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View Poll Results: More impressive title run?

STUTTGART 2012 29 82.86%
STUTTGART 2013 6 17.14%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Apr 28th, 2013, 07:21 PM   #1
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More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

Stuttgart 2012 remains my favorite Maria tournament, just in terms of performance, since the shoulder surgery. Her overall play throughout was, I thought, her best in the past 5 years. Her serve was on fire that week. And the level of competition was impressive. Defeating 3 top 10 players, who were all playing well, in a row was a great accomplishment. Coming back from match point down against Stosur to win was a huge moment not just in that match and tournament, but in Maria’s season. It propelled her to the final where she met her early 2012 nemesis, Vika. Her season could have gone downhill with a 4th straight finals loss. But Maria really elevated her game to an amazing level to crush the Extremely Injured Azarenka to win the title, starting her on her clay run.

This year’s Stuttgart certainly had a different feel. Maria’s game wasn’t as sharp as in 2012’s tourney. There were some rough patches in the first 3 rounds especially, but I loved watching her compete again and again in the face of adversity. On paper, going through Stosur/Kvitova/Azarenka looks more impressive than this year’s run. But I was amazed at how well Lucie, Ana, Angie, and Li all played collectively. They all brought their “A” game or close to it and never let up for a second against Maria. She really had to dig deep to earn the victories.

So maybe I’m being prisoner of the moment, but the drama of this year’s Stuttgart and seeing Maria play 9 hours of tennis over 4 straight days and overcoming so much to raise the trophy and win the car was a little more gratifying and rewarding to watch compared to last year. Amazing stuff.
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Old Apr 28th, 2013, 08:15 PM   #2
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

I thought Maria's training and focus in 2012, was to obliterate any of the cow on ice stuff....and her approach was to be slightly thinner and quicker.....it worked for her. Mission accomplished.

This year, she might or might not weigh the same, but her body looks stronger....I believe her overall focus for 2013 is a bit more on beating Serena, hopefully in a grand slam final. There have been embarrassing appearances against her, and Maria would not admit it, but I believe with a grand slam title in all four, of course there is the desire for many more.....but beginning to alter the career story against Serena has to be a key goal. Her physical condition this year looks to me better than I have ever seen. It was not quite 100 percent on thursday.....after three triple sets...she had played herself back to where she is best....not many players can do that....the conventional wisdom was that she would be worn out today. Not the way it works with Maria.
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 03:32 AM   #3
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I'd say in this season you know what to expect from Maria on clay given her success last year. I've seen better movement and defence this year and especially in the final three were lots of shots that Li would have nailed them had she been the old Maria but she kept keeping the balls back with depth and pace which made Li think a lot more to where to hit the shots. Hence, she lost. However there has been some inconsistencies in her serve rhythm which I hope she can fix it for the outdoor clay tournaments as it can only be harder to tackle with.


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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 04:11 AM   #4
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

2012 for sure. Remember before that tournament Maria hadn't won a title in about 8 months, and She defeated 3 consecutive GrandSlam Champion in a row (Wim 11, US 11, AO 12)...
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 02:50 PM   #5
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

2012 for sure. I think it gave her the confidence and belief that she would win a slam again - She beat the reigning Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open Champions consecutively and she turned her finals record around having lost at the AO, IW and Miami.
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 03:15 PM   #6
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

Yes, I really do feel that last year's Stuttgart was one of the most significant tournament wins in Maria's entire career.
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 03:16 PM   #7
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

if you are going to talk about what happened after stuttgart to make the case for 2012.....wait and see what happens next, good and/or bad, for the proper perspective on 2013.
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 04:04 PM   #8
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

I think Stuttgart 2012. it was her first title in 2012 and she managed to beat Aza finally.
Though this win is based on that incredible contrast of erratic and great tennis. So unbelievable evolution!
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 04:46 PM   #9
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nelsondan View Post
I thought Maria's training and focus in 2012, was to obliterate any of the cow on ice stuff....and her approach was to be slightly thinner and quicker.....it worked for her. Mission accomplished.

This year, she might or might not weigh the same, but her body looks stronger....I believe her overall focus for 2013 is a bit more on beating Serena, hopefully in a grand slam final. There have been embarrassing appearances against her, and Maria would not admit it, but I believe with a grand slam title in all four, of course there is the desire for many more.....but beginning to alter the career story against Serena has to be a key goal. Her physical condition this year looks to me better than I have ever seen. It was not quite 100 percent on thursday.....after three triple sets...she had played herself back to where she is best....not many players can do that....the conventional wisdom was that she would be worn out today. Not the way it works with Maria.
This is a great post and I totally agree that Maria's No. 1 goal in 2013 is to beat Serena, preferably at Wimbledon Final; if not, USO Final.

Her training this year has been geared to get her stronger, so that strength-wise she is on par with Serena. Then, she can proceed to beat Serena with her more tenacious ground strokes.

Her mission is partly completed by taking a set from Serena at Miami Final. I can't wait for them to meet again because my money will be on Maria.
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 05:28 PM   #10
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

I think Stuttgart 2013 was more impressive actually cause she showed that even when she's not in perfect physical shape she can go through a tough draw and beat her nemesis in the final in straights. Even though the quality of opponents she's faced 2012 is definitely more impressive but this year she played with the pressure of defending her clay queen reputation from the get go. Imagine if she'd lost to Safarova .
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Old Apr 29th, 2013, 05:31 PM   #11
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

Easily 2012.
Not just because of the quality of her opponents, but also because of her own excellent tennis.

This year was also quite special. Beat two top ten players and two former Roland Garros champions to claim the title. Not to mention she played 3 matches that went to the final set.
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Old Apr 30th, 2013, 07:43 PM   #12
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

Not even a question... last year. She beat three legit players in a row. This year was more of a struggle, but it was nice to see her beat Li Na rather handily.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 05:07 AM   #13
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

2012 no doubt. Not only because of who she beat, but because it came out of buttfuck nowhere
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Old May 1st, 2013, 02:42 PM   #14
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

Well, based on these results, this was a really stupid poll question to ask, so I apologize for putting it out there.

But I still want to at least try to make a case that Maria's last 3 opponents this year compare pretty favorably to last year's final 3.

Even though Stosur was ranked in the top 10 at the time, Sam is a player Maria has pretty much owned for her career and she's been inconsistent and prone to mental breakdowns. Was she really that great of an opponent? Now, looking at Ivanovic, she's slowly been getting better and better lately and clay is her best surface. She's won a French, unlike Sam, and she beat Maria at RG in 2007. I realize the Ana of that time is long gone, but she's been dangerous lately.

Then you have the semis from 2012 and 2013. I know Petra has that power game of hers that can always do damage, but is she really that dangerous on clay? At that point, her game was already deteriorating from her 2011 stellar form. It was a pretty tough 2-setter, but I think Maria was the clear favorite on this surface against her. And there's no doubt, when you look at the past 12 months, Kerber has been the far better player compared to Petra. Angelique beat Maria on clay last year at the Paris Open. And then you have the added advantage in Stuttgart of Angie playing in front of her home crowd to make things tougher on Maria.

Finally, the title matches. No doubt, Vika was such a huge match for Maria, not just physically, but psychologically. After those embarrassments in Melbourne and IW, Maria had to have been feeling a huge weight and pressure on her shoulders. And to see her defeat Vika so easily was one of my favorite Maria matches ever. But we are talking about Vika on clay, her worst surface by far. If Maria was going to end her slump against her, there was a great chance it would have happened on clay. But I think Li Na is superior on clay compared to Vika. She was the French champion, she has better results. Li was rested and had that recent big win against Maria in Melbourne. This was a huge challenge for Maria.

Just throwing it out there that this year's line of opponents were pretty darn good as well.
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Old May 1st, 2013, 03:03 PM   #15
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Re: More impressive title run: STUTTGART 2012 or STUTTGART 2013?

Mexi, I think it's a legitimate question, but I've to go with the majority here.

VIP has never been a very serious rival for Martha, not when she's playing semi decently. RG07 Martha was horrible and VIP was arguably in peak form. I know VIP has won the French before but IMO Sam has the better claycourt game when her head's on. And she had it on during that QF against Martha last year.

I'm always scared of matches against Kvitova, and even last year she wasn't that far off from taking a set off Martha in Stuttgart. It's just that Martha's serve was SO good, she literally saved 10++ BPs, some with her trademark high-risk 2nd serves. But the SF I'd say Kerber did give Martha all she could handle.

But the final, even though it's Vika's worst surface, she didn't even play that badly for her standard. She tried to employ the same strategy against Martha on HC but it just didn't work on clay, not against a very game Martha. All aspects of her game flowed remarkably in last year's final. Whereas this year Martha I'd say is merely solid, with relatively good service numbers and a less volatile errorNa across the net.

Like someone else said, last year Martha brought her game, this year she showed us her fight. Both are admirable.
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