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Hingis shocks Sharapova
From correspondents in Tokyo
February 4, 2006

MARTINA Hingis stunned top seed Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-1 at the Pan Pacific Open today to reach her first final since coming out of retirement.

The former world No.1, a Tokyo winner in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002, outclassed defending champion Sharapova in every department to earn a place in her seventh Pan Pacific final.

Wildcard Hingis will face another Russian, Elena Dementieva tomorrow's championship match after the second seed's 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory over compatriot Anastasia Myskina.

"It feels like being back in time," a grinning Hingis said.

"I knew I still had some game in me. You just have to start believing. I believe I still can play really good tennis.

"It took me three years to recharge my body and my brain. This week I've shown a better game than at the Australian Open. I'm improving with every tournament."

Sharapova, who was just 15 when ankle injuries forced the Swiss into premature retirement in 2002, simply had no answer to Hingis's guile and precision, surrendering in just 66 minutes.

Hingis returned to the game last month, reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals and winning the mixed doubles title with India's Mahesh Bhupathi.

The "Swiss Miss", who won five grand slam singles titles between 1997 and 1999, rolled back the years, mixing power with sublime touch and making Sharapova look ordinary at times.

Sharapova resorted to delaying tactics, turning her back several times as Hingis, playing in her 99th career semi-final, prepared to serve – but to no avail.

Hingis secured the crucial break to go 4-3 up in the first set when her backhand clipped the top of the net and stopped dead.

The second set was one-way traffic.

Hingis broke in the third game when Sharapova netted a backhand and again to go ahead 4-1 after a wild forehand from the world number four.

"She still has a lot of experience and feel for the game," shrugged Sharapova.

"In the second set I didn't really have that fighting spirit I usually have.

"You know, 'could've, would've, should've' but didn't."

The 25-year-old Hingis was unranked three weeks ago but climbed to 117th after her strong run in Melbourne. Her victory over Sharapova will lift Hingis to just outside the top 50.

In the later match, Dementieva outlasted fourth seed Myskina in a fiercely contested encounter to set up a fifth career meeting with Hingis.

"For me Martina is the best player in the world," said Dementieva, who won her last two matches against Hingis in 2001 and 2002. "I'm so excited to play her. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to play tomorrow. I'll do everything I can to beat her."



Interesting how Elena said Martina is the best player in the world? Bit premature i think but anyway - maybe she's trying to take the pressure off herself.

I hope Marti continues her winning ways - would be great for her to get a Tier 1 so early in her comeback!
 

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Do Maria do that the delaying tactics? :rolleyes: The media never fails to exaggerate things...
 

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Hingie said:
Hingis shocks Sharapova
From correspondents in Tokyo
February 4, 2006

"For me Martina is the best player in the world," said Dementieva, who won her last two matches against Hingis in 2001 and 2002. "I'm so excited to play her. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to play tomorrow. I'll do everything I can to beat her."
Hmmm, I agree, very interesting comment......In some ways I actually agree with her. Maybe she means the best player she's ever played against, though it's still a pretty amazing statement. Only time will tell, I guess.

Great article, thanks! :D
 

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Mark for Martina said:
I think she's trying to pull a Pennetta here. :tape:
I don't think Pennetta would win a set against Martina now with BIG confidence. If they play again, that would be totally different story. ;)
 

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Hingie said:
"For me Martina is the best player in the world," said Dementieva
Wow, Dementieva is absolutely right on that point, I think. :D
And one more thing, Martina's game is the most beautiful and graceful than any other's in history,.... both men's & women's. :hearts: Just great!
I should start following tennis again.
 

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migi said:
Why did Maria give up to fight back in the 2nd set, Any reason for that?
she was outplayed and outsmarted?

anyway nice comments for hingis by dementieva
 

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Has Elena admired Marti growing up?
 

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Finally, there's just Nat' Dechy who made Hingis suffering during this week!Hope Lena will be able to play her best tomorrow!I really think she can win and hope so!!!
 

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migi said:
Why did Maria give up to fight back in the 2nd set, Any reason for that?
Its a "I beat myself " comment which will cause her the same problems as it has other people who make them when they lose. Truth was she tried but was outmanouvered and out played and would have been fighting even harder.

She actually played pretty well - her real question ought to be what can I do better or differently - not to fall back on her ability to fight - change might help, complacency won't. Sometimes bravery doesn't do the job if the tools are not there.
 

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Martian KC said:
Has Elena admired Marti growing up?
Yes. Elena has said Many times Martina is her favourite player - growing up. Sh has tremendous respect for her, and i think it's no tactic for her to say that.
 
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