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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
Joined
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6,960 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Major)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. UK TV-alert
3. First-round draw
4. Maria Sharapova preview
5. Sam Smith's comments about Maria Sharapova
6. Andrew's wishes
7. Order of play for Monday

My French Open 2009 master-thread:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=379808

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1. Photos
---------

Maria Sharapova practising:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova
http://www.fotosports.com/ (search for "sharapova")

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2. UK TV-alert
--------------

The French Open will be televised on BBC Red Button from 10:00 BST each day of the tournament (digital viewers press Red or select the appropriate Freeview-channel - 301 or 302).

Sunday 24th May to Friday 5th June, 10:00-19:00, BBC Red Button
Women's final: Saturday 6th June, 14:00-16:30, BBC 2
Men's final: Sunday 7th June: 14:00-18:00, BBC 2

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3. First-round draw (Sunday's losers removed)
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The players on the left are the ones I want to win.


3.1 Top quarter
---------------

* Anne Keothavong v DINARA SAFINA [1] (let's get rid of Safina)
* Vitalia Diatchenko [Q,S] won
* Julie Coin won
* ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA [27] won

* Polona Hercog [Q] v ALISA KLEYBANOVA [23] (dajmo Polona!)
* Aravane Rezaï v Ai Sugiyama (allez Aravane!)
* Michelle Larcher de Brito [Q] v Melanie South (Brito > this Briton)
* ZHENG,JIE [15] v Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro (jia you Jie!)

* VICTORIA AZARENKA [9] won
* Kristina Barrois won
* Lucie Hradecká v Yvonne Meusburger [Q] (pojďme Lucie!)
* Edina Gallovits v CARLA SUÁREZ NAVARRO [22]

* IVETA BENEŠOVÁ [32] won
* Alla Kudryavtseva won
* Camille Pin v Tamarine Tanasugarn
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [8,DF] won


3.2 Second quarter: Lucie Šafářová, Maria Sharapova
---------------------------------------------------

* VENUS WILLIAMS [3] v Bethanie Mattek-Sands
* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v Sabine Lisicki [DF] (my loyalty is to LUCIE)
* Elena Vesnina won
* ÁGNES SZÁVAY [29] v Corinna Dentoni [Q]

* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [20] v Alyona Bondarenko (my loyalty is to Domi)
* Kirsten Flipkens v Stéphanie Foretz (komaan Kirsten!)
* Gisela Dulko [DF] won
* Anna-Lena Grönefeld won

* NADIA PETROVA [11] won
* Maria Sharapova [EF] v Anastasiya Yakimova (DAVAI MARIA!!)
* Arantxa Rus [Q] won
* Yaroslava Shvedova [Q] won

* LI,NA [25] won
* Timea Bacsinszky won
* Irena Pavlović [WC,S] v Akgul Amanmuradova (allez Irena!)
* Katie O'Brien [LL] v Olga Govortsova (my loyalty is to Katie)

N.B. Katie O'Brien [LL] replaces VERA ZVONARËVA [6,EF]. :bigcry:


3.3 Third quarter: Chakvetadze, Hantuchová, Dokić
-------------------------------------------------

* Petra Cetkovská v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [5] (pojďme Petra!)
* Magdaléna Rybáriková [DF] v Kristina Mladenović [WC] (poďme Magda!)
* Jarmila Groth v Kinnie Laisné [WC]
* ANNA CHAKVETADZE [26,EF] v Mariana Duque Marino [LL] (DAVAI ANNA!!)

* ALIZÉ CORNET [21] v Maret Ani (allez Alizé!)
* Sorana Cîrstea v Carly Gullickson [Q] (hai Sorana!)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v Jill Craybas (aide Tsvetana!)
* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [10] v Vera Dushevina (kom så Caroline!)

* MARION BARTOLI [13,DF,S] v Pauline Parmentier (allez Marion!)
* Ayumi Morita v Tathiana Garbin (ganbatte Ayumi!)
* Daniela Hantuchová [EF] v Virginie Razzano (POĎME DANIELA!!)
* Ekaterina Makarova v ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [18]

* SAMANTHA STOSUR [30] v Francesca Schiavone
* Urszula Radwańska v Yanina Wickmayer (my loyalty is to Urszula)
* Jelena Dokić [EF] v Karolina Šprem [DF] (my loyalty is to JELENA)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v Chanelle Scheepers [Q]


3.4 Bottom quarter: Nicole Vaidišová
------------------------------------

* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [7] v Claire Feuerstein [WC]
* Sania Mirza [DF] v Galina Voskoboeva (go Sania!)
* Anastasija Sevastova [Q] v Melinda Czink
* Nathalie Dechy v SYBILLE BAMMER [28]

* Kateryna Bondarenko v PATTY SCHNYDER [17]
* Maria Kirilenko [DF] v Olivia Rogowska [WC] (davai Maria!)
* Patricia Mayr v Mariya Koryttseva
* Rossana de los Ríos v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [12]

* FLAVIA PENNETTA [14,DF] v Alexa Glatch (forza Flavia!)
* Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová v Lourdes Domínguez Lino
* Mara Santangelo v Petra Martić [Q]
* Monica Niculescu v ALEKSANDRA WOZNIAK [24] (hai Monica!)

* PENG,SHUAI [31,S] v María José Martínez Sánchez (jia you Shuai!)
* Viktoriya Kutuzova v Zuzana Ondrášková [Q] (my loyalty is to Viktoriya)
* Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v Virginia Ruano Pascual (my loyalty is to NICOLE)
* Klára Zakopalová v SERENA WILLIAMS [2] (pojďme Klára!)

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4. Maria Sharapova preview
--------------------------

What a difference a year makes. Last year, Maria came into the French Open as world #1, having won her first 18 matches of 2008, including winning her third Major at the Australian Open, and titles at Doha and Amelia Island.

But she was struggling with a right-shoulder injury, and dropped sets to players ranked #103 and #106 in the first two rounds of the French Open, before losing to world #14 Dinara Safina in the fourth round (6-7 7-6 6-2 after leading 7-6 5-2* with a match-point, and 5/2 in the second-set tiebreak).

Now Safina is world #1 (albeit having never won a Major), while Maria is #102 after missing almost ten months with her much-documented right-shoulder injury.

After an abnormal, embarrassing second-round exit from Wimbledon 2008, Maria withdrew from Montréal after beating Marta Domachowska 7-5 5-7 6-2 in her opening match, and had not played singles (she did play one doubles-match at Indian Wells 2009) since until she came back at Warsaw earlier this week.

Maria underwent minor arthroscopic surgery on her right shoulder on 15th October 2008, but it has taken a long time to recover her fitness. She says her shoulder is much better, but it was taped up for her matches at Warsaw, and she was also icing it during her press-conferences there.

In the first round at Warsaw, Maria beat world #68 Tathiana Garbin 6-1 6-7 (8/6) 6-3 in 2h34m, but that was after leading 6-1 *4-0, when she got nervous, somehow managed to drop that second set after squandering six match-points, and found herself 1-3* down in the third. But then that famous Sharapova-overdrive kicked in, and she won five games in a row, converting her NINTH match-point.

Maria then thrashed #209-ranked lucky loser Darya Kustova (who had replaced injured world #10 Caroline Wozniacki) 6-2 6-0 in 57 minutes, but almost suffered the same fate herself in the quarter-finals - at the amazingly-manicured hands of world #39 Alyona Bondarenko, who led 6-2 *5-0 before closing Maria out 6-2 6-2. It was a very impressive performance from Alyona, but Maria was rushing her shots and unable to find her range from the baseline.

Maria needs only a French Open title to complete her Career Grand Slam, but realistically, it's too soon for her to rediscover championship-form on her worst surface.

I'd sign for Maria just to defend her fourth-round points from last year - no mean feat as she has a potential second-round match against world #11 Nadia Petrova, who has twice reached the semi-finals here - and then rediscover her magic in the grasscourt-season.

Maria has already committed to Birmingham - which is unusual as, in the past, she has always waited until she's out of the French Open before confirming her entry.

Should she lose in the first week of the French Open, I might even suggest that she should start her grass-court season a week early at ITF Nottingham (week of 1st June) - which, by the way, is where the WTA tournament at Birmingham is rumoured to be moving next year (because Nottingham was recently vacated by the ATP Tour, and is Laura Robson's favourite city).


4.1 First-round preview: Sharapova v Yakimova
---------------------------------------------

Maria has never played Anastasiya Yakimova: her fellow 22-year-old, currently ranked #64. I remember watching Yakimova lose 6-2 7-5 to Justine Henin-Hardenne at the French Open 2006, and that she was a solid, unspectacular player (much like Alyona Bondarenko, I would have said).

Yakimova has had a much better 2009 than Maria so far, compiling a 26:11 win/loss record - mostly on the WTA Tour, with a couple of titles on the ITF circuit.

Yakimova lost in the first round of the Australian Open, but won ITF Cali in February, dropping just one set and beating world #95 Rossana de los Ríos in the final.

At Indian Wells, she had three very one-sided wins to reach the second round as a qualifier, then lost 6-4 6-3 to eventual runner-up Ana Ivanović. She then reached the third round of Miami as a qualifier, beating world #13 Marion Bartoli 6-4 6-3 in the second round before losing 6-3 3-6 6-4 to #26 Alisa Kleybanova.

She won five matches to reach the quarter-finals of Barcelona as a qualifier, then had a couple of early exits at ITF Cagnes-sur-Mer and WTA Estoril. But she made up for that at ITF Saint-Gaudens, where she won the title with a 7-5 7-6 win over #64-ranked Estoril-champion Yanina Wickmayer in the final.

At Strasbourg this week, Yakimova beat #135 Maret Ani 6-3 7-5, but lost 6-4 6-1 in the second round to #79 Aravane Rezaï - the eventual champion.

My conclusion is that Yakimova's 2009 form has been somewhat streaky - she has had four first-round losses between the highlights I picked out above. Yakimova could be dangerous if Maria is well below par, but it's a very winnable match if Maria puts up a half-decent performance.

---------------------------------------------
5. Sam Smith's comments about Maria Sharapova
---------------------------------------------

BBC-commentator Sam Smith made the following comments about Maria during the Nadia Petrova v Lauren Embree match:

"I'm hesitating about my assessment of Sharapova, who looked in great shape [at Warsaw]: her shoulder was absolutely fine - no residual problems after the matches.

"But for some of the matches, she looked as if she'd never been away, and in her quarter-final match against Alyona Bondarenko, who's a very good player - former top-twenty player - she was very, very erratic, and missed so many shots.

"She's trying to play very aggressively now, Maria Sharapova, and coming into the net as much as she can on the shorter ball.

"She's got a brand new serve: completely abbreviated action. It looked quite good, actually, after a match.

"Sorry to be so vague, but it's just really difficult to get a measure of the form of Sharapova coming in here. I think it could be a competitive match [against Petrova, should they meet in the second round] - very much so."

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6. Andrew's wishes
------------------

Maria Sharapova [EF]:
1r + Anastasiya Yakimova
2r + NADIA PETROVA [11]
3r + Yaroslava Shvedova [Q]
4r + Katie O'Brien [LL]
qf + Lucie Šafářová [EF]
sf + ANA IVANOVIĆ [8,DF]
_f + Jelena Dokić [EF]

---------------------------
7. Order of play for Monday
---------------------------

Court 1 (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
MS 1r: Nicolas Devilder v STANISLAS WAWRINKA [17]
WS 1r: Maria Sharapova [EF] v Anastasiya Yakimova
MS 1r: Björn Phau v Jérémy Chardy
WS 1r: CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [10] v Vera Dushevina

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

·
Team WTAworld, Senior Member
Joined
·
6,960 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Andrew's first-round report

=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Major)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round scoreboard-report: Sharapova v Yakimova
3. Second-round draw
4. Second-round preview: Sharapova v Petrova
5. Andrew's wishes
6. Order of play for Wednesday

My French Open 2009 master-thread:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=379808

---------
1. Photos
---------

Various players including Maria:
http://www.tennis.com/features/galleries/FrenchFirstRound/

Galleries of many players:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?cap=1&pg=1 (latest 200 only)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8065901.stm
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/tennis/photos.html
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/photos/

Where to search for specific players:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/photos/players.html
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/bios/indexw.html
http://news.yahoo.com/
http://www.fotosports.com/
Getty Images

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2. First-round scoreboard-report: Sharapova v Yakimova (Monday 25th May 2009)
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+ Maria Sharapova [EF] d. Anastasiya Yakimova, 3-6 6-1 6-2

A scrappy performance by Maria, who lost the last four games of the first set after leading *3-2.

It would appear that the Sharapova-overdrive kicked in after that, as she swept through the last two sets with just a few minor hiccups, and won just a minute shy of the two-hour mark.

The match was second on Court 1, and started at 15:30 CEST. Unfortunately, BBC Red Button was showing the early stages of Martín v Federer at the time, so I had to make do with live scores at www.rolandgarros.com.


First set
---------
SHARAPOV [email protected]*@____ 3
YAKIMOVA *@[email protected]*@* 6

Yakimova serving 0-0: 40/0. 40/15. Held.
Maria serving 0-1: 15/15. 15/40 (BP). Broken.
Yakimova serving 2-0: 0/30. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP). Broken.

They say great champions break back immediately.

Maria serving 1-2: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Maria. Deuce #2. Ad Yakimova (BP #2). Deuce #3. Ad Maria. Held.

Two break-points saved - it could easily have been 1-3* now.

Yakimova serving 2-2: 30/0. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce. Ad Maria (BP #2). Broken.
Maria serving 3-2: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP). Broken.

Four breaks in six service-games - this is so up and down. I can't believe Maria's actually going to lose this one...

Yakimova serving 3-3: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. Held.
Maria serving 3-4: 15/0. 15/40. 30/40 (BP). Broken.

Yakimova serving 5-3: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (SP #1). Deuce. Ad Yakimova (SP #2). Yakimova won the first set 6-3 at 16:16 (46m).

Maria has lost four games in a row now, so we do now have to contemplate the dreadful possibility of her losing in the first round of a Major for the first time since the French Open 2003.

And with Federer currently leading 6-4 5-2*, Maria could even slip out of the French Open without being televised by the BBC since Wimbledon 2008. :sad:


Second set
----------
SHARAPOV *@*@ @* 6
YAKIMOVA [email protected]__ 1

Maria serving 0-0: 40/0. 40/15. Held.
Yakimova serving 0-1: 15/0. 15/15. 15/40 (BP). Broken.
Maria serving 2-0: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Held.
Yakimova serving 0-3: 15/0. 15/40 (BP). Broken.

Tremendous response so far by Maria to dropping that opening set!

Maria serving 4-0: Broken to love.

I hope I didn't just jinx her.

Yakimova is now taking a medical time-out to get her lower back massaged.

Yakimova serving 1-4: 0/40 (BPx3). Deuce. Ad Maria (BP #4). Broken.
Maria serving 5-1: 0/15. 40/15. 40/30. Maria won the second set 6-1 at 16:54 (second set 38m, match so far 1h24m).


Third set
---------
SHARAPOV @* * *@* 6
YAKIMOVA __* *___ 2

Yakimova serving 0-0: 15/0. 15/40 (BP). Broken.
Maria serving 1-0: Held to love.

She's got the bit between her teeth now! :D

Yakimova serving 0-2: 15/15. 40/15. 40/30. Held.
Maria serving 2-1: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. Deuce. Ad Maria. Held.

It's just as well that Maria seems on course for victory now, because Federer's match just finished, but BBC Red Button is now showing Roddick v Jouan instead of joining this match. :fiery:

Yakimova serving 1-3: Held to love.

Maria's certainly not out of the woods yet. She's not looking quite so dominant now, as Yakimova has held her last two service-games, and Maria already lost the first set after leading *3-2.

Maria serving 3-2: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. 40/30. Held.
Yakimova serving 2-4: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP). Broken.

Maria serving 5-2: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30 (MP #1). Deuce. Ad Maria (MP #2). Maria won 3-6 6-1 6-2 at 17:29 (third set 35m, match 1h59m).

Statistics:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/stats/day7/2026ms.html


Maria's press-conference
------------------------

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How encouraged were you by your performance today?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, I started pretty lousy. You know, even though I was up a break, I was just not doing the right things and, you know, letting her play really well. She got a lot of balls back. She made me hit a lot of balls. I was just a little sloppy.

But I totally changed it around, and I started playing a lot better and more aggressive. The match kind of changed after the first few games of the second set.

Q. Must be a different feeling this year than last year, when you were still the No.1. Can you express your feelings? Where is your level now?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, it's a very different - very different time in my career, as well, because I've only played a couple of tournaments since I played here last - actually two, only.

So, you know, I feel like I don't have as many matches under my belt as I had coming into this tournament last year, where, you know, I was No.1. You know, I won a few titles, I was playing really good tennis. This year, it's obviously different after having a long layoff.

Q. Tough to find yourself back here, at the No.128, being the No.1 like you were last year.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: At this point in my career, I don't think - it certainly doesn't bother me, doesn't change the way I think. Many of the girls that are, say, are in the top 10 or top 20 when I was top 5 or 1 in the world, I used to play them second or third round, anyways. Now I just kind of change around, and I've been out of the game. I've always made a point about not really caring who's on the other side of the net, and knowing that I have to go out there and just compete and try to win the match.

Q. Serve is a big part of your game. How would you describe your relationship with your serve today and, say, the last little while trying to get back to it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: It's interesting, because we're on clay, so I don't feel like - I've never hit 20 ace in a match, per se. I've always been a solid server, so I think especially on clay, it's just so important to have a good percentage of first serves, you know.

Make the opponent hit a return; make the opponent hit a good return. Make them get back in the point. That's kind of what I'm working on here, you know. After shoulder-surgery, I'm not going to come out and hit Mach 50, and try and hit aces left and right.

Q. Seemed like the first set maybe a little bit of nerves. You were hesitating a little bit. Didn't have your normal anticipation. Is it just coming - I know you played more - coming back to the big stage? I know it's a Slam [sic]. You have some expectations of at least playing well.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, well, I don't really have expectations, to be honest. I think this is the first time in my career where I can really say where I don't have any expectations; I don't know how things are going to work out.

I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, how my shoulder is going to feel. Obviously, I haven't played competitive matches in a long time. That's a big factor for my body and for my shoulder, and, you know, tennis-wise, competing and playing, you know, getting all that back.

I think that's just so important right now just to - I mean, it's definitely - it's tough coming out and thinking of the things you have to do in order to win the match, because at the end of the day, you have to focus on yourself and, you know, you have to focus on what you do well, but you also - you don't want to come out making too many errors, and that kind of hesitation today, you know, force me to make more errors than I usually do.

Q. Doyou see this as sort of a second career now? It's almost been a career since you've been comfortable.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, in a way. Definitely. It's the first time in, you know, in my life where I couldn't practise for such a long period of time. I think it was three months where I didn't touch a tennis-racquet. I mean, everything about it was just bizarre. It was some things were just taken away from your life.

In a strange way, it's kind of, I don't know - it was a little calming, you know. Even though it's obviously stressful because you don't know if you're ever going to get the chance to be out here again and playing again, and you always have to be positive. I mean - don't get me wrong - there are many days where I was really hesitant, and, you know, you try to do the best things, but there are so many different paths and so many voices and so many opinions, and at the end of the day, you have to try and choose the right one.

You know, I've been grateful to have a wonderful team around me that's been able to, you know, support me and help me in making those right decisions, and is leading me to the right paths.

Q. What do the doctors say long term about your shoulder? Do you expect to get completely back to where you were before?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: They say I should be fine.

Q. You've spoken before how fortunate you are.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yes.

Q. When you were out this length of time, did you have time to reflect on what a tremendous experience, what a tremendous life you've had, and the possibility that you might not have it again?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, absolutely.

Q. Could you reflect on that, please?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Yeah, absolutely. Every single day. You know, no matter where I was, I was obviously - it seems like I was, you know, home for the whole nine months, but I was spending a lot of time in Arizona, so I wasn't exactly home, home.

I did have an opportunity to have a normal life, and I think when you're traveling 11 months out of the year, always on the go, and you never have the time to actually settle down and appreciate the very little things that you have in life, and, you know, the number-one thing is your family, your support-system, and, you know, the people that are sending you positive vibes every single day. And then just the opportunities that you've had, that you've gained in life from your tennis-career, you know.

Everything, tennis and, you know, in my career and when I go out on the court, drives everything, drives myself, drives my business, drives everything that I do.

You know, you realise that, you know, you sit back and you're like, you miss it, you want to be out there, and, you know, doesn't - it's from the hour you're in the locker-room and putting your dress on, you know, to the 15 minutes before your match, where you're warming up and you're pumping yourself up and, you know, you're going to get out there in front of 20,000 people. You miss that. I certainly missed it.

Q. And the one piece of advice that you got during all this period - what was the best advice that you got?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, many. Definitely many. All that I'm very appreciative of. You know, one thing is that you have to - what I had to realise from the beginning was that it was going to be a long road. As an athlete, you try to anticipate your comeback. You try to figure out when you're going to be back. Oh, there are so many times I thought, "Oh, I had I'll be back in Australia," or, "Oh, I will be back in a few weeks." Every single time, it was disappointment after disappointment because you couldn't achieve that goal. So that's when it kind of becomes a little bit frustrating.

I think another thing is: many people think that you have surgery and you wake up and you're completely fine. There's a lot of work that goes on, especially after being out of the game, not only getting your shoulder right and getting your strength back after shoulder-surgery, but also getting back on the court and training, and trying to be where you were before and even better.

Q. You will play Petrova. How do you consider this match?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I've had pretty good success against her. I haven't seen her recently - especially in the last year or so - so I don't really know how she's playing, but I think my coach watched a little bit of her match, and I'm sure I'll get a few pointers. She has a very aggressive serve. She plays a pretty big game. You know, I'm just excited that I gave myself another opportunity to play tomorrow - not tomorrow, but the day after.

Q. If this is Act 2 of your career, given that you've had a lot of time to think about things, is there anything you feel like you'll approach differently?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think my losses, you know, because I was - I am still and I was a big competitor. The losses are very tough to take, and no matter what brave face you put on, it's always difficult, especially the next day or so, but I think after going through this long process with the shoulder, you know, stuff, I think - I don't think I'll treat those losses that emotionally bad.

Q. You think you'll try to put them behind you faster, and process the lessons?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I just have more perspective on those things. I've always really had good perspective, but I'm a competitor, you know. So is everyone else here in the draw. Everyone wants to win, and unfortunately there's only - fortunately, because that's what makes it so exciting. There's only one winner in the men's and women's field. You want to be that one person.

When you're not, you know, you're always thinking of how you can be.

Q. You're known as a fighter. It's practically attached to your name. How difficult was it to encounter a situation where really fighting did not help?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: To be honest, it really did. I think if I was - if I was a mentally weak person or individual, I think I wouldn't be here today. I'd be on some island. I mean, sounds good to me, probably sounds good to everyone in this room. You know, with a nice cold towel they hand around at the pools.

But I love being here, and there's no better feeling than waving to the crowd after you've won. There's no better feeling than going on court when they call your name, and, you know, there's a job in front of you and, you know, especially in these days, to know that you have an opportunity to go out and play, and have a job.

Q. Your serve: you've obviously had to work a little bit on it, and a little different service-motion. Can you talk us through that a little bit, and where you feel it needs to be, the adjustments on that, Maria?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think I'm just trying to do everything I can. Work on my shoulder, make it easier. Not just looking for the next five or six months. I'm looking down the road. I want to be playing for as many years as my body can, as long as my body can hold up, and I think these little changes, I mean, little or big, I think whatever I can do in order to help my body and to help my shoulder in this particular case, I will do.

In this point in my career, where I've already achieved things way beyond that I expected when I was a little kid, I think if I can adjust and make these changes, it will help my body, then I'm totally up for it.


Articles
--------

Sharapova battles into round two [CEEFAX 490->494]
>>>
Maria Sharapova marked her return to the Major arena by coming from behind to beat Anastasiya Yakimova 3-6 6-1 6-2 on Day 2 at the French Open.

Sharapova, who underwent surgery on a troublesome shoulder-injury in October, has not contested a Major since Wimbledon 2008, and is now ranked #102 in the world.

The former world number-one made a poor start against Yakimova, but responded strongly to seal a much-needed win.
<<<

Sharapova recovers [Teletext 495->498]
>>>
Sharapova fights back [Teletext 498]

Former world No.1 Maria Sharapova recovered from a set down to beat Anastasiya Yakimova in the first round.

The unseeded Russian, who returned last week after a nine-month lay-off, lost the opening set, but fought back to beat the Belarusian 3-6 6-1 6-2.

Alisa Kleybanova became the first seed to be knocked out in Paris after the 23rd-ranked Russian went down to Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-2 4-6 6-1.
<<<

Sharapova recovers to advance at French Open (AP)
>>>
Maria Sharapova's bandaged right shoulder held up despite a shaky start, sending her into the second round of the French Open with a 3-6 6-1 6-2 win over Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus.

The unseeded Russian was broken three times in the first set of Monday's match, but she opened the second with four straight wins before being broken once again. Before the start of the next game, Yakimova called for a trainer to work on her lower back.

Sharapova made her season-début in singles this month in Poland, reaching the quarter-finals in her first tournament since taking time off because of a shoulder-injury.

The three-time Major champion needs only to win the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam.
<<<

Nadal, Federer and Safina sparkle in Paris (Reuters)
By Pritha Sarkar (editing by Sonia Oxley)
>>>
Roland Garros has never been a happy hunting-ground for Maria Sharapova or Andy Roddick, but they kept alive their chances with contrasting victories.

Twelve months after Sharapova competed in Paris as the world number-one, the Russian turned up ranked 102nd as she is on a comeback-trail following a nine-month injury-layoff.

Some things, however, never change, as Sharapova shrieked and screeched her way to a 3-6 6-1 6-2 victory over Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus.
<<<

Sharapova back at French (AP)
By Howard Fendrich: AP Tennis Writer
>>>
Those unmistakable shrieks punctuating point after point on Court 1 at the French Open on Monday trumpeted Maria Sharapova's return to the Major stage.

There were other ways Sharapova made her presence felt: the big groundstrokes off both wings; the tough-as-nails turnaround after a slow start; the prematch accessories of buttoned-up blue jacket and oversized white purse; the post-match victory-waves and blown kisses.

Sharapova's tennis is not yet back to her lofty standards - as one might expect after shoulder-surgery in October and four singles-matches in the past 10 months. The 64th-ranked Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus is not the sort of opponent who would normally trouble a top-of-her-game Sharapova, yet there was trouble on Monday.

Still, a win is a win, and Sharapova's first match at a Major tournament in nearly a year ended with a 3-6 6-1 6-2 victory over Yakimova and a spot in the French Open's second round.

It will take more than that performance for Sharapova to erase the uncertainty that comes with such a long layoff.

"This is the first time in my career where I can really say I don't have any expectations," the three-time Major champion said. "I don't know how things are going to work out. I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, how my shoulder is going to feel."

Because of her time away, Sharapova is ranked 102nd and unseeded at Roland Garros, which might help lower others' expectations, too. A year ago, after all, she was No.1.

"If I was a mentally weak person or individual," Sharapova said, "I think I wouldn't be here today."

<snip>

If there never appeared to be real doubt about the outcome of that [Nadal v Daniel] encounter, Sharapova's deficit against Yakimova was more daunting.

"I started pretty lousy," Sharapova said.

She hit four double faults in her first two service-games, and was broken three times in the opening set. She also had 15 unforced errors in that set — more than the rest of the way.

"She was probably a little nervous," said Yakimova, who is 4:12 in Major play. "And she hasn't had much practice, so she was missing more than usual."

But Sharapova won 16 of the first 20 points in the second set and, with Yakimova slowed by a bad back, pretty much controlled things from there.

Sharapova hadn't played a match at a Major since 26th June 2008, when she was upset 6-2 6-4 in Wimbledon's second round by 154th-ranked Alla Kudryavtseva. Go further back, to 3rd June, and Sharapova lost in the fourth round to Safina at the French Open.

On Monday, she was back at Roland Garros, playing the game that made her rich and famous before she turned 20.

"I love being here, and there's no better feeling than waving to the crowd after you've won," Sharapova said. "From the hour you're in the locker-room and putting your dress on, to the 15 minutes before your match, where you're warming up and you're pumping yourself up, and you're going to get out there in front of 20,000 people — you miss that. I certainly missed it."
<<<

Sharapova steals spotlight from Nadal, Federer (AFP)
>>>
Rafael Nadal - bidding for an historic fifth successive French Open - and Roger Federer - still seeking a first Roland Garros crown to complete a Career Grand Slam - swept into the second round on Monday.

But the two great rivals were overshadowed by the eagerly-awaited Major return of Maria Sharapova: the world's highest-paid and most recognisable sportswoman.

The Russian golden girl - ranked at a lowly #102 after a nine-month absence to cure a shoulder-injury - overcame Belarusian Anastasia Yakimova 3-6 6-1 6-2 to book a last-64 date against compatriot Nadia Petrova: the 11th seed.

Sharapova - a former Wimbledon, US and Australian Open champion - said her return feels like a second career has just get underway.

"Definitely. It's the first time in my life where I couldn't practise for such a long period of time," said Sharapova, who warmed up for the French Open by playing singles at the low-key Warsaw event last week.

"I think it was three months where I didn't touch a racquet. Everything about it was just bizarre. It was like some things were just taken away from your life."
<<<

Sharapova screams back (Reuters)
>>>
Russian Maria Sharapova shrilled her way into the second round of the French Open with a 3-6 6-1 6-2 victory over Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus.

The former world number-one - who dropped to 102nd in the world-rankings being out of action for nine months because of a shoulder-injury - needed a set to find her range on Court One before cracking winners past the world number 64.

Yakimova called on the tournament's trainer at change of sides at 4-1 in the second set to have her lower back massaged, and she never seemed to recover.

Sharapova, who returned to singles-play last week at the Warsaw Open - where she reached the last eight - will next face 11th-seeded compatriot Nadia Petrova.
<<<

Federer, Nadal, Safina win first-rounders at French (AP)
>>>
Dinara Safina - the top-seeded player in the women's draw - advanced with No.3 Venus Williams and unseeded Maria Sharapova.

Sharapova played with a bandage on her right shoulder, and she struggled in the first set before beating Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus 3-6 6-1 6-2.

The unseeded Russian was broken three times in the first set, but she opened the second with four straight wins before being broken once again. Before the start of the next game, Yakimova called for a trainer to work on her lower back.

"I started pretty lousy," said Sharapova: playing a Major match for the first time since last year's Wimbledon. "I was just a little sloppy. But I totally changed it around, and I started playing a lot better and more aggressive."
<<<

Sharapova glad to swap cocktails for racket (Reuters)
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Pritha Sarkar and Sonia Oxley)
>>>
* Sharapova beats unheralded Yakimova in Major comeback.
* Second career is starting for me, says the Russian.

Maria Sharapova began Act II of her storied career on Monday, when she shrieked her way into the second round of the French Open with a 3-6 6-1 6-2 victory over Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus.

Twelve months after competing in Paris as the world number-one, the Russian turned up ranked 102nd as she is on a comeback-trail following a nine-month layoff with a career-threatening shoulder-injury.

After not knowing for months whether she would ever be able to return to the big stage again, Sharapova was delighted to be back in Major action.

"If I was a mentally weak person or individual, I wouldn't be here today," Sharapova - who was unable to defend her Australian Open title in January - told a news-conference.

"I'd be on some island... with a nice cold towel they hand around at the pools.

"But I love being here... there's no better feeling than going on court when they call your name and, especially in these days, to know that you have an opportunity to go out and play and have a job."

Playing her first Major match since losing in the second round of Wimbledon last year, the 22-year-old needed a set to find her range on Court One before cracking winners past the world number 64.

Yakimova called on the tournament's trainer at change of sides at 4-1 in the second set to have her lower back massaged, and she never seemed to recover.

Sharapova, who returned to singles-play last week at the Warsaw Open, where she reached the last eight, will next face 11th-seeded compatriot Nadia Petrova.

Asked if she felt like she was starting a second career, Sharapova said: "Yeah, in a way. Definitely.

JUST BIZARRE

"It's the first time in my life where I couldn't practise for such a long period of time. I think it was three months where I didn't touch a tennis-racket.

"There are so many times I thought, 'Oh, I'll be back in Australia,' or, 'Oh, I will be back in a few weeks.' Every single time, it was disappointment after disappointment because you couldn't achieve that goal.

She did, however, find a silver lining in her layoff.

"I did have an opportunity to have a normal life, and I think when you're travelling 11 months out of the year, always on the go, and you never have the time to actually settle down and appreciate the very little things that you have in life, and the number-one thing is your family," Sharapova said.

With a new sense of perspective, Sharapova was realistic about what she hopes to achieve in the only Major she has failed to win.

"I don't really have expectations, to be honest," she said.

"I think this is the first time in my career where I can really say I don't have any expectations; I don't know how things are going to work out."
<<<

Self-aware Sharapova discusses comeback (Abigail Lorge, TENNIS.com)
>>>
Playing her first Major tournament-match in 11 months following shoulder-surgery, Maria Sharapova battled to defeat Anastasiya Yakimova 3-6 6-1 6-2 in her fourth singles-match of the season.

Sharapova, who has had to adjust her service-motion in the wake of the injury, recorded five double faults and was broken three times in the brutal first set, but then raised her level, while her Belarusian opponent - who called for a trainer during the second set - apparently struggled with a lower-back injury.

Afterwards, Sharapova - who has won every Major except the French Open - spoke poignantly about how, during her discouragingly long layoff, she grew to appreciate the privileges that her athletic gifts have earned her in life.

"Just the opportunities that you've had, that you've gained in life from your tennis-career," she said. "Tennis drives everything: drives myself, drives my business, drives everything that I do."

It was an insightful appraisal from the candid and eloquent 22-year-old. In describing her psychological struggles over the past year, Sharapova joked that she would have retired to an island if she weren't by nature a competitor, determined to make it back to the domain where she forged her reputation as a champion.

"I love being here, and there's no better feeling than waving to the crowd after you've won," said the former world No.1. "There's no better feeling than going on court when they call your name, and there's a job in front of you."
<<<

--------------------
3. Second-round draw
--------------------

The players on the left are the ones I want to win.


3.1 Top half: Lucie Šafářová, Maria Sharapova
---------------------------------------------

* Vitalia Diatchenko [Q,S] v DINARA SAFINA [1] (davai Vitalia!)
* ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA [27] v Julie Coin
* Aravane Rezaï v Polona Hercog [Q] (my loyalty is to Aravane)
* ZHENG,JIE [15] v Michelle Larcher de Brito [Q] (jia you Jie!)

* VICTORIA AZARENKA [9] v Kristina Barrois (davai Victoria!)
* Lucie Hradecká v CARLA SUÁREZ NAVARRO [22] (pojďme Lucie!)
* IVETA BENEŠOVÁ [32] v Alla Kudryavtseva (pojďme Iveta!)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [8,DF] v Tamarine Tanasugarn (ajde Ana!)

* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v VENUS WILLIAMS [3] (POJĎME LUCIE!!)
* Elena Vesnina v ÁGNES SZÁVAY [29] (davai Elena!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [20] v Kirsten Flipkens (poďme Dominika!)
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v Anna-Lena Grönefeld (¡vamos Gisela!)

* Maria Sharapova [EF] v NADIA PETROVA [11] (DAVAI MARIA!!)
* Yaroslava Shvedova [Q] v Arantxa Rus [Q] (davai Yaroslava!)
* Timea Bacsinszky v LI,NA [25] (hopp Timea!)
* Olga Govortsova v Akgul Amanmuradova (davai Olga!)


3.2 Bottom half: Jelena Dokić
-----------------------------

* Magdaléna Rybáriková [DF] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [5] (poďme Magda!)
* Jarmila Groth v Mariana Duque Marino [LL]
* (ALIZÉ CORNET [21] v Maret Ani) v Sorana Cîrstea (allez Alizé!)
* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [10] v Jill Craybas (kom så Caroline!)

* MARION BARTOLI [13,DF,S] v Tathiana Garbin (allez Marion!)
* ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [18] v Virginie Razzano
* Yanina Wickmayer v SAMANTHA STOSUR [30] (komaan Yanina!)
* Jelena Dokić [EF] v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] (go Jelena!)

* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [7] v Galina Voskoboeva
* SYBILLE BAMMER [28] v Melinda Czink
* Kateryna Bondarenko v Olivia Rogowska [WC]
* AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [12] v Mariya Koryttseva

* Alexa Glatch v Lourdes Domínguez Lino
* Petra Martić [Q] v ALEKSANDRA WOZNIAK [24]
* Viktoriya Kutuzova v María José Martínez Sánchez (davai Viktoriya!)
* Virginia Ruano Pascual v SERENA WILLIAMS [2] (¡vamos Virginia!)

--------------------------------------------
4. Second-round preview: Sharapova v Petrova
--------------------------------------------

After struggling through her first-round match on Monday, Maria comes up against world #11 Nadia Petrova, who will certainly be well-rested after brushing aside world #628 (and junior world #7) Lauren Embree 6-1 6-2 on Sunday.

Maria leads Petrova 5:1 head to head, but they've never met on clay, on which surface Petrova has had better results in her career than Maria: namely three clay-court titles (all in 2006) to Maria's one (Amelia Island 2008), and two French Open semi-finals (2003, 2005) to Maria's one (2007).

Maria beat Petrova 6-2 2-6 7-5 as a 16-year-old at Los Angeles 2003, and all their other meetings came in 2005-2006, including three Major quarter-finals (Wimbledon 2005: Maria won 7-6 6-3; US Open 2005: Maria won 7-5 4-6 6-4; Australian Open 2006: Maria won 7-6 6-4).

Maria's wins over Petrova have all been three-setters or tight two-setters. Petrova - a big, muscular specimen with a huge serve - can match (or even, at times, exceed) Maria's power, but Maria's far greater mental strength has been the key against an opponent who really dislikes her.

The only time Petrova beat Maria was at the round-robin stage of the 2005 WTA Tour Championships - a meaningless match, as Maria had already qualified for the semi-finals, so she just played casually and let Petrova win 6-1 6-2.

Petrova comes into this match with a modest 13:8 record for 2009, which she began by being hospitalised with viral meningitis. She lost in the first round of Sydney, but made the fourth round of the Australian Open (albeit without beating anyone in the top 90), losing 7-5 6-4 to world #7 Vera Zvonarëva.

Petrova was then sidelined with a right-foot injury until Miami, where she struggled past #154 Michaëlla Krajíček 3-6 6-4 6-2, and lost to #54 Ekaterina Makarova in the third round: 7-5 6-1.

But she has played a full clay-court season, starting with an International-level semi-final at Ponte Vedra Beach, where she lost 6-4 4-6 6-2 to #35 Aleksandra Wozniak.

At Charleston, she struggled past #73 Patricia Mayr 6-1 2-6 6-2, then lost third round to #82 Melinda Czink: 3-6 6-4 7-5. At Stuttgart, she beat #16 Zheng,Jie 6-4 5-7 6-4, but was thrashed 6-2 6-2 by #14 Flavia Pennetta. At Rome, she beat #23 Carla Suárez Navarro 6-2 3-6 6-3, but lost third round to #48 María José Martínez Sánchez: 6-4 6-7 6-4.

Petrova reached the third round of Madrid by beating #30 Iveta Benešová 6-0 2-1 retired, and #53-ranked qualifier Anna-Lena Grönefeld 4-6 7-6 7-6. She lost 6-4 6-7 7-6 to #20 Patty Schnyder.

Maria v Petrova is an intriguing match-up, but I worry that it might be a little too soon in Maria's comeback to face such a powerful opponent in just the second round of the French Open.

On the other hand, given that Maria has been fit, powerful but erratic in her comeback so far, it might actually be better for her to face a big hitter rather than a counterpuncher such as Alyona Bondarenko or Anastasiya Yakimova.

I guess it depends primarily on Maria's form on the day, since at Warsaw there were times when it looked like she'd never been away, yet was very erratic at other times.

------------------
5. Andrew's wishes (updated after Tuesday)
------------------

Maria Sharapova [EF]:
2r + NADIA PETROVA [11]
3r + Yaroslava Shvedova [Q]
4r + Olga Govortsova
qf + Lucie Šafářová [EF]
sf + ANA IVANOVIĆ [8,DF]
_f + Jelena Dokić [EF]

------------------------------
6. Order of play for Wednesday
------------------------------

Court Suzanne Lenglen (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
WS 2r: Vitalia Diatchenko [Q,S] v DINARA SAFINA [1]
MS 1r: Fabrice Santoro v Christophe Rochus, 3-6 1-6 6-3 *3-5 to finish
MS 2r: GILLES SIMON [7] v Robert Kendrick
WS 2r: Maria Sharapova [EF] v NADIA PETROVA [11]
MS 2r: RAFAEL NADAL [1] v Teimuraz Gabashvili


UK TV-alert
-----------

The tennis will start on BBC 2 at 10:00 BST, as Andy Murray is first on Chatrier. I assume the same coverage will be on BBC Red Button (Freeview-channel 301) too. BBC 2's transmission is scheduled to end at 11:15 BST.

The BBC plans to start on Chatrier with Murray v Starace, Cornet v Ani and Ivanović v Tanasugarn, then to switch to Lenglen for Sharapova v Petrova and Nadal v Gabashvili.

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

·
Team WTAworld, Senior Member
Joined
·
6,960 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Andrew's second-round TV-report

=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Major)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Second-round TV-report: Sharapova v Petrova
2. Third-round draw
3. Third-round preview: Sharapova v Shvedova
4. Andrew's wishes
5. Order of play for Friday

My French Open 2009 master-thread:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=379808

----------------------------------------------
1. Second-round TV-report: Sharapova v Petrova (Wednesday 27th May 2009)
----------------------------------------------

+ Maria Sharapova [EF] d. NADIA PETROVA [11], 6-2 1-6 8-6

I saw the whole match on BBC Red Button, and it was amazing! Even on the slow red clay, on a cold, heavy day, Maria's shots skidded through the court so fast and low bouncing!

Maria has adjusted her game to protect her right shoulder since I last saw her play in 2008:
(a) She now uses an abbreviated service-action, which consists of mainly just throwing the ball up and hitting it, rather than starting with the racket down by her knees and taking a full swing.
(b) She hits more of her forehands with the conventional follow-through (racket finishing over her left shoulder) rather than her trademark buggy-whip forehand (racket finishing over her right shoulder).

Maria ambushed the eleventh seed with a brilliant first set, breaking in the first game, and although she was broken back immediately and went *1-2 down, she reeled off five games in a row to take the first set. If she could play every set like that one, she'd certainly win the French Open to complete her Career Grand Slam!

In the second set, however, worrying groundstroke-errors started to creep into Maria's game as she was broken for 1-3*, and by the end of the set, she was haemorrhaging errors, while Petrova grew in belief, her big serve and big forehand doing a lot of damage as she kept stranding Maria with crosscourt forehands to set up winners.

The third set was a worthy sequel to Tuesday's Klára Zakopalová v Serena Williams thriller, as the momentum shifted from one player to the other. Would Maria's far greater mental strength win out in the end, or would she make too many errors at the wrong times?

Maria got broken for *0-1, but broke back immediately with two blazing backhand return-winners. With more errors creeping into Petrova's game, the momentum seemed to be firmly back with Maria.

But Maria put herself in desperate trouble when, from *2-2 (30/0), she made four unforced errors in a row to get broken, then Petrova held to love for 4-2*, and had two break-points at 15/40 that would have left her serving for the match at *5-2!

Maria saved 15/40 with a first serve + forehand winner, 30/40 with a good second serve, then an ace at deuce as she held for 3-4*. Then Petrova got very nervous and tentative as Maria broke back for *4-4.

In a dramatic game at *4-4, Maria went 40/0 up with two great serves and a forehand winner, then her serve deserted her and she found herself facing a break-point. She saved it with an error-forcing forehand that caught the back edge of the baseline, but a horrendous netted forehand gave Petrova a second break-point. Maria saved it with an error-forcing backhand down the line, an ace and a Petrova forehand winner took it to a fourth deuce, then Petrova hit two forehands long for *4-5.

The next four games went with serve, but while Petrova held to love at both *4-5 and *5-6, Maria - who was looking very tired by now - had to recover from *5-5 (15/30) and *6-6 (30/40).

A couple of weird things happened to Petrova at *6-7. At 15/0, she opened up the court perfectly for an off-forehand winner, but put it long. At 30/30, she thought she hit an ace, but ended up serving a double fault. This gave Maria match-point, and Petrova hit a forehand just wide.

My heart was throbbing, I was smiling, and Maria looked delighted too. And I laughed with joy when reminded just what this victory means: a mouthwatering third-round match with Yaroslava Shvedova!

One tactical observation from this match is that Maria's crosscourt forehands sometimes expose her to being passed down her backhand-line, especially when she goes to the net. She might get away with it on grass, where the ball skids through lower on crosscourt shots, but it sits up nicely for the opponent on clay.

I'll post my full TV-report - with a blow-by-blow description of every point - at a future date (most probably in the week before Wimbledon).

-------------------
2. Third-round draw
-------------------

The players on the left are the ones I want to win.

* ANASTASIA PAVLYUCHENKOVA [27] v DINARA SAFINA [1]
* Aravane Rezaï v Michelle Larcher de Brito [Q] (allez Aravane!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [9] v CARLA SUÁREZ NAVARRO [22] (davai Victoria!)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [8,DF] v IVETA BENEŠOVÁ [32] (my loyalty is to Ana)

* ÁGNES SZÁVAY [29] v VENUS WILLIAMS [3]
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [20] (my loyalty is to Gisela)
* Maria Sharapova [EF] v Yaroslava Shvedova [Q] (my loyalty is to MARIA)
* Olga Govortsova v LI,NA [25] (davai Olga!)

* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [5] v Jarmila Groth
* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [10] v Sorana Cîrstea (my loyalty is to Caroline)
* Tathiana Garbin v Virginie Razzano
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v SAMANTHA STOSUR [30]

* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [7] v Melinda Czink
* Kateryna Bondarenko v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [12]
* ALEKSANDRA WOZNIAK [24] v Lourdes Domínguez Lino
* María José Martínez Sánchez v SERENA WILLIAMS [2]

--------------------------------------------
3. Third-round preview: Sharapova v Shvedova
--------------------------------------------

This mouthwatering match-up gave me even more motivation (if any were needed) for Maria to beat Petrova, knowing that Yaroslava Shvedova was waiting for the winner!

They've never met before, but I suppose I should give Yaroslava a slight edge in this match, seeing as she's currently ranked #98 to Maria's #102! ;)

I must admit that Yaroslava is gorgeous: I used to think of her as a taller, prettier version of Martina Hingis, but that doesn't come close to justifying her beauty once you've seen her up close in person. She's tall and leggy, with a pretty face, a divine ponytail and a lovely smile.

I kind of met Yaroslava at Birmingham last year: we were staying in the same hotel; I opened the front door for her, and she said "Thanks" - the only time a professional tennis-player has ever spoken to me! Though I must admit I didn't actually realise who she was until the hotelier later told me that she was staying there - I only knew that she was sexy! ;)

Yaroslava seemed to be quite a classy player as I watched her outwit the tall, manly Akgul Amanmuradova with acute angles, sliced backhands and even a lob-winner over AA's head!

Yaroslava first made the tennis-world sit up and take notice of her when she won the Tier III WTA Bangalore 2007: then ranked #143, she beat world #36 Mara Santangelo 6-4 6-4 in the final.

Yaroslava's win/loss record for 2009 stands at 14:8 after her five wins here as a qualifier. She had a poor start to the year, losing to world #95 Julie Coin in the first round of Brisbane, and to #11 Petrova in the first round of the Australian Open.

Yaroslava beat #79 Tamira Paszek 6-3 6-4 in the first round of Pattaya City, and lost 6-4 6-4 to #5 Vera Zvonarëva in the second round. She then won three matches to reach the second round of Indian Wells as a qualifier, beating the notorious Alla Kudryavtseva (#72) 6-4 6-2 in the first round, then losting 4-6 7-5 6-3 to #11 Victoria Azarenka.

Yaroslava then turned to the ITF Women's Circuit, suffering a disastrous 6-2 6-0 loss to #94 Aravane Rezaï in the first round of Tourhout, and losing to Coin again in the second round of Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Returning to the WTA Tour, Yaroslava won three matches to reach the second round of Rome as a qualifier: she beat a certain Nicole Vaidišová (#59) 6-2 7-5 to qualifier, beat #32 Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-2 in the first round, then lost 6-3 6-7 6-1 to #14 Flavia Pennetta.

Yaroslava fell in the second qualifying-round of Strasbourg, beating #355 Claudine Schaul 6-3 6-1, then losing 6-2 6-2 to #478 Astrid Besser.

Yaroslava had never won a match in three previous French Opens, but has reached the third round as a qualifier, with the following results:
1q + Shenay Perry, 6-4 6-4
2q + Angela Haynes, 6-1 6-2
3q + ELENA BALTACHA [15], 6-2 6-2
1r + KAIA KANEPI [19], 7-6 (7/2) 3-6 6-2
2r + Arantxa Rus [Q], 6-0 6-2

Maria's results - the contrast in their second-round scorelines could hardly be greater:
1r + Anastasiya Yakimova, 3-6 6-1 6-2
2r + NADIA PETROVA [11], 6-2 1-6 8-6

Conclusion: there's not much to be scared of in Yaroslava's pre-FO results, but to knock out the 19th seed and then win 6-0 6-2 is definitely a step up for her, so Maria needs another good performance if she is to defend her fourth round from last year.

------------------
4. Andrew's wishes (updated after Thursday)
------------------

Maria Sharapova [EF]:
3r + Yaroslava Shvedova [Q]
4r + Olga Govortsova
qf + Gisela Dulko [DF]
sf + ANA IVANOVIĆ [8,DF]
_f + CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [10]

---------------------------
5. Order of play for Friday
---------------------------

Court Philippe Chatrier (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
WS 3r: Aravane Rezaï v Michelle Larcher de Brito [Q]
MS 3r: FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ [12] v Josselin Ouanna [WC]
MS 3r: RAFAEL NADAL [1] v Lleyton Hewitt
WS 3r: Maria Sharapova [EF] v Yaroslava Shvedova [Q]

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

·
Team WTAworld, Senior Member
Joined
·
6,960 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Andrew's third-round report

=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Major)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Third-round scoreboard-report: Sharapova v Shvedova
3. Fourth-round draw
4. Fourth-round preview: Sharapova v Li
5. Andrew's wishes
6. Order of play for Sunday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Various players including Maria:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8073753.stm

------------------------------------------------------
2. Third-round scoreboard-report: Sharapova v Shvedova (Friday 29th May 2009)
------------------------------------------------------

+ Maria Sharapova [EF] d. Yaroslava Shvedova [Q], 1-6 6-3 6-4

The match was fourth on Court Philippe Chatrier, and started at 17:47 CEST. Unfortunately, Murray v Tipsarević was starting on Lenglen at the same time, so Maria and Yaroslava had no chance of being televised on BBC Red Button! :mad:

Maria broke in the first game of the match, then lost six games in a row to drop the first set. There were some tough, deucy games in there, but Yaroslava won them all: most disturbingly the one at *1-4, where Maria had 40/15, and the one at 1-5*, where Maria squandered three break-points at 0/40.

Maria broke first in the second set, but was broken back from *3-1 (40/15). The rest of the second set was hard work - in fact all the games in the second set went to deuce except the first and last - but Maria achieved the vital break for *5-3, and served out to 15.

The first six games of the third set went with serve, but Maria was holding easily, while Yaroslava got taken to deuce in two of her service-games. Maria got the first and only break of the third set for *4-3, then after a couple more deuce-games in which the server led 40/15, Maria took a *5-4 lead, and served it out to love.


First set
---------
SHARAPOV @______ 1
SHVEDOVA [email protected]*@*@* 6

Yaroslava serving 0-0: 0/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP). Broken.
Maria serving 1-0: 0/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce. Ad Yaroslava (BP #2). Broken.

Well, well! I was just about to congratulate Maria on a good recovery from 0/30 and 30/40, but Yaroslava breaks back anyway!

Yaroslava serving 1-1: 40/0. 40/30. Held.
Maria serving 1-2: 0/15. 15/15. 15/40 (BP). Broken.

Maria's lost three games in a row now, including two service-games. What's wrong with her?

Yaroslava serving 3-1: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 40/30. Held.
Maria serving 1-4: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Deuce #1. Ad Yaroslava (BP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Yaroslava (BP #2). Broken.

Not even from 40/15 up! I expected it to be much closer than this, with only four places between them in the rankings. :eek:

Yaroslava serving 5-1: 0/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Yaroslava (SP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Yaroslava (SP #2). Yaroslava won the first set 6-1 at 18:25 CEST (38m).


Second set
----------
SHARAPOV * *@__*@* 6
SHVEDOVA _*[email protected]*___ 3

Maria serving 0-0: Held to love.
Yaroslava serving 0-1: 15/15. 30/15. 30/40 (BP). Deuce. Ad Yaroslava. Held.

Yet another break-point (and game-point in general) goes begging. I'm beginning to wonder whether the scoreboard hasn't got the players' names the wrong way round, because it's Maria's characteristic to fight through games like Yaroslava's doing today.

Maria serving 1-1: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Deuce. Ad Maria. Held.

I thought Maria was going to lose that game too, the way things have been going. :eek:

Yaroslava serving 1-2: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 40/30. Deuce #1. Ad Maria (BP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Maria (BP #2). Held.

At last the abnormal, embarrassing situation is being fixed...

Maria serving 3-1: 30/0. 30/15. 40/15. Deuce #1. Ad Yaroslava (BP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Yaroslava (BP #2). Broken.

Once again, Maria gets broken after 40/15.

Yaroslava serving 2-3: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Deuce. Ad Yaroslava. Held.
Maria serving 3-3: 0/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. Deuce. Ad Maria. Held.
Yaroslava serving 3-4: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce. Ad Maria (BP #2). Broken.

Hard work, but at 4-3*, it's always great to break for *5-3!

Maria serving 5-3: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15 (SP #1). Maria won the second set 6-3 at 19:19 CEST (second set 54m, match so far 1h32m).


Third set
---------
SHARAPOV _* * *@* * 6
SHVEDOVA * * *___*_ 4

Yaroslava serving 0-0: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. Deuce. Ad Yaroslava. Held.
Maria serving 0-1: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. 40/30. Held.
Yaroslava serving 1-1: 0/15. 15/15. 15/40 (BPx2). Deuce. Ad Yaroslava. Held.

Wow: Tipsarević just retired against Murray, so BBC Red Button might actually show this match after all!

Maria serving 1-2: 40/0. 40/15. Held.
Yaroslava serving 2-2: Held to love.

But BBC Red Button has ended its live transmission early instead of joining this match! :fiery::fiery::fiery:

Maria serving 2-3: 15/15. 40/15. Held.
Yaroslava serving 3-3: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/40 (BP). Broken.
Maria serving 4-3: 30/0. 30/15. 40/15. Deuce. Ad Maria. Held.

Again, Maria gets pegged back from 40/15; the difference now is that she's pulling through these tough games in the end, which Yaroslava was doing earlier.

Yaroslava serving 3-5: 30/0. 30/15. 40/15. Deuce #1. Ad Yaroslava. Deuce #2. Ad Yaroslava. Deuce #3. Ad Yaroslava. Held.

Maria almost gave Yaroslava a taste of her own medicine there: four game-points saved. Now the moment of truth: Maria hasn't been broken since the fifth game of the second set, so can she serve this out?

Maria serving 5-4: 40/0 (MP #1). Maria won 1-6 6-3 6-4 at 20:15 CEST (third set 56m, match 2h28m).


Statistics
----------

Maria had a W:UE ratio of 26:51 to Yaroslava's 18:33. Maria's was a woeful 2:15 in the first set, while Yaroslava's deteriorated from 10:12 in the first set to a combined 8:21 for the second and third. Maria's UE-count actually increased from set to set, but so did her winner-count, while Yaroslava's winner-count decreased from set to set.

Maria got 62% of her first serves in, winning 64% of the points when she did so, and 52% on second serve. Her first-serves-in percentage was pretty constant, but her winning-percentages improved from set to set: from (43%, 22%) in the first set to (62%, 64%) for the second set to (83%, 60%) for the third.

Yaroslava got 64% of her first serves in, winning 59% of the points when she did so, and 50% on second serve. From the first set to the second, she upped her first-serves-in percentage from 50% to 68%, but her first-serve winning-percentage dipped from 64% to 48%.

Maria served a monstrous 11 double faults to just one ace, while Yaroslava served 3 aces and 4 double faults.

Yaroslava had a bigger first serve than Maria: fastest 120-112mph (wow!), average 101-98mph. Maria had the faster average second serve: 89-86 mph.

They broke each other four times each - Maria from 12 BPs, Yaroslava from only 7 BPs, which shows how wasteful Maria was with her opportunities. Yaroslava won the first set by three breaks to one; Maria won the second by two breaks to one, and the third by one break to none.

Maria won 8 of 14 points at the net (57%), Yaroslava 5 of 8 points (63%).

In points, Maria won 95-91 (first set 20-31, second set 39-30, third set 36-30).


Article
-------

Sharapova thrives on underdog-status (Reuters)
By Julien Pretot (editing by Pritha Sarkar)
>>>
* Sharapova fights back to advance to fourth round.
* French crowd love the underdogs, she says.

Being the underdog suits Maria Sharapova at the French Open, where she enjoyed being backed by the fickle Parisian crowd in a 1-6 6-3 6-4 third-round victory over Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova on Friday.

In recent years, the Russian has endured a torrid relationship with the Roland Garros fans, and was famously booed off court when she was knocked out in 2007 and 2008.

But no longer the world number-one, the 102nd-ranked Russian seems to have become a firm favourite as she is on a comeback-trail following a nine-month layoff with a career-threatening shoulder-injury.

"Allez Maria!" the fans screamed as they cheered her on while she gasped for breath after running down many of her opponent's cunning dropshots.

Summing up the change of attitude towards her, Sharapova quipped: "You're ranked outside the top 100, so people like you."

"When you're number-one in the world, for some reason they don't like you anymore. It's amazing how the society works.

"Especially here in France, I think they always love the underdog, and they always love the one that comes back from behind, or the one that's not expected to win. I'm probably that person," added the three-times Major champion, who will next face China's Li,Na.

A beaming Sharapova blew kisses to all corners of the Centre Court after overcoming a miserable start to down Shvedova.

PERFECT RECIPE

Sharapova found the perfect recipe to strike up her relationship with the French crowd by unleashing winners after falling one set down on a sunbathed Centre Court.

She pocketed the opening game on her opponent's serve, but Shvedova broke straight back when the Russian sent a backhand wide.

She dropped serve again with her third double fault in the fourth game, and then struggled to return Shvedova's heavy first serve.

The Kazakh mixed her game with dropshots, and bagged the first set when Sharapova returned long after 37 minutes.

The former world number-one broke for 3-1 in the second set as the clock ticked past the hour. But she served a double fault at 40/30 in the following game, and instead of going 4-1 up, Shvedova broke back.

Sharapova hung on to break again with a fine backhand down the line, and followed it up on serve to level the contest.

Shvedova then faded, and bowed out with a weak backhand into the net after 2h27m.

"I could not serve at 100%, because a muscle was pulling [in my arm], and because of this, my arms got tired and it was difficult to hit the balls," said the Kazakh, who came to the post-match press-conference with an ice-pack wrapped around her arm.
<<<

--------------------
3. Fourth-round draw
--------------------

The players on the left are the ones I want to win.

* Aravane Rezaï v DINARA SAFINA [1] (allez Aravane!)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [8,DF] v VICTORIA AZARENKA [9] (my loyalty is to Ana)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [20] v ÁGNES SZÁVAY [29] (poďme Domi!)
* Maria Sharapova [EF] v LI,NA [25] (DAVAI MARIA!!)

* Sorana Cîrstea v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [5] (hai Sorana!)
* SAMANTHA STOSUR [30] v Virginie Razzano (go Sam!)
* AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [12] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [7]
* SERENA WILLIAMS [2] v ALEKSANDRA WOZNIAK [24]

---------------------------------------
4. Fourth-round preview: Sharapova v Li
---------------------------------------

Maria has a 4:0 head to head against current world #25 Li,Na:
+ 2005 Australian Open 3r: 6-0 6-2
+ 2006 Miami 2r: 6-2 6-4
+ 2006 Birmingham 3r: 6-2 6-4
+ 2006 US Open: 6-4 6-2

But Li can be an extremely dangerous opponent, as she goes for broke, dominating the points with either winners (her forehand is particularly potent) or unforced errors.

And Li has some results to prove it: Gold Coast 2008 was her first tournament back after a six-month injury lay-off, but she won the title. She beat both Williams-sisters last year: Venus at the Beijing Olympics (where she also beat Svetlana Kuznetsova) and Serena at Stuttgart. She has 13 wins over top-ten players in her career.

Li has a respectable 17:8 win/loss record for 2009 (including her three wins here).

After missing January with a right-knee injury, Li came back at WTA Paris and beat #30 Ágnes Szávay 7-6 6-2 before losing 6-0 3-6 6-2 to #3 Jelena Janković. But she crashed out to #75 Elena Vesnina in the first round of Dubai.

Li upset #10 Agnieszka Radwańska 7-6 4-6 6-0 in the first round of Monterrey, and went on to reach the final (albeit without beating another top-30 player), which she lost 6-4 6-3 to #13 Marion Bartoli.

Li reached the fourth round of Indian Wells, beating #18 Patty Schnyder and #20 Amélie Mauresmo both 7-5 6-2, before losing 6-4 6-4 to world #6 and eventual champion Vera Zvonarëva.

Li reached the quarter-finals of Miami, beating #5-ranked Vera Zvonarëva 6-4 3-6 6-2 in the third round. It took world #1 Serena Williams to stop her: 4-6 7-6 6-2.

The clay-court season has been less impressive for Li. At Stuttgart, she beat #33 Peng,Shuai 6-2 6-3, but lost 4-6 6-4 7-5 to #9 Svetlana Kuznetsova. She lost to #27 Sybille Bammer 7-6 4-6 6-3 in the first round of Rome. At Madrid, she beat #23 Carla Suárez Navarro 5-7 6-1 7-5, and lost 6-3 7-6 to #1 Dinara Safina.

Surprisingly for a 27-year-old, Li has only played the French Open twice before: both times losing in the third round. In 2006, she beat #30 Anna Chakvetadze 7-5 6-3 in the second round, then lost 6-3 7-6 to #10 Svetlana Kuznetsova. In 2007, she lost to #25 Sybille Bammer 6-4 6-3 in the third round.

This time, Li has reached the fourth round of the French Open without dropping a set:
1r + Marta Domachowska, 6-4 6-2
2r + Timea Bacsinszky, 6-1 6-4
3r + Olga Govortsova, 7-5 6-1

Maria, in contrast, has dropped a set in all three of her prior matches:
1r + Anastasiya Yakimova, 3-6 6-1 6-2
2r + NADIA PETROVA [11], 6-2 1-6 8-6
3r + Yaroslava Shvedova [Q], 1-6 6-3 6-4

So we have to be prepared for another three-setter (which would favour Maria), or even a loss (which would most likely be in two sets).

------------------
5. Andrew's wishes (updated after Saturday)
------------------

Maria Sharapova [EF]:
4r + LI,NA [25]
qf + DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [20]
sf + ANA IVANOVIĆ [8,DF]
_f + SAMANTHA STOSUR [30]

---------------------------
6. Order of play for Sunday
---------------------------

Court Philippe Chatrier (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
MS 4r: FERNANDO GONZÁLEZ [12] v VICTOR HANESCU [30]
WS 4r: Aravane Rezaï v DINARA SAFINA [1]
MS 4r: RAFAEL NADAL [1] v ROBIN SÖDERLING [23]
WS 4r: Maria Sharapova [EF] v LI,NA [25]

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

At least the BBC shouldn't have an excuse not to show Maria this time! :)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

·
Team WTAworld, Senior Member
Joined
·
6,960 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Andrew's fourth-round TV-report

=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Major)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Fourth-round TV-report: Sharapova v Li
3. Quarter-final draw
4. Quarter-final preview: Sharapova v Cibulková
5. Andrew's wishes
6. Order of play for Tuesday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Various players including Maria:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8075838.stm
http://www.tennis.com/features/galleries/FrenchRounds23/

-----------------------------------------
2. Fourth-round TV-report: Sharapova v Li (Sunday 31st May 2009)
-----------------------------------------

+ Maria Sharapova [EF] d. LI,NA [25], 6-4 0-6 6-4

The match was fourth on Court Philippe Chatrier, which was reeling from the seismic shock of Rafael Nadal's first-ever loss at the French Open a few minutes before. I saw the whole match on BBC Red Button.

It was another tough struggle for Maria: her fourth three-setter in a row (mirroring Jelena Dokić's fairy-tale run to the Australian Open quarter-finals), and she won the last four games from 2-4* in the third. As BBC commentator Sam Smith put it, Maria won "by the sheer force of her personality".

Li has the ball-striking ability of a top-five player, but is inconsistent, and can get very nervous, as she did at *4-2 in the third today. Maria enjoys playing Li because the fast pace from Li plays into her hands. Conversely, Li enjoys playing Maria when she's not getting it quite right!

From *1-2 in the first set, Maria won three games in a row for *4-3, as Li went for the lines and missed by narrow margins. Li broke back as errors crept into Maria's game, but Maria's crosscourt backhand winner gave her an opening at 4-4* (0/30), and she pushed home that advantage to break and then serve out the first set 6-4.

In the second set, Maria was broken for 0-2*, and then I realised - from the three forehand-errors she made in the next game - how tired she was: her footwork had deteriorated, and her shots seemed to lack their usual purpose.

Li won the second set 6-0 by playing to a very high level, while Maria made error after unforced error, and wasn't running for Li's winners.

At *0-1 in the third set, all I asked was for Maria to avoid a double bagel. She held serve with Li until 2-2*, but had to work so hard just to do so, while Li kept pushing her deep into the corners, from where Maria invariably tries to blast a winner rather than floating back a deep defensive shot to recover.

A quadruple fault put Maria *2-3 (15/40) down, and Li found tremendous depth on her groundstrokes to break for *4-2.

At *4-2 (30/30), Li netted a nervy crosscourt forehand to give Maria a break-point, which she converted with a down-the-line backhand winner just inside the baseline!

At the *3-4 changeover, Maria took a medical time-out to get her left thigh massaged (I wouldn't mind that job! ;-) ), which she had requested at *2-3 (15/40).

Maria: "The thigh was just a little bit sore. I just needed to put some hot cream on it to forget that anything was wrong. I'm definitely a little bit... little sore, but I'll be fine. That's why the Grand Slams [sic] are great. You have a day in between - day to recover - and that always helps the body."

With the depth of Maria's groundstrokes forcing Li into errors, Maria held for 4-4* after a crosscourt backhand winner, and broke for *5-4 after a blazing backhand return-winner down the line.

An ace and a service-winner helped Maria to match-point at *5-4 (40/30), which she converted when Li hit a backhand long. Maria looked delighted, and it made me the happiest I've been so far this French Open by quite some distance! :D

Li: "She's so strong mentally. She was always fighting - doesn't matter what the score was. She never gave up. She was fighting every point on the court."

The win puts Maria into her first Major quarter-final since she won the Australian Open 2008 - thus ending an abnormal, embarrassing 16-month run at the Majors, considering that in 2005 and 2006, she reached the semi-finals of every Major except the French Open.

I'll post my full TV-report - with a blow-by-blow description of every point - at a future date (most probably in the week before Wimbledon).

---------------------
3. Quarter-final draw
---------------------

The players on the left are the ones I want to win.

* VICTORIA AZARENKA [9] v DINARA SAFINA [1] (davai Victoria!)
* Maria Sharapova [EF] v DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [20] (my loyalty is to MARIA)

* Sorana Cîrstea v SAMANTHA STOSUR [30]
* SERENA WILLIAMS [2] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [7]

-----------------------------------------------
4. Quarter-final preview: Sharapova v Cibulková
-----------------------------------------------

I am delighted and very excited that Maria and Dominika have set up this mouthwatering quarter-final: Maria's first Major quarter-final since the Australian Open 2008, and Domi's first ever!

When Maria won her fourth-round match, I had never seen Dominika Cibulková play, but I was able to rectify this immediately by pulling the Amelia Island 2008 final out of a pile of unwatched DVDs that I ordered from Tennis Videos International <http://www.users.bigpond.com/tennisvideos1/> last December.

The Amelia Island 2008 final could not have been more appropriate for this preview, as Domi was playing none other than Maria in Domi's first WTA Tour final and Maria's first clay-court final!

Domi is essentially a counterpuncher whose favourite surface is clay. She frustrates Maria on this surface by getting a lot of balls back, so the onus is on Maria to overpower her.

But Domi can also be aggressive from the baseline - particularly with her returns of serve, which produced a few spectacular winners against Maria in the Amelia Island 2008 final! I remember one backhand return-winner down the line in particular!

Most of Domi's groundstroke-winners seemed to be down the line, although a couple of times when Maria went to the net, Domi passed her with crosscourt forehand winners. Apparently Domi's passing-shots are one of her greatest strengths (as when she beat Amélie Mauresmo in the semi-finals of AI 2008), but she doesn't get to hit that many against Maria, who only tends to go to the net when she's on top of the rally.

My first impression of watching Domi play was that she hits the ball very low over the net - none of those high bouncing balls that other short girls tend to resort to!

Domi will again be looking to spread Maria: make her run from side to side, ideally by hitting into the corners, which are an uncomfortable place on a clay-court for Maria to be.

Domi has a good first serve for one so short (5'3" to Maria's 6'2") - she even hit an ace in her opening service-game of the AI 2008 final! But Maria's aggressive returns put Domi under pressure to hit her second serves very deep, which can result in double faults.

Dropshots can be an effective tactic against Domi, as although her lateral movement is excellent, she doesn't seem quite so quick running forwards - although it has to be a good dropshot or Domi will hit a winner! If Maria can draw Domi to the net and then lob her, Domi has to retreat to the baseline, and that really puts her on the back foot (e.g. *3-4 in the first set of the AI 2008 final).

Domi also had some success with her own dropshots against Maria, who made errors after running down a couple of dropshots, and she actually lost the first point of the first-set tiebreak by running down a dropshot, hitting a winner, and touching the net with her foot before it had bounced twice!

Domi says her favourite shot is the drive-volley, and sure enough, she hit some of those in the AI 2008 final - but she was reluctant to do it more often.

Domi had some problems closing out games against Maria (who loves to fight for every game), but commentator Sam Gore said Domi was mentally strong. Whenever one of Maria's shots just missed a line, Domi had an annoying habit of circling the mark with her racket.

In the AI 2008 final, Domi recovered from *1-3 to 4-3*, and when Maria served for the first set at *5-4, Domi broke back with aggressive play, including a backhand drive-volley winner.

Domi led 4/2 in the tiebreak, saved a set-point at *5/6, but it might have been a much tougher match for Maria, had Domi not missed an easy forehand after running down a dropshot at 6/6. Maria won the tiebreak 9/7.

Domi led *2-1 in the second set, but took an medical time-out, and screamed in pain as the trainer massaged her left thigh (unfortunately this is not on the DVD). She was in tears after netting a forehand smash to get broken for *2-4, and Maria won 7-6 (9/7) 6-3.

Maria and Domi's second (and latest) meeting was in the second round of Rome 2008, which Maria won 6-2 3-6 6-4.

At Amelia Island 2008, Domi was an 18-year-old ranked #34. Now 20, she has pushed on to #19 (after a career-high of #16 in March).

Domi reached her second final at Montréal 2008, beating #6 Elena Dementieva 6-4 6-2 in the second round, #2 Jelena Janković 7-5 6-2 in the quarter-finals and #15 Marion Bartoli 4-6 6-4 6-3 in the semi-finals, before losing 6-2 6-1 to #8 Dinara Safina in the final.

Another highlight that jumps out from Domi's 2008 results is her 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7/4) win over #5 Ana Ivanović in the second round of Moscow.

Domi comes into this match with a 17:9 win/loss record for 2009 (including her four wins here). Not counting towards this record is winning the Hopman Cup for Slovakia (with Dominik Hrbatý): she beat Dinara Safina 6-7 6-1 6-4 in the women's-singles rubber of the final!

Domi reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, beating #186 Channelle Scheepers 6-0 6-0, #75 Chan,Yung-Jan 6-0 6-2 and #56 Virginie Razzano 7-5 7-5, before losing 6-2 6-2 to #4 Elena Dementieva.

Domi reached the third round of Dubai, but retired against #75 Elena Vesnina with heat-illness when trailing 6-4 1-6 0-4. She lost her opening match at Indian Wells 7-6 6-0 to another very short player: #121 Nuria Llagostera Vives. She reached the third round of Miami, but retired against #21 Anabel Medina Garrigues with cramping at 5-5 in the third set.

Domi's clay-court season didn't go very well before the French Open. She reached the quarter-finals of Ponte Vedra Beach, but lost 7-5 6-7 6-3 to #63 Elena Vesnina. She reached the quarter-finals of Charleston, but retired against #3 Elena Dementieva with a left-adductor strain when trailing 4-6 0-1. In Fed Cup play, she lost 4-6 6-2 6-3 to #21 Amélie Mauresmo, but beat Alizé Cornet 6-2 5-7 6-4.

Domi lost 6-1 6-1 to #4 Jelena Janković in the first round of Stuttgart, and pulled out of Rome and Madrid with a left-thigh injury, which did not bode well for her French Open chances.

But Domi has reached the quarter-finals with the following results:
1r + Alyona Bondarenko, 6-4 2-6 6-4
2r + Kirsten Flipkens, 6-1 6-0
3r + Gisela Dulko [DF], 6-4 6-2
4r + ÁGNES SZÁVAY [29], 6-2 6-4

Whereas Maria lost 6-2 6-2 to Alyona at Warsaw, and has struggled much more than Domi to reach this stage:
1r + Anastasiya Yakimova, 3-6 6-1 6-2
2r + NADIA PETROVA [11], 6-2 1-6 8-6
3r + Yaroslava Shvedova [Q], 1-6 6-3 6-4
4r + LI,NA [25], 6-4 0-6 6-4

I'm looking forward to another very tough match.

------------------
5. Andrew's wishes (updated after Monday)
------------------

Maria Sharapova [EF]:
qf + DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [20]
sf + VICTORIA AZARENKA [9]
_f + Sorana Cîrstea

----------------------------
6. Order of play for Tuesday
----------------------------

Court Suzanne Lenglen (start 14:00 CEST = 12:00 GMT = 13:00 BST)
MS qf: ROBIN SÖDERLING [23] v NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO [10]
WS qf: Maria Sharapova [EF] v DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [20]
WD qf: (HSIEH,SU-WEI /PENG,SHUAI )[9] v Agnieszka Radwańska/Urszula Radwańska

I'm not happy with this order of play, because it may well mean that the BBC once again use Murray as an excuse not to televise Maria if her match finishes before Murray's! :fiery: Why can't they just start at 11:00 CEST and play all four of the day's Women's and Men's Singles quarter-finals back to back on Chatrier?

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

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Andrew's quarter-final report

=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Major)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Quarter-final scoreboard-report: Sharapova v Cibulková

---------
1. Photos
---------

Various players including Maria:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/picturegalleries/5430846/French-Open-Day-10-In-pictures.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8079328.stm
http://www.tennis.com/features/galleries/FrenchRounds45/

---------------------------------------------------------
2. Quarter-final scoreboard-report: Sharapova v Cibulková (Tuesday 2nd June 2009)
---------------------------------------------------------

- Maria Sharapova [EF] lt. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [20], 0-6 2-6

Maria was playing only her second singles-tournament back after a 9½-month injury-layoff. Her reason for not playing singles in March was that she wasn't fit enough to play for more than four days in a row, so it's not surprising that after four tough three-setters to reach the quarter-finals, she had nothing left.

This is what Maria had to say for herself: "I guess you could only ask your body to do so much. Everything fell a little short today. The pace wasn't there on my strokes, and I was five steps slower. She just played really solid and made me hit a lot of balls, and I came up short today."

Maria was on the verge of a humiliating double bagel as Domi had her first match-point 6-0 *5-0, so I felt a lot better after she won two games, and Domi, after another tough service-game at *5-2, converted her fifth match-point to reach her first Major semi-final.

Domi: "I realised I could beat Maria Sharapova 6-0 6-0 and go to the semi-finals in a Grand Slam [sic], and I got shocked. So when it was 5-2, I knew I was serving and had to make this game."

Maria: "I don't really care about numbers. It's either a 'W' or an 'L', and I prefer 'W'. You know, if it's 7-6 in the third and you come out with a loss, what's the difference?"

If Maria had lost 6-0 6-0, I would have had to kill myself, because I have made an unbreakable vow to report on all her French Open matches, and an unbreakable vow NOT to report on any double bagels she may suffer!


First set
---------
SHARAPOVA ______ 0
CIBULKOVÁ @*@*@* 6

The match was second on Court Suzanne Lenglen, and its chances of being televised by the BBC were shot to pieces when Söderling beat Davydenko 6-1 6-3 6-1 in the previous match even before Azarenka v Safina had finished on Court Philippe Chatrier. So instead of showing this match, the BBC showed Murray v González on both BBC 2 and BBC Red Button. :fiery:

The match started at 16:13 CEST.

Maria serving 0-0: 0/15. 15/15. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Broken.
Domi serving 1-0: 15/0. 15/15. 15/40 (BPx2). Deuce #1. Ad Domi. Deuce #2. Ad Domi. Held.

Two break-points go begging.

Maria serving 0-2: 0/15. 15/15. 15/40 (BP). Broken.
Domi serving 3-0: 0/30. 40/30. Held.

A 0/30 opening wasted, and this is starting to get very embarrassing.

Maria serving 0-4: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/40 (BP). Broken.
Domi serving 5-0: 30/0. 30/15. 40/15 (SP #1). Domi won the first set 6-0 at 16:43 CEST (30m).

Just checked the live-scores thread at http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=380920&page=25 to find out what's going wrong, and apparently, Maria can hardly move.

franny: "She's just all out of sorts, and looks like she has no energy left. Her shots have no sting, and yet she's still missing almost on every ball."

Perhaps it's just as well that the BBC isn't televising this match! :eek:


Second set
----------
SHARAPOVA [email protected]*_ 2
CIBULKOVÁ @*@*@__* 6

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

Despite 30/15, the horrible humiliation continues. :eek:

Domi serving 3-0: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. 40/30. Held.

Apparently, Maria has even resorted to moonballing against the 5'3" Domi! :eek:

Maria serving 0-4: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BP #1). 30/40 (BP #2). Broken.
Domi serving 5-0: 15/0. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). Deuce #1. Ad Domi (MP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Maria (BP #2). Broken.

THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's amazing how hard it is for someone on the verge of a double bagel to actually get it. Anne Keothavong almost did it to Ioana Raluca Olaru at Warsaw, but Olaru came through a deuce-game to avoid complete humiliation, and Keothavong at least took Safina to deuce before Safina did it to her.

Maria serving 1-5: Held to love.

It won't be easy for Domi to serve for the match now, having already failed once and wasted one match-point. Maria certainly has some mental momentum now, though it would still take an unprecedented miracle (has anyone in tennis-history ever recovered from 0-6 0-5 and won?) for her to turn this one around.

Domi serving 5-2: 0/15. 40/15 (MP #2). 40/30 (MP #3). Deuce #1. Ad Domi (MP #4). Deuce #2. Ad Maria (BP). Deuce #3. Ad Domi (MP #5). Domi won 6-0 6-2 at 17:28 CEST (second set 45m, match 1h15m).


Statistics
----------

Maria had a W:UE ratio of 14:27 (first set 4:13, second set 10:14) to Domi's 9:9 (first set 6:1, second set 3:8).

They both got 64% of first serves in (Domi raising hers from 48% for the first set to 74% for the second), but whereas Domi won 69% of the points when she did so, and 45% on second serve, the winning-percentages for Maria were woeful: 44% and 29% (first set: 36% and 17%).

Maria served much faster than Domi: fastest 112-107 mph, average first serve 98-93 mph, average second serve 93-87 mph.

Maria served 2 aces and 5 double faults, Domi one ace and 3 double faults.

Domi broke 6 times from 9 BPs, Maria just once from 3 BPs.

In a baseline-oriented encounter, Domi won 2 of 3 points at the net, Maria 1 of 3.

In points, Domi won 57-37 (first set 26-12, second set 31-25).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

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Re: French Open 2009: Andrew's TV-reports (preview + 1r + 2r + 3r + 4r + QF)

Thanks for all the labour here, Andrew.
 

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Re: French Open 2009: Andrew's TV-reports (preview + 1r + 2r + 3r + 4r + QF)

Oh, how I've missed Dr. Broad's sophisticated copy and paste jobs! :hearts:
 

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Andrew's full second-round TV-report

=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Major)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Second round (Wednesday 27th May 2009)
------------

+ Maria Sharapova [EF] d. NADIA PETROVA [11], 6-2 1-6 8-6

I saw this match on the BBC Red Button, and have just uploaded my full TV-report - including a point-by-point description - to my website:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/french_open2009.html

I've also uploaded slightly extended versions of my first- and third-round scoreboard-reports for Maria. I plan to upload the fourth-round and quarter-final reports before Wimbledon starts.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

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Andrew's full fourth-round TV-report

=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Major)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Photos
------

Maria Sharapova [EF]:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/players/overview/wta310137.html
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=sharapova

------------
Fourth round (Sunday 31st May 2009)
------------

+ Maria Sharapova [EF] d. LI,NA [25], 6-4 0-6 6-4

I saw this match on the BBC Red Button, and have just uploaded my full TV-report - including a point-by-point description - to my website:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/french_open2009.html

I've also uploaded a slightly extended version of my quarter-final scoreboard-report for Maria.

The rest of my Birmingham-reports will have to wait until after Wimbledon (except possibly Wednesday's, which I may have time to finish on the middle Sunday).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

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First-round TV-report

=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Major)
=============
First round (Monday 25th May 2009)
-----------

+ Maria Sharapova [EF] d. Anastasiya Yakimova, 3-6 6-1 6-2

I acquired Fox Sports' (Australia) coverage of this match from Tennis Videos International last month. This coverage starts at 3-1* in the third set, and I have updated my report accordingly.

My main observations are that Maria's right shoulder was taped, she hit the ball extremely hard (especially her serve), grunted very loudly, and was always looking to move towards the net, as she clearly doesn't want to get bogged down in long baseline-rallies on clay. The clay did neuter her power to some extent, allowing Yakimova to put back in play several balls that would have been irretrievable on faster surfaces than clay.

My full TV-report – which includes a point-by-point description, and transcriptions of selected commentary – is now available on my new website (along with my existing TV-reports on Maria's second- and fourth-round matches, which were televised by the BBC):

http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/shara/french_open2009.html

====================
More reports to come
====================

I also acquired Maria's French Open 2009 third-round match (against Yaroslava Shvedova, from *1-2 in the third set), which I plan to write up by 15th March 2010.

The other match I acquired is the Australian Open 2010 first round between Maria Sharapova and Maria Kirilenko: it's the full match, which lasted 3h22m, so writing it up will be an absolute marathon! I make no promises as to when I might finish it, but ideally I'd like to complete it before the next French Open (i.e. by 21st May 2010).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 

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Andrew's third-round TV-report

===========
FRENCH OPEN (Roland Garros, Paris, France; red clay; Major)
===========
Third round (Friday 29th May 2009)
-----------

+ Maria Sharapova [EF] d. Yaroslava Shvedova [Q], 1-6 6-3 6-4

I acquired Fox Sports' (Australia) coverage of the match from Tennis Videos International in December 2009. This coverage starts at *1-2 (40/15) in the third, and I have updated my report accordingly.

My full TV-report – which includes a point-by-point description, and transcriptions of selected commentary – is now available on my new website (along with my existing TV-reports on Maria's first-, second- and fourth-round matches):

http://abroad.sqweebs.org/tennis/shara/french_open2009.html

I am well aware that I am posting my report more than a year after the match was played. I actually had my report finished and ready to upload three months ago, but due to Sqweebs having its server disabled in March, and only coming back at the start of the French Open 2010, I didn't have a chance to post it before now.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
 
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