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· She's coming for your faves wigs
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Congrats to her on her win today :worship:

But does anyone she is actually better than in previous years? I think she still plays the same and benefited from a easy draw and a nervous Errani in her first final. What do you guys think?
 

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No, if you ever watched the 05 QF against Justine or 07 SF against Ana, you would find that she really didn't know how to slice and slide on court. Her claycourt game is a lot better now with better movement and better strategy.
She is definitely one of the top 3 on clay since 2010 if not the best.
 

· MA5HA
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Improvements: movement/defense/ability to slide, better anticipation, constructs points better, more topspin on her forehand (doesn't overhit as much), more patient in general. I'm sure there's more. She was never going to turn into the new Justine, but she's significantly better than a few years ago. She literally was a cow on ice in 2007.
 

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She was definitely peaking in 2009.

:oh:

To be fair. It's not really worth looking at results before then. She was never going to touch Justine on clay (even floptine beat her in '10). Still. I think she's definitely made improvements to her game over the last two years. Her defense and movement on clay have advanced in leaps and bounds and her results on the surface are mirroring this.
 

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Yes, but she was not a cow on ice back in 2007. People forget that her first ever top 10 win was on clay (granted, it was against Dementieva), her first ever GS QF was on clay, and she beat players like Capriati on clay before she even won Wimbledon. But good on her that she finally won a title on actual slow clay like RG, not the fast clay of Rome or Stuttgart, which is really just a hard court with some clay sprinkled on it.
 

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Movement in general/sliding/topspin on FH/point construction/patience...etc.
Also, more Kick in the serve has helped a lot. Yeah, she's never gonna' be a dropshot Queen or hit multiple slice BHs in a row but I've said a million times you don't need to to be good on clay. It's the equivalent of saying Hingis should never have exceeded on hard court 'cus she never ball bashed. You just need to understand the surface which hard work and experience has allowed her to do. Anyways as other posters have said she's been one of the best in the past couple of season. Actually counting just these past two season she has been the best. Won 4 out of her last 6 tournaments on it.

Plus, there's still a lot of improvement for Maria, next year she should work on sliding to the FH. But she improves on it every year simply 'cus she has an intense block of 2/3 weeks solid training, so she's always fine tuned coming into the clay season.
 

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Yes, but she was not a cow on ice back in 2007. People forget that her first ever top 10 win was on clay (granted, it was against Dementieva), her first ever GS QF was on clay, and she beat players like Capriati on clay before she even won Wimbledon. But good on her that she finally won a title on actual slow clay like RG, not the fast clay of Rome or Stuttgart, which is really just a hard court with some clay sprinkled on it.
:confused:
Rome plays slower than RG?
 

· Diabolical
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Yes, but she was not a cow on ice back in 2007. People forget that her first ever top 10 win was on clay (granted, it was against Dementieva), her first ever GS QF was on clay, and she beat players like Capriati on clay before she even won Wimbledon. But good on her that she finally won a title on actual slow clay like RG, not the fast clay of Rome or Stuttgart, which is really just a hard court with some clay sprinkled on it.
She didn't. It was a 3 set match in Berlin in 2004...But yeah, she played well and it was close
 

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Congrats to her on her win today :worship:

But does anyone she is actually better than in previous years? I think she still plays the same and benefited from a easy draw and a nervous Errani in her first final. What do you guys think?
Maria has improved
1. Sliding--she didn't learn to slide until recently.
2. Patience--she hits probably 50% more shots per point than in 2004-2006
3. Topspin--she has added a great deal of topspin to both sides but particularly the forehand
4. Angles--She has learned to get under the ball and hit angles. In 2004-2006, Sharapova was known for playing hard and deep to the corners. She rarely used angles.
5. Movement--She has definitely gotten a LOT faster than when she was first on tour. Her movement was always underrated given her size, but she's legitimately an average mover now.

Maria's draw was not easy at all. She had Serena Williams in the quarter-final, and Kvitova in the semis. That she ended up playing lower ranked players does not make her draw easy, but rather speaks to the difficulty of beating lower ranked players in slams for most "top" WTA players right now.

Oh my gosh. Errani was definitely not playing nervous tennis. She was playing the best match she had played all tournament after 0-4 down. She had noticeably more pace on her shots and was getting a lot of balls back. Maria played flawless claycourt tennis.

As you can tell by this thread, the overwhelming consensus is that Maria has improved her claycourt play a lot.
 

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Maria has improved
1. Sliding--she didn't learn to slide until recently.
2. Patience--she hits probably 50% more shots per point than in 2004-2006
3. Topspin--she has added a great deal of topspin to both sides but particularly the forehand
4. Angles--She has learned to get under the ball and hit angles. In 2004-2006, Sharapova was known for playing hard and deep to the corners. She rarely used angles.
5. Movement--She has definitely gotten a LOT faster than when she was first on tour. Her movement was always underrated given her size, but she's legitimately an average mover now.

Maria's draw was not easy at all. She had Serena Williams in the quarter-final, and Kvitova in the semis. That she ended up playing lower ranked players does not make her draw easy, but rather speaks to the difficulty of beating lower ranked players in slams for most "top" WTA players right now.

Oh my gosh. Errani was definitely not playing nervous tennis. She was playing the best match she had played all tournament after 0-4 down. She had noticeably more pace on her shots and was getting a lot of balls back. Maria played flawless claycourt tennis.

As you can tell by this thread, the overwhelming consensus is that Maria has improved her claycourt play a lot.

AMEN!!! :worship::worship::worship:
 

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More variety on the forehand and her defense is exquisite. Maria's pretty much impenetrable from her BH side. I was surprised to see many players consistently attacking that wing; it's kinda pointless nowadays, especially when she's so vulnerable from her FH side. Then again, the way she was hitting FH winners on the run her opponents probably avoided giving her too many angles from there.
 

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Right now Maria is simply untouchable on red traditional clay - her improved defense and reach on the BH side is a nightmare for any opponent, since even defensive shots return deep and right at the feet of the attacker. It would take a prime Henin on clay to beat this new version of ClayPova. I don't see anyone troubling her in the next few years at Roland Garros, as long as she is healthy and dedicated.
 

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Right now Maria is simply untouchable on red traditional clay - her improved defense and reach on the BH side is a nightmare for any opponent, since even defensive shots return deep and right at the feet of the attacker. It would take a prime Henin on clay to beat this new version of ClayPova. I don't see anyone troubling her in the next few years at Roland Garros, as long as she is healthy and dedicated.
You know.... Everyone said the same about Kvitty-GOAT and look at what happened since that. No one sees her winning Wimbledon this year.

Just enjoy her title for crying out loud ! Think about that laaaaaaaaaaaaater.


I am proud because in her interview post-finale, Sharapova kinda implied it's Henin who inspired her :drool: :drool: One of the best compliments Henin could have received ! I like you better and better Maria :lol:
Well she was the greatest on clay of our generation, and Pova could have beaten her.... Playing against a healthy and good Henin = limited game exposed so you need to play even better. Henin always drew other players towards the top, and I think that's how she inspired Sharapova (it's not me who says that, it's herself ! she said so in 2008 when Justine retired : "She's an inspiration. There's so many things to life and I'm sure she wants to explore them. I definitely don't blame her for retiring." )

And it's true. Before 2010, she was improving and improving but no big improvement. But during her loss in 2010, she was able to play great tennis, Henin was shocked and had to really play well in order to beat her. That must have kinda clicked for her. In 2011, she reached the SFs and lost to the eventual winner :shrug: then 2012 well everyone knows what happened.

I think what made her won RG is the belief in herself to win on clay tbh.
 
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