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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 02:20 AM   #1
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Andrew's WTA Tour Championships reports

Preview

The Sorting Hat has announced its verdicts:

BLACK GROUP {
Maria Sharapova
Vera Zvonareva
Svetlana Kuznetsova
Amélie Mauresmo
}

RED GROUP {
Anastasia Myskina
Elena Dementieva
Serena Williams
Lindsay Davenport
}

Each player plays the other three in her group (the round-robin stage). The winner of each group plays the runner-up of the opposite group in the semi-finals on Sunday. The final is on Monday.


Maria has a very tough draw, on top of being injured. She has until Thursday night to recover from her right-shoulder strain before she takes on Vera Zvonareva in a mouthwatering match that I hope will be repeated in the final!

It will be Maria and Vera's fourth meeting, all of which have taken place in 2004. Vera won 7-6 6-2 in the semi-finals at Memphis in February, going on to win her only singles title of the year. Maria got her revenge in the third round of the French Open, 6-3 7-6. Vera outlasted Maria 4-6 6-4 6-4 in the third round of Montréal to give herself a 2-1 lead in their head-to-heads.

Maria is 0-2 against Svetlana Kuznetsova - the only player ever to beat her in the women's singles at Wimbledon, 6-1 2-6 7-5 in the fourth round in 2003. The US Open champion also did the dirty on Maria in the semi-finals at Beijing this year, 6-2 6-2. Revenge for Maria would be sweet indeed.

Maria has never played Amélie Mauresmo before, and it would be sweet also if Maria could emphasise that the best player in the world is the Wimbledon champion, not one who was world number one without ever winning a Grand Slam title. Maria should certainly have the edge in mental strength over the bottler that is Mauresmo; unfortunately Maria is injured while Mauresmo is in top form.

I hope to God I will be proved wrong, but I have a nasty feeling that Maria is going to lose all three of her round-robin matches (assuming she is fit to play them all), and that Vera is going to lose to everyone except Maria.

It would have been better for Maria to be in the Red Group with Elena Dementieva (against whom she is 3-1 in head-to-heads) and Serena Williams who probably still thinks about that Wimbledon final every day, and might also find it difficult to play against Maria for another reason:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news?slu...v=ap&type=lgns


Here's the order of play for the first two days:
(PST = GMT - 8 hours)

Wednesday 10th November 2004 (start 18:30 PST = Thursday 02:30 GMT)
1. Vera Zvonareva v Amélie Mauresmo
2. Anastasia Myskina v Serena Williams (20:00 PST)
3. Elena Dementieva v Lindsay Davenport

Thursday 11th November 2004 (start 18:30 PST)
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova v Amélie Mauresmo
2. Maria Sharapova v Vera Zvonareva (20:00 PST = Friday 04:00 GMT)
3. Elena Dementieva v Serena Williams

So, shall I stay up till 6am or get up for 4am to follow live scores? It's worse than the Australian Open!

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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 03:17 AM   #2
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Hey Andrew
They've changed the schedule on you
I also think Maria is in the good group, where she avoids a couple of the real big hitters which is good considering the condition her shoulder is in.
Some interesting comments from Serena there too - "Serena says Maria is sexy"
They seem to have been able to avoid each other pretty well since Wimby - but a SF battle here would be huge
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 04:45 AM   #3
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Well, Kuznetsova is a BIG hitter. I agree with Andrew's fears. Maria could end up being shut out here, although with this girl, we always never know.

I hope she wins the title, but she needs to get to the final to do that. And that is the hard part.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 05:19 AM   #4
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Well 1 BIG hitter in the Black group versus 3 in the Red Group is a better draw for Maria
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 05:26 AM   #5
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Maria is a very big hitter in her own right and can match it with the best of them in the power department She likes to play against other big hitters i think she will have most problems with Mauresmo because of her variety based game that Maria does not like to play against.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 05:45 AM   #6
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What I was getting at Andrew is that playing against BIG hitters requires a lot of big hitting in order to win and with her shoulder no where near 100% that could mean a problem if there are too many drawn out sets against the more powerful players.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 06:01 AM   #7
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I get what your saying now Dan sorry for the Mix up
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 06:31 AM   #8
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If they swapped Masha and Nasty, Masha would be in a group where she has a winning record over everyone
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 06:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonskin
If they swapped Masha and Nasty, Masha would be in a group where she has a winning record over everyone
I agree. In another thread, I wished she was in the Red group.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 10:49 PM   #10
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Maria blames balls for injury / Revised LA schedule

Maria has blamed her recent chest- and shoulder-injuries on the heavy Tretorn balls used on the WTA Tour, and wants these balls to be withdrawn from the WTA Tour Championships at Los Angeles.

"I'm sure the WTA doesn't want anyone to get injured," she said.

But Tour-spokesman Darrell Fry said, "There's no correlation at all between player injuries and Tretorn balls."


The WTA has changed (or corrected) the order of play from that which I originally posted, such that Maria now plays Svetlana Kuznetsova first:

(PST = GMT - 8 hours)

Wednesday 10th November 2004 (start 18:30 PST = Thursday 02:30 GMT)
1. Vera Zvonareva v Svetlana Kuznetsova
2. Anastasia Myskina v Serena Williams (20:00 PST)
3. Elena Dementieva v Lindsay Davenport

Thursday 11th November 2004 (start 18:30 PST)
1. Vera Zvonareva v Amélie Mauresmo
2. Maria Sharapova v Svetlana Kuznetsova (20:00 PST = Friday 04:00 GMT)
3. Elena Dementieva v Serena Williams

Davai Maria i Vera!

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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 11:37 PM   #11
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If it is proven that Maria is having those problems because of the balls then they should not be used. Good Luck day 2 Masha
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 11:44 PM   #12
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Andrew Masha isn't on today... It's still Wednesday in the U.S.A
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 12:07 AM   #13
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Yep Wednesdays matches start in an hour and a half...
geez these Americans are miles behind...
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 12:20 AM   #14
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I know eh... faaaar out.

It's nearly 12:30pm Thursday in Sydney, and they're still an hour away from starting Wednesday's matches!!!
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 02:33 AM   #15
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I don't know if it's more due to Maria's hitting that she's sore and strained. I hate to go opposite everybody here, but so far, only Vera has agreed with her. Maybe it's just a case of the other players pouncing on a crippled opponent by intentionally not backing her up, but I can't ignore that no other player has echoed Maria's complaint.

many experts predicted during the summer that Roddick would run into shoulder, wrist and elbow problems down the road due to the severity of his hitting. Well, that's exactly what happened in Bangkok, when he couldn't put up a decent fight against Federer. I think the same is happening to Maria.

She needs to really rest for a while.
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