Sep 1st, 2006, 01:32 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Sharapova overpowers Loit to advance
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Third-seeded Maria Sharapova pulverised French veteran Emilie Loit of France 6-0 6-1 on Thursday to cruise into the third round of the U.S. Open.
The 19-year-old Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion and an Open semi-finalist last year, took only 52 minutes to dispatch the 27-year-old Loit, who seemed to have no weapons to threaten the Russian.
Loit was credited with just one winner in the second-round match, coming on a forehand that crawled over the netcord to save a match point in the final game.
The 67th-ranked Loit was one of the last players to leave the tennis center on Wednesday night after staying late to finish her third-set tiebreaker against compatriot Camille Pin.
She looked lost from the start against Sharapova, who made only two unforced errors in the opening set.
The one sour note for Sharapova was from the service line as she matched the seven aces she registered with seven double faults, including five in the only game she lost after winning the first 10 games of the match.
"I hit three aces and go up 40-love in that game," Sharapova explained.
"Then I try to hit a second serve ace and then I missed another first serve and I just started thinking, and then I made another double fault.
"But, you know, you live and learn."
Sharapova will next meet compatriot Elena Likhovtseva, the 32nd seed, who beat Australian Nicole Pratt on Thursday to advance.
The Russian teenager said she felt fit and confident, a combination she said was key to making a grand slam title run.
"I haven't really come into a tournament feeling, until now, feeling great," Sharapova said.
"I've either had an injury coming in or I haven't had enough matches. This time I really feel like I'm coming in with confidence.
"I did play a lot of matches a couple of weeks ago. I feel healthy. I've realised, even though I haven't had a long career, that being healthy is probably the most important thing."
Sep 1st, 2006, 01:59 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Maria's interview after the 1st Round:
An interview with: MARIA SHARAPOVA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That was a pretty devastating display of serving out there.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. I'd rather hear what you have to say about your quickness around the court tonight?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I've been training pretty well the last week. But after having a couple days where you're not able to practice probably as much as you want to, you know, couldn't practice yesterday, couldn't practice two days ago. So, you know, that was a little bit different actually before a Grand Slam. I've never really even at Wimbledon, I've never really had that.
Going into tonight, I just wanted to make sure I warmed up really well, was moving around. That was going to be one of the most important thing against someone you don't really know, is just to play your game. I've been hitting them well. It's just a matter of going out there, figuring out as early as possible what I had to do.
Q. Is that fresh legs after two weeks off out there tonight, or are you really that much quicker than you were earlier in the year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, it's hard to judge my quickness based on this match. I don't think we had too many long rallies. But in the first set, I served pretty well. She was hitting some pretty big second serves, and I couldn't really get, you know, a clear rhythm out there. But in the second set I definitely felt like there were longer points and I found my rhythm a little bit better.
Q. That was about as perfect a first round that you played at a Slam, too.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. You can't have too many complaints.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, no. I mean, it was definitely a good start, but it's only gonna get tougher from here. You know, just got to rest up and be ready for tomorrow, you know.
Q. Do you like having to play a player who might be a threat in the first round just because it forces you to focus early on?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, either way, I'm usually pretty focused because. I mean, I've had opponents I mean, San Diego first round was a really good example. An opponent I've never heard of before. She came out in the first set and just played some pretty good tennis. And that's you know, you don't expect that from lower ranked player. But when they come out and they play against someone that's, you know, top 10 in the world, they come out and they're free. They can just play some good tennis.
She's definitely been playing really well this year, so I knew I had to expect some good points.
Q. The women's draw seems so wide open right now. Kim not being here. Serena having a wildcard. Do you feel like this is your year, this is your time?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, well, we can't say that it's pretty wide open draw just because Kim is not here. You know, still pretty tough. You still have most of the top players playing. Uhm, but, you know, I can't worry about how wide open or not open it is. All I have to do is just concentrate on my next round.
Q. I mean confidence wise, do you feel like your confidence
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Like I said, one is I'm healthy, that's the most important thing. I haven't felt healthy coming into a Grand Slam in a while. And I've, you know, gotten some good matches behind my back. I got a title a couple weeks ago. Yeah, I mean, that's a definitely confidence booster.
Q. In terms of movement on the court, bone bruises gone, shoulder's fine, what can you do now that you couldn't do earlier in the year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, I definitely couldn't train as much on the court. I couldn't play that many, you know, matches leading into big tournaments. I mean, I tried to do all the things possible. I tried to do all things possible when I was injured, you know, whether with the shoulder I couldn't serve a lot but I was still, you know, getting it stronger. You know, with the bone bruise I really couldn't put a lot of pressure on it for quite some time, quite a few weeks. So it was more like bike workouts and all that, you know, without actually running.
But, I mean, I've been able, you know before San Diego, after Wimbledon, I was concentrating on my fitness, you know, quite a lot. It was more important than my tennis for a week, you know. I was doing more of that than hitting the ball. I definitely think that's, you know, going to help me in the future.
Q. Are you expecting a call?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: With my phone? It's just a natural habit. I can't live without a phone.
Q. Can you talk about the dress. You hinted that you have a different fashion for J Wear.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, yeah, I was. The whole inspiration for the night dress was Audrey Hepburn. I'm really inspired by her. I'm in a phase where I'm like watching all her movies. I haven't seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's" since like three weeks ago, then I saw "Roman Holiday," then I read some books about her. That's where the inspiration came off. It's classy, it's elegant. I love the neck of it. That was kind of my input towards the design. Yeah, all the crystals and everything. But, yeah, I'm very excited. It's one of my favorite dresses that I've ever worn. It's pretty cool. The day dress is a little different.
Q. And that's all?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Huh?
Q. No preview besides that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: The day dress?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, it's not as exciting as the night dress, I'll tell you that. But it's kind of a lavender color, has some lace mesh material.
Q. How do you feel about being in New York? Do you get more energy off the buzz, or does it wear you down?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I personally love New York, and I love it even with every year I come back, I love it. First time I came here I was 11 or 12 years old, I couldn't understand anything about it. I didn't understand the hype. As I've been coming back, it's become one of my favorite cities. Just so much going on in each little town, has its own feel. That's pretty amazing going to Times Square, then going to Upper Eastside, it's crazy.
Q. Your serving today was up around 80%.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah.
Q. Was it one of those nights where you felt, I can do anything with my serve I want to?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I actually didn't think I was hitting my serve big but I was placing it really well. That was I mean, like I said, with me, I think that's a big key for me, is consistently placing it, you know, placing it where, you know, I come up to the line and I know that I can place it there. I don't really think about how hard I'm going to hit it.
Q. Ten aces.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, that was probably one of the best service displays I've had in my career.
Q. What draws you to Audrey Hepburn? Why do you find her intriguing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know. I was in Anthropology I'll be honest with you. I was in Anthropology a couple months ago. I love all their books. I picked one book up about her and I read it. Yeah, I just thought that she was amazing. I didn't realize what she just did. She was just an actress, but, I mean, she was part of UNICEF, an ambassador for UNICEF, all the things she did for children in her life. She never expected to be the best at what she was, but she always put that effort in. Yeah, I just started watching her movies and reading about her. I go through phases. I'll be in another phase next month.
Q. You're in your Holly Go Lightly phase right now?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, yeah. We'll see what it is in a couple months.
Q. I'm from Chile. They have announced you couple of years that you are going to play there. Do you have any plans about going to Chile really?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not currently, no. Not currently, no. As an exhibition?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Not currently, no, I don't.
Q. Only blip, you had two or three games in the first set where your service returning was not what you wanted. Are you concerned about that?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it was just at the beginning, I just couldn't quite figure out I think her motion. She had missed the first serve, and I would try to put some pressure on her second but she came out with some serves that were probably 95 miles per hour second serves, which were pretty tough to attack. But I figured out I need to stand back a little bit more, maybe make her hit a ball, whereas I was just making the error on the return.
I mean, as the matches go on, as I play more, I'll definitely improve on that.
Q. I'm sure you can understand that there's a buzz in the tennis world about whether you and Andy are a couple. I was wondering if you could say if you guys are dating. If so, did you buy him a birthday gift today.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Is it his birthday? I had no idea. I have no idea.
You know what, I really don't talk about my personal life. And, you know, when two tennis players know each other and are friends, and are known around the world, there's people are gonna talk. That's exactly what's happening.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports...
Sep 1st, 2006, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Q. Pretty easy out there?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it was, and so I had a little bit of a choke game (laughing). Second set.
No, I was really solid. I served well again, you know, until the one game. Tried to finish it off and hit a big second serve, and then ended up hitting a couple of double faults.
But other than that, yeah, I felt pretty good out there.
Q. Your serve is feeling particularly good for you right now, or is it all aspects of your game?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, the serve has been good the last couple of matches. You know, I've been holding pretty easily.
But, no, overall, I mean, the points that I have got an opportunity to rally then I definitely feel like I am moving well and taking the opportunities when I get them.
Q. Do the double fault come from trying for too much on the second serve?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I hit three aces and go up 40 Love. Then I try to hit a second serve ace and then I missed another first serve and I just started thinking, and then I made another double fault.
But, you know, you live and learn.
Q. You're facing Elena in the next round. Can you talk about her a little bit. Can you also perhaps comment about the great showing of this Russian contingent.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I haven't played Elena in quite a while, but she's a pretty solid player. You know, matches I've had with her have been pretty, pretty tough. I mean, I don't know how she's been I don't really know her.
I haven't seen her play in the last couple of months, but, I mean, this is a Grand Slam. I'm sure she wants to win just as much as I do. Yeah, I got to take it as another tough match.
But it's definitely really good to see, you know, the Russians doing well. I mean, we've had a really good year this year. '04 was one of the best for our country. Hopefully, uhm, hopefully we'll finish it off in a good way this year.
Q. I picked up the New York Times this morning. Great picture of you in the sports picture. Picture of you on page 2. Another ad on page 10. How are you balancing this?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's not really my choice to put myself on the cover of the New York Times sports section. I don't really have a lot of control over those things. The only thing I have control over is my tennis racquet when I'm on the court. That's all I worry about, you know.
I love doing the things that I do off court. I enjoy them. They're fun opportunities, you know, for my career. But my passion is still on the court. That's why I can balance both things.
Q. I'm doing a documentary on the history of Argentinian tennis. Do you remember Gabriela Sabatini? I know you never played her.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No.
Q. What are your thoughts about her?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I didn't really see her play a lot, so I can't really judge on, you know, too much on her. But, I mean, she's done great things for the game. She's also had a pretty balanced career. She did a lot of -- she was a great athlete, but also great as spokesperson for the sport.
Other than that, I don't really know I mean, I've actually never met her before.
Q. Some of the players on the tour now, though, Argentine players?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I don't know too many personally. But Paola Suarez, she's had pretty good results in her career. She beat me in the quarters of the French.
But the men are doing well, as well.
Q. Who do you match up better with, Mauresmo or Henin Hardenne?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: As in matchup? As in have a better match?
Q. Who gives you more problems? Who gives you fewer?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think they're pretty different.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: They have different styles of games, and it really depends on what court you play on, I think.
Q. Here, for instance.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I don't know. It's tough to say. You know, it just depends on how you're playing, what you think you're capable of, you know, your confidence. I mean, there's so many things that go into that. It's not just about how they're playing, yeah.
Q. Is there a key to your game that needs to click in strong for you to be able to win at the Open this year?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, I mean, at every tournament it's pretty much the same, you know. Like I said, I haven't really come into a tournament feeling until now feeling great. You know, I've always had some I've either had an injury coming in or I haven't had enough matches. This time I really feel like I'm coming in, you know, with confidence.
I did play a lot of matches a couple weeks ago. I feel healthy. At this point, I mean, I've realized, even though I haven't had a long career, that being healthy is probably the most important thing. You know, wins and losses, yes, they're great and bad. But at the end of the day, that's not really what life is about.
Q. What's the best you ever felt on a court? Of all the matches you've played where everything was working real good, just the best you've ever felt on a court?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: There was never a match where you feel you've you did everything right. I mean, I've, you know I've had matches where I felt like I played really good tennis and still lost them, you know. So it's hard to say.
I mean, on grass, probably I feel like I play more, you know, more the "perfect" match in a way. The court is fast. You don't get to play that long of a point. If you're serving and returning well, you know the points are short and you feel like, yeah, you get the job done.
Q. Moving away from tennis, getting back to the fashion sense, the black clothes, the black around your wrist, you kind of played up the lavender dress today. It's very different from the black Audrey Hepburn dress. The little flower, ventilation. What was the thinking?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, yeah.
Q. You're inspiring a lot of people now.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I am? That's good to know (laughing).
Well, the day dress, the back of the dress, it started at Wimbledon. The ventilation thing where the flower opens, that kind of debuted at Wimbledon. Nike wanted to carry that technology over to this tournament.
I wanted to incorporate lace in the US Open dress. They came out with a mesh material that resembles lace. It basically feels like lace. They added that.
And the colors, it's a little different compared to the night dress, so it gives you a little bit of that English, you know, bruncheon feel.
Q. Earlier you said still the most important is tennis, and that's in your career. So is this what tennis stars need to do, they need to kind of have this fashion statement?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, I think everyone's different. Everyone has their own personal feel and what they want to wear and how they want to feel on court. I mean, I've worked with Nike for many years.
I mean, I love clothes designing with them and giving them my ideas into what I want to wear because they want me to feel comfortable in what I'm wearing. It's a pretty fun collaboration that we have.
When I go on court, I'm sure not just me, but everyone wants to feel confident and feel good about what they're wearing. Little girls, you know, women, anyone. I mean, you don't want to feel bad when you're on court. You don't want to feel uncomfortable with what you're wearing. Yeah, that's the goal with everything that I wear.
Q. On the men's side, which Argentine player do you think has a promising future?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, God. This is like a pop quiz on Argentina. I don't really know. I don't watch I don't concentrate on certain countries and their players. It's hard for me to judge someone, whereas if I really knew their game or knew them as a person, I would give you an honest opinion. But I really can't.
Q. Serena just beat Hantuchova. I'm just wondering, considering how little she's played, do you consider her a real threat to possibly win this tournament?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, you can never underestimate her with all her achievements and what she's done. If she's playing the tournament, she's definitely ready to play it. You know, I mean, you can't let's see. Until I play her and see how she's playing, then I can't really give you an opinion.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports...
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The consulting room
Maria said she was trying to serve a 2nd serve Ace on the first game point.
Sabine Lisicki, Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva,
Victoria Azarenka, Dinara Safina, Maria Kirilenko
Nadia Petrova, Samantha Stosur, Ana Ivanovic.
0026..Eternal follower of the Golden Girl .... Official Political Advisor to the Maria Mafia.
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