hit an off-forehand wide. Ad Sharapova (BP #2). Second serve... a neutral baseline-rally ended with Zakopalová dumping a forehand into the net. Broken.

Sharapova serving 1-0: Zakopalová opened up the court with a pinpoint crosscourt forehand to the sideline, and hit a booming forehand winner down the line. 0/15. A longish baseline-rally ended with Maria hitting a forehand long. 0/30. First serve down the middle forced Zakopalová to earth a backhand return. 15/30. Maria netted a backhand. 15/40 (BP #1). Maria hit a deep down-the-line forehand just inside the baseline, forcing Zakopalová to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Maria netted a silly backhand dropshot off a deep ball from Zakopalová. Broken.

Zakopalová serving 1-1: Maria hit a forehand just long. The umpire tried to check the mark, but couldn’t find it, for Zakopalová had apparently erased it with her foot. Maria had a long argument with the umpire while the crowd jeered louder and louder. 15/0. Zakopalová crosscourt backhand wide. 15/15. Maria’s deep forehand forced Zakopalová to net a forehand. 15/30. A longish baseline-rally ended with Maria hitting a forehand long. 30/30. Maria hit a blazing forehand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. 30/40 (BP #1). Zakopalová’s deep sliced backhand into Maria’s backhand corner induced her to net a backhand. Deuce #1. Double fault #2 (second serve just long). Ad Sharapova (BP #2). Maria crosscourt backhand wide. Deuce #2. A deep netcord from Maria pushed Zakopalová back on her heels, inducing her to net a forehand. Ad Sharapova (BP #3). Short second serve out wide: Maria’s searing crosscourt backhand return forced Zakopalová to hit a short defensive backhand, which Maria dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. Broken.

ITV4 left the match for seven minutes to interview Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the studio.

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

Zakopalová serving 1-3: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Zakopalová broke up a hard-hitting rally with a forehand dropshot-winner. Ad Zakopalová (GP #1). Maria, on the fourth stroke, hit a forehand long. Held.

Sharapova serving 3-2: Double fault #4 (second serve into the net). 0/15. Zakopalová ran down a dropshot and hit a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 0/30. Zakopalová dominated the rally, mixed up the pace with a couple of slices, and Maria dumped a backhand into the net. 0/40 (BP #1). Double fault #5 (ambitious second serve just long). Broken.

Zakopalová serving 3-3 (new balls): Maria netted a forehand. 15/0. First serve out wide: Maria hit an off-forehand return-winner just inside the sideline. 15/15. Double fault #4 (second serve long). Zakopalová muttered in Czech. 15/30. Zakopalová hit a backhand long, smacked her left hand with her racket, and looked up at her husband Jan Zakopal. 15/40 (BP #1). Zakopalová dumped a forehand into the net, and looked cross. Broken.

Sharapova serving 4-3: Zakopalová forehand long. 15/0. Double fault #6 (second serve into the net). 15/15. First serve out wide + pinpoint forehand winner down the line. 30/15. A long baseline-rally ended with Zakopalová hitting an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/30. Zakopalová’s deep forehand forced Maria to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. Amélie Mauresmo said that Maria was going for too much from such a deep position, and should just roll it in. 30/40 (BP #1). Zakopalová hit a deep down-the-line forehand winner – her 18th forehand winner. Broken.

Zakopalová serving 4-4: Maria netted a backhand. 15/0. Deep 66mph second serve induced Maria to hit a backhand return very long. 30/0. First serve out wide: Maria used the angle for a blazing crosscourt forehand return-winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. Deep second serve out wide: Maria hit a pinpoint forehand return-winner down Zakopalová’s forehand sideline: just inside the sideline. 30/30. Maria’s crosscourt backhand clipped the netcord and fell wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Ace down the middle – except that the umpire checked the mark and called it wide, so they replayed the point. Maria, driven wide, fell over on her back with her legs in the air as she netted a forehand. Deuce #1. Zakopalová sprayed a wild forehand long and wide, and yelled in frustration. Ad Sharapova (BP #1). A longish baseline-rally ended with Maria netting a forehand. Deuce #2. Body-jamming first serve induced Maria to net a backhand return. Ad Zakopalová (GP #2). Acute crosscourt backhand return + crosscourt forehand forced Zakopalová back on her heels to net a forehand. Deuce #3. Zakopalová hit a forehand just long, and muttered. Ad Sharapova (BP #2). Zakopalová hit a hard crosscourt backhand deep into the corner, forcing Maria to hit a backhand long. Deuce #4. Zakopalová hit a cheap forehand long. Ad Sharapova (BP #3). Zakopalová hit a fantastic backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. Deuce #5. Zakopalová mishit a crosscourt backhand wide. Ad Sharapova (BP #4). Maria hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. Broken.

That could have been the key game of the match. Maria was looking somewhat vulnerable for the first time in this French Open, and could easily have sprained an ankle if her fall at 40/30 had not been so graceful.

Sharapova serving 5-4: Zakopalová netted a backhand. 15/0. Zakopalová hit a booming forehand winner down the line. 15/15. Maria hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/30. Zakopalová’s big off-forehand forced Maria to earth a backhand. Zakopalová pumped her fist. 15/40 (BP #1). First serve into the net. Big second serve forced a very short return, but Maria sprayed an off-forehand wide. Broken.

This match has just passed the two-hour mark.

Amélie Mauresmo: “To break in this match is actually to hold serve.”

Zakopalová serving 5-5: A long baseline-rally ended with Zakopalová hitting a backhand just long. 0/15. Maria ran around her backhand to hit a booming forehand return down Zakopalová’s forehand sideline, clipping the outside edge of the sideline. 0/30. Double fault #5 (second serve wide of the sideline). 0/40 (BP #1). Maria forehand long. 15/40 (BP #2). Zakopalová dominated the rally, forcing a short ball that sat up nicely for her to hit a stinging crosscourt forehand winner. 30/40 (BP #3). Zakopalová’s deep crosscourt backhand forced Maria to hit an early crosscourt backhand wide. Deuce #1. Maria’s crosscourt forehand return forced Zakopalová to run wide and net a forehand. She muttered again. Ad Sharapova (BP #4). Maria punished a short ball with a blazing crosscourt backhand winner. Broken.

Sharapova serving 6-5: Zakopalová spread Maria with a crosscourt forehand + down-the-line forehand, forcing her to hit a backhand long. 0/15. Zakopalová slapped a late forehand into the net, instead of stepping in and taking it early. 15/15. Maria blasted a backhand into the net. 15/30. Double fault #7 (second serve just wide of the sideline). 15/40 (BP #1). Zakopalová hit a forehand just long. 30/40 (BP #2). Zakopalová forced a short ball, and dispatched it with an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. Broken.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Zakopalová/Sharapova):
{*0/0} ITV4 missed this point to show a round-up (Yaroslava Shvedova had just taken the second set off defending champion Lǐ,Nŕ).
{1/0*} A long baseline-rally ended with Maria hitting a pinpoint forehand winner down the line – just inside the sideline – but the umpire thought that Maria had stopped the point to ask the umpire to check a mark, and actually awarded the point to Zakopalová! Zakopalová fell over early in that point, so I think that might have distracted the umpire, who later came down from the high chair after Zakopalová hit a crosscourt forehand onto the sideline on the third-to-last stroke (then Maria and Zakopalová each hit a crosscourt forehand before Maria hit her forehand winner down the line). I think that the umpire might have misread Maria’s lasso forehand as a hand-signal to stop the point.
{2/0*} First serve out wide forced Zakopalová to hit a crosscourt forehand wide.
{*2/1} Maria netted a backhand.
{*3/1} Zakopalová netted a forehand, and gave a wry smile.
{3/2*} Zakopalová netted a forehand.
{3/3*} Zakopalová hit a deep ball down the middle, inducing Maria to hit a backhand long.
{*4/3} Second serve: Maria dumped a backhand return into the net.
{*5/3} Zakopalová pounced on a short, high-bouncing ball to hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline.
{6/3*: SP #1 for Zakopalová} Off a netcord from Zakopalová, Maria hit a crosscourt backhand that looked wide but wasn’t called, forcing Zakopalová to net a backhand.
{6/4*: SP #2 for Zakopalová} Zakopalová slapped a backhand into the top of the net.
{*6/5: SP #3 for Zakopalová} First serve into the net. Second serve: Maria blasted a wild off-forehand return wide. Zakopalová won the second set 7-6 (7/5) at 16:28 CEST (second set 1h22m, match so far 2h19m).

Sam Smith: “She probably feels like smashing her rackets and strangling the umpire.”


Third set
ZAKOPALOV ___*__@_ 2
SHARAPOVA *@*_*@_@ 6


Sharapova serving 0-0: ITV4 missed this point to show a round-up (Shvedova was up a break against Lǐ in the third set). 15/0. Maria sprayed a backhand wide. 15/15. Zakopalová’s deep off-forehand forced Maria to hit a down-the-line backhand long. 15/30. First serve out wide + off-forehand winner back behind Zakopalová. 30/30. Maria forced a very short lob, which she dispatched with an easy forehand smash-winner. 40/30 (GP #1). Zakopalová netted a forehand return. Held.

Zakopalová serving 0-1: Double fault #6 (second serve into the net). Zakopalová yelled. 0/15. Zakopalová’s low-bouncing sliced backhand forced Maria to bend her knees and net a forehand. 15/15. Zakopalová hit a down-the-line forehand winner. Maria swished her racket in frustration, which is very unusual for her. 30/15. Maria hit a blazing forehand return-winner down Zakopalová’s forehand sideline. 30/30. Maria hit a roaring forehand return-winner down the other line. 30/40 (BP #1). Body-jamming serve forced Maria to bunt a forehand lob-return, which Zakopalová dispatched with a high forehand drive-volley winner down Maria’s forehand sideline. Deuce #1. Zakopalová netted a forehand. Ad Sharapova (BP #2). Maria sprayed a forehand long. Deuce #2. Zakopalová hit a forehand winner down the line – her 25th forehand winner. Ad Zakopalová (GP #1). Second serve... Zakopalová netted a backhand, and Maria said “c’mon”. Deuce #3. Maria’s depth forced Zakopalová to bunt a backhand long as she lost her footing. Ad Sharapova (BP #3). Maria’s crosscourt backhand return clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. Broken.

Sharapova serving 2-0 (new balls): First serve: Zakopalová hit a deep crosscourt forehand return onto the baseline, forcing Maria to bunt a backhand long. 0/15. First serve down the middle forced Zakopalová to stretch wide and net a forehand return. 15/15. Maria’s big forehand down the line forced Zakopalová to bunt a sliced backhand into the net. 30/15. Double fault #8 (second serve into the net). 30/30. Maria’s depth induced Zakopalová to bunt a backhand long. 40/30 (GP #1). Double fault #9 (second serve just long). Deuce #1. Second-serve let... Maria caught her toss... a tense baseline-rally ended with Zakopalová hitting a forehand long. Ad Sharapova (GP #2). Zakopalová’s depth forced Maria to bunt a backhand long. Deuce #2. Double fault #10 (second serve long). Ad Zakopalová (BP #1). Maria’s depth induced Zakopalová to bunt a sliced backhand into the top of the net. Deuce #3. Zakopalová hit a wild backhand very long, and emitted a high-pitched squeal. Ad Sharapova (GP #3). Maria hit a pinpoint backhand virtual winner down the line. Held.

As Maria struggled through that last service-game, Amélie Mauresmo said: “She’s not finding a clear way to hurt the Czech.”

Zakopalová serving 0-3: Maria netted a backhand. 0/15. Maria hit a down-the-line backhand winner back behind Zakopalová. 0/30. Maria netted a forehand. 15/30. A netcord from Zakopalová induced Maria to hit a crosscourt backhand long and wide. 30/30. Maria hit an ambitious down-the-line backhand return just wide. 40/30 (GP #1). Maria hit a backhand winner down the line. Deuce #1. Zakopalová’s depth induced Maria to bunt a backhand long. Ad Zakopalová (GP #1). Deep first serve induced Maria to net a forehand return. Held.

Sharapova serving 3-1: ITV4 missed this point to show Shvedova’s match-point against Lǐ (which, I must admit, put as big a smile on my face as it did on Shvedova’s). 15/0. First serve: Zakopalová hit a down-the-line backhand return wide. 30/0. Maria, driven wide, hit a crosscourt forehand would-be winner wide by a whisker. 30/15. Double fault #11 (second serve into the net). 30/30. Maria hit a down-the-line backhand winner just inside the sideline. 40/30 (GP #1). Zakopalová hit a wild forehand long. Held.

Zakopalová serving 1-4: Maria hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 0/15. Maria hit a down-the-line backhand long. 15/15. First serve out wide + forehand winner down the line – Zakopalová’s 29th forehand winner. 30/15. Zakopalová hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 40/15 (GP #1). Maria’s deep forehand return shot through on Zakopalová, forcing her to earth a forehand. 40/30 (GP #2). Zakopalová netted a backhand. Deuce #1. Zakopalová went to the net, but her short off-backhand gave Maria an easy forehand pass-winner up the line. Ad Sharapova (BP #1). Zakopalová’s depth forced Maria to hit a down-the-line backhand wide. Deuce #2. Maria hit a forehand return long. Ad Zakopalová (GP #3). Zakopalová netted a forehand. Deuce #3. Maria hit a backhand just long. Ad Zakopalová (GP #4). Second serve out wide: Maria hit a scorching acute-angled crosscourt backhand return, forcing Zakopalová to net a backhand. Deuce #4. Zakopalová, hitting the ball sweetly again, hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. Sam Smith: “It’s become a routine event, her finding this shot.” Ad Zakopalová (GP #5). Zakopalová, on the third stroke, slapped a cheap forehand into the net. Deuce #5. Zakopalová went for an ambitious off-forehand winner to the sideline, but it was just wide. Ad Sharapova (BP #2). Maria forced a floater, stepped forward and hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner. Broken.

They’ve now been playing for three hours, which is longer than Maria’s first three matches combined.

Sharapova serving 5-1: Zakopalová slapped a forehand into the net, and looked up in despair. 15/0. Zakopalová punished Maria’s lack of depth with an off-forehand winner. 15/15. Zakopalová netted a backhand. 30/15. Maria caught her second-serve toss... a meaty baseline-rally ended with Zakopalová hitting a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. 30/30. Ace #3: first serve down the middle. 40/30 (MP #1 for Sharapova). A long baseline-rally ended with Zakopalová hitting an off-forehand winner. Zakopalová’s depth induced Maria to mishit an off-forehand just wide. She asked the umpire to check the mark, and the umpire confirmed it. Ad Zakopalová (BP #1). Double fault #12 (second serve long). Broken.

Zakopalová serving 2-5: Maria slapped a forehand into the net. 15/0. Maria whipped a crosscourt forehand winner back behind Zakopalová. 15/15. Maria hit a deep, hard crosscourt forehand return, forcing Zakopalová to bunt a forehand wide right. 15/30. Maria hit a backhand long. 30/30. Zakopalová netted a forehand, prompting a loud reaction from the crowd. 30/40 (MP #2 for Sharapova). Double fault #7 (second serve into the net). Sharapova won 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 at 17:20 CEST (third set 52m, match 3h11m).


Maria’s press-conference

The following excerpt from Maria’s press-conference was televised in ITV4’s highlights-show:

“The conditions were difficult, so it was a good test for me. You know, I had chances to finish it in two sets, and I didn’t, but I came out strong in the third set, and I guess that’s really what matters, and nice to be in the quarters again.


Maria’s ITV interview

Interviewer: “Maria, I wanna do top ones. Favourite person in your contacts on your phone.”

Maria: “Oh, my mother. I talk to her all the time, and she’s been travelling with me a little bit, so thank goodness I haven’t had a very expensive bill lately! Talking to my fiancé is more expensive, but not so much with my mother.”

[This was when Maria was engaged to Sasha Vujačić.]

Interviewer: “Favourite song on your iPod.”

Maria: “Right now, it’s Florence and the Machine, ‘Never Let Me Go’.”

Interviewer: “Favourite item in your handbag.”

Maria: “My handbag... my Samsung phone. I mean: I’m on the phone all the time – it’s a no-brainer!

Interviewer: “Bought it placement so good.”

Maria: “Favourite title I won... well, always will be Wimbledon, yes.”

Interviewer: “Top dish that you like to eat.”

Maria: “Russian borscht: soup.”

Interviewer: “Favourite party ever.”

Maria: “Favourite party ever... I hope it will be my wedding, yeah.”

Interviewer: “And last one: your favourite dream.”

Maria: “Favourite dream... oh, I don’t know; dreams are just all over the map. But my favourite one: whenever I’m on the beach... those are good to wake up to, except you wake up and you’re back in reality!

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
__________________
My Eternal Fanship: 1. Monica Seles; 2. Мария Шарапова (‘Maria Sharapova’); 3. Daniela Hantuchová; 4. Jelena Dokić; 5. Iva Majoli; 6. Karina Habšudová; 7. Вера Звонарёва (‘Vera Zvonarëva’); 8. Nicole Vaidišová; 9. Анна Чакветадзе (‘Anna Chakvetadze’); 10. Lucie Šafářová; 11. Ирода Туляганова (‘Iroda Tulyaganova’); 12. Magdaléna Rybáriková; 13. Sabine Lisicki
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