Two time Sony Ericsson Open finalist Maria Sharapova commenced her bid for the title by trouncing her third round rival. Sharapova destroyed Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 6-0.
From the first ball strike, Sharapova made her presence felt. After an early break and consolidating, with Lisicki serving at 2-4, Sharapova went up triple break point. Although Lisicki got to deuce, it was just delaying the inevitable. In the end, Sharapova captured another break and closed out the set.
After getting the break the initial game of the second set, Sharapova rolled on to clinch a spot into the third round.
Subsequent to the match, Sharapova commented that it was good that it was “pretty straightforward. . .a little tricky with the conditions. [Lisicki] is someone [who] can fire the ball really well and hits pretty solid[ly] from both sides. She’s someone [who]‘s beaten top players before. . . I knew that she would come out swinging pretty hard and deep. So I just wanted to be aggressive from the beginning.”
Sharapova recently changed coaches to Thomas Hogstedt. As such, MiamiTennisNews.com inquired how the relationship was working out and what he was bringing to her game which was lacking “ it’s brought a lot of fresh, new things for me. I worked with Michael [Joyce] for many, many years. . .we had so many achievements together. It was really, really fun and we’re still the best of friends. But bringing in Thomas has just brought fresher perspectives and a lot of enthusiasm into the practice. He’s a professional coach and has a lot of experience behind his back. [He] goes about his business, just trying to make me a better player”.
Sharapova has recently changed rackets from Prince to Head, MiamiTennisNews.com wanted to determine whether her shoulder surgery factored into that decision. Sharapova replied “absolutely not. I actually tried the Head frames end of October/November, and had a few different brands, few different frames. It was one of the new racquets and new technology that Head was working on. I hit a couple of balls with it, and I think some players have a feeling when they’ve played a really long time that they know something works for them. I loved the feel of it. I loved how it helped me when I was on the run [therefore the change]”.
Fourth seed Samantha Stosur also had a comfortable first set against Lucie Safarova. Although the second set was more competitive, Stosur prevailed 6-0,7-6.
Sharapova and Stosur will go toe to toe in the fourth round. Despite Sharapova dominating their past encounters, it has been a long time since these two have meet.
With shoulder surgery two years ago, Sharapova emphasized that the two are really starting at zero. Sharapova cited “ she’s a top 5 player, and she’s been so consistent, so tough to beat. I really look forward to that. We haven’t played each other in a while. . . Personally, I have to put the previous encounters behind, take a few things that worked well for me and try to use them again, but also know that we did play a while ago. It’s always a new match”.
Lisicki was disappointed that she was not able to perform better. It has been a slow process coming off an ankle injury. Lisicki missed most of the tour last year, she is grateful to back on the court.
The German is cognizant that she has a difficult road ahead of her. Lisicki is currently training at the Bolleteri Academy and has been practicing well. But, she underscored that training cannot be a substitute for a true match environment. As such, she just wants to get back into the routine of day in and day out competing in a real match setting.
At her peak, Lisicki was ranked at 23, now she is at 217. So, MiamiTennisNews wanted to know what her goal was this year, Lisicki responded that the immediate objective was to return to the top 100 which will allow her more direct entries into the draws.
Earlier in the day, 2006 Sony Ericsson Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Shuai Peng 6-3, 6-1.
Jelena Jankovic defeated Klara Zakopalova in straight sets. Next up for Jankovic is Anabel Medina Garrigues who bounces tenth seed Shahar Peer in the second round. Medina Garrigues ousted Elena Vesnina in two sets to go through to the fourth round.
Andrea Petkovic is in fine form. The German had no difficulty booting Iveta Benesova 6-0, 6-3 in reaching the fourth round. Petkovic awaits the winner of the Caroline Wozniacki/ Daniela Hantuchova match which will be the last one for the night session.