Tag Archive | "Clijsters"

Serena Williams Silences Sharapova for a record Sixth Sony Open Title

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Serena Williams Silences Sharapova for a record Sixth Sony Open Title


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Serena Williams repelled Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 to win her sixth trophy at the Sony Open surpassing Steffi Graff with whom she was previously tied.

Williams had already made Sony Open history in the semifinals with the most victories on the women side, 60. Now, she wanted to stand in a league of her own by also capturing the trophy.

But, it was Sharapova in search of her first Sony Open crown, after failing four previous times, who handled the breezy conditions and the bright sun well early on. Subsequent to wasting three break point chances in a marathon eleven minute game, Sharapova fabricated a fourth in the fifth service game.

On that occasion when Williams’ backhand found the net, Sharapova converted the break for 3-2. However, the world number one applied the necessary pressure to bank the next game and square the set at 3 all.

Williams was not at her best on serve, frequently catching her toss and shading her eyes. In the ninth game, Williams double faulted to gift Sharapova a break point. When on the following point Williams dumped a forehand crosscourt into the net, Sharapova was in front 5-4.

With a love game replete with miscues by Williams, Sharapova sealed the first set. At that point, a visibly annoyed Williams slammed her racket against her chair, her wakeup call.

With an ace, Williams capped a love hold to start the second set. Then, by pushing Sharapova around, she got the break for 2-0.

Yet, a bevy of mistakes by Williams led to an ephemeral lead as Sharapova fabricated triple break point. As Williams fumbled another forehand, the players were back on serve.

Later, Sharapova set up triple break point once more with a backhand winner. By winning the fifth game, at 3-2, Sharapova was three holds from grabbing the elusive title and completing the rare feat of hoisting both the Indian Wells and Miami trophies. It has only been accomplished three times, last by Kim Clijsters in 2005.

Again though, Williams found the emergency brake. With two consecutive winners and a stellar return, Williams was at triple break point. As Sharapova’s stroke kissed the net’s bottom, the second set was leveled at 3 all.

Later courtesy of a double fault, Williams had a break point. She took a 5-3 lead when Sharapova committed another forehand error. Williams closed out the second set with an ace.

The decisive set became a nightmare for Sharapova. In the opening game, the world number two could not stave off double break point. Subsequent to Williams consolidating for 2-0, Sharapova threw in two successive double faults to provide her rival with an insurance break.

Williams pushed the cruise control button, capitalizing on a seventh break point to make it 100% conversion for the match and 5-0. Williams went on a ten game in a row tear to close out the championship.

Sharapova has gone down to Williams now in eleven successive encounters. She last triumphed in 2004. Today, in their maiden meeting in the final in Miami, Sharapova felt she wasted too many chances particularly in the second set “ I still had opportunities to get back at 3-4. I was up 40-15 and Love-30 in the next game. . . those are the games that you really need to keep challenging out there and keep being in them. . .those are the chances that you will have to take . . .if you want to win the match”.

Despite her heavy schedule up to this point, Sharapova cited fatigue was not a factor “ I feel fine. I’m very happy, very fortunate that I’ve been able to play. . . I have had a really great month and I think I can only take positives out of it, really”.

Clay is the next stop for the women’s tour. As the defending French Open champion, Sharapova is looking forward to Paris “when you experience such a nice moment in your career, to be able to come back there and to play on that court again where you lifted the trophy, it’s always special and meaningful. Especially for the amount of years that you’ve worked so hard to get to that point. I’ll treat it as any other title that maybe I haven’t won and really want to win because I would love to win it again”.

For the match, Williams’ first serve percentage was 51. She fired 35 winners and 32 unforced errors and was behind 4-6, 2-3. Sharapova connected on 64% of her first serves, struck 13 winners and 23 unforced errors.

The statistics explain Williams’ surprise in pulling off the victory “I honestly can’t say right now [how I turned it around]. I just feel everything was going so fast. . . I was just making so many errors. I just was like, Serena, are you really going to get to the final and not play up to your potential? I don’t think I had enough energy. I think I may have done too much work yesterday, may have hit too long, done too much gym”.

Williams’ strategy to get back into the match “at one point, I was just like, conserve your energy and try and relax and play better”. The serve was not a weapon today. Williams was hitting the first ball at times at 79 mph “I honestly have not served great this whole tournament, if you look at the stats. It hasn’t been my best week serving wise. Usually in the later rounds, I’m able to pick it up and do a little better. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that today, so I had to rely on other parts of my game”.

Williams has eyed that sixth trophy since 2009 when she lost to Victoria Azarenka in the final. This week, she even biked to the tournament to assure she would make her third round match.

Now, Williams will shift her focus to the clay in search of a companion for her lonely 2008 French Open trophy, the only major she possesses just one of. Clay is perhaps Williams’ most challenging surface. But, she does not view it as such “I think it’s only as hard as you say it is. I happen to love Roland Garros and I’m happy to play there. Hopefully I can just take it one match at a time. That’s in the future. I’m just going to do it one step at a time”.

Today’s performance by Williams qualifies as “winning ugly”. If on her worst day, Williams can walk away with the Sony Open, her 16th major, a second French Open may not be far behind.

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Sharapova Rolls Past Jankovic, Back in Sony Open Final

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Sharapova Rolls Past Jankovic, Back in Sony Open Final


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Maria Sharapova is into her fifth Sony Open final after taking out Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-1 in the first women’s semifinal in Miami.

Sharapova is attempting to win her first ever title in Miami as well as completing the Indian Wells/Miami double. The last player to achieve that feat was Kim Clijsters in 2005.

“Yeah, I mean, it would be nice, but, you know, winning a title on its own, whether it’s here or Indian Wells, is a great achievement on its own”, said Sharapova. “To be able to come back from that and, you know, recover in just a few days and come back to the final here, I mean, it’s great.”

Asked about her chances in Saturday’s final Sharapova responded, “Well, it’s another final. It’s great to be putting myself in a position of this tournament to get into finals. I don’t know who has been in five finals of this event in the women’s draw, so it’s certainly, you know, a big consistent at this tournament but yet I haven’t won it, so it would mean a lot for me to be the champion here.”

A finalist in Miami in 2008, Jankovic had a quick turn over today after her match versus Vinci last night lasted over two hours.

“I served poorly today. I had a really low percentage of first serves. Overall, I wasn’t moving. I felt heavy on the court.”, said Jankovic. “I felt really tired and exhausted. So I didn’t really have enough time to recover. I finished the match last night at 11:00. I went to sleep at 1:00 by the time I came back to the hotel. Woke up early, had to play. So the schedule was tough. So today I wasn’t on the top of my game, and I wasn’t playing the way I wanted to, you know, especially on a big occasion like playing the semifinals.”

Sharapova will face either 2012 Sony Open champion Agnieszka Radwanska or Serena Williams in Saturday’s final. Radwanska faces Williams in the second semifinal match tonight in Miami.

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Wozniacki Fetters Serena Williams at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Wozniacki Fetters Serena Williams at the Sony Ericsson Open



The last time Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki collided, it was at the U.S. Open. Williams schooled the former world number one en route to the final. Tonight, in the quarterfinals at the Sony Ericsson Open, Wozniacki recorded her maiden win over the multiple majors champion. The Dane sent Williams packing 6-4, 6-4 to advance to her initial semifinal in Miami.

The two had battled on three previous occasions with Williams the victor. Following comfortable holds by both players, Williams saw a winner fly by to set up break point for her opponent. Wozniacki capitalized thanks to an errant forehand from Williams.
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Federer, Djokovic, Serena and Sharapova Highlight at Sony Ericsson Open

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Federer, Djokovic, Serena and Sharapova Highlight at Sony Ericsson Open


The order of play for Saturday at the Sony Ericsson Open is stacked with marquee matches. Action gets under way with five-time Miami champion Serena Williams facing of with Roberta Vinci. Andy Roddick will also be in action taking on Gilles Muller. Roger Federer begins his campaign to add another Miami title to his resume when he takes on Ryan Harrison. Sharapova will round out the day matches on Stadium court in a match up with Sloane Stephens.

The Grandstand court will also feature premiere matches with the likes of David Ferrer, Kim Clijsters, Mardy Fish and Juan Martin Del Potro scheduled to play.

The night session is highlighted by 2011 Sony Ericsson Open champion Novak Djokovic. Djokovic will play his first match in Miami against Marcos Baghdatis. The night session concludes with Samantha Stosur versus Chanelle Scheepers.

Here is today’s complete order of play :

Saturday, March 24, 2012

STADIUM Start 11:00 am
[21] Roberta Vinci (ITA) v [10] Serena Williams (USA) WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
Gilles Muller (LUX) v [31] Andy Roddick (USA) ATP
[3] Roger Federer (SUI) v [WC] Ryan Harrison (USA) ATP
[Q] Sloane Stephens (USA) v [2] Maria Sharapova (RUS) WTA

Starting at 8:00 PM

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) ATP
[6] Samantha Stosur (AUS) v Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) WTA

GRANDSTAND Start 11:00 am

Bernard Tomic (AUS) v [5] David Ferrer (ESP) ATP
[Q] Sergei Bubka (UKR) v [14] Gael Monfils (FRA) ATP
Kim Clijsters (BEL) v [23] Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) WTA
[Q] Frank Dancevic (CAN) v [8] Mardy Fish (USA) ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
[11] Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) v Ivo Karlovic (CRO) ATP

COURT 1 Start 11:00 am

[17] Richard Gasquet (FRA) v Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) ATP
[8] Na Li (CHN) v Iveta Benesova (CZE) WTA
[28] Kevin Anderson (RSA) v Sam Querrey (USA) ATP
[12] Nicolas Almagro (ESP) v [Q] David Goffin (BEL) ATP

Not Before 6:00 PM
[29] Petra Cetkovska (CZE) v [4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) WTA

COURT 2 Start 11:00 am

[17] Shuai Peng (CHN) v [12] Sabine Lisicki (GER) WTA
[Q] Bjorn Phau (GER) v [20] Fernando Verdasco (ESP) ATP
Albert Ramos (ESP) v [15] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) ATP
[1] Bob Bryan (USA)/Mike Bryan (USA)v
[WC] Paul Hanley (AUS)/Bernard Tomic (AUS) ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
Kevin Anderson (RSA)/Milos Raonic (CAN) v
[3] Michael Llodra (FRA)/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) ATP

COURT 3 Start 11:00 am

[21] Juan Monaco (ARG) v Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) ATP
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP)/Flavia Pennetta (ITA) v
Chia-Jung Chuang (TPE)/Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) WTA
Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) v [23] Marin Cilic (CRO) ATP
Eric Butorac (USA)/Bruno Soares (BRA) v
[2] Max Mirnyi (BLR)/Daniel Nestor (CAN) ATP

COURT 6 Start 11:00 am

[5] Mariusz Fyrstenberg (POL)/Marcin Matkowski (POL) v
Lukasz Kubot (POL)/Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) ATP
[6] Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v
Jurgen Melzer (AUT)/Jamie Murray (GBR) ATP
[Q] Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) v [27] Viktor Troicki (SRB) ATP
[8] Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)/Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
vVera Dushevina (RUS)/Shahar Peer (ISR) WTA

COURT 7 Start 11:00 am

[WC] Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)/Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v
[7] Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)/Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) WTA
[30] Julien Benneteau (FRA) v Benjamin Becker (GER) ATP
Vania King (USA)/Monica Niculescu (ROU) v
Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN)/Shuai Zhang (CHN) WTA
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE)/Shuai Peng (CHN) v
[5] Maria Kirilenko (RUS)/Nadia Petrova (RUS) WTA

COURT 8 Start 11:00 am

Mona Barthel (GER) v Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) WTA
[3] Sania Mirza (IND)/Elena Vesnina (RUS) v
[WC] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)/Lucie Safarova (CZE) WTA
Tomas Berdych (CZE)/Lukas Dlouhy (CZE) v
Santiago Gonzalez (MEX)/Scott Lipsky (USA) ATP
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)/Jie Zheng (CHN) v
Natalie Grandin (RSA)/Vladimira Uhlirova (CZE) WTA

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Sharapova, Serena, Nadal and Wozniacki Highlight Action at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Sharapova, Serena, Nadal and Wozniacki Highlight Action at the Sony Ericsson Open



The women take center stage Thursday at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open. Thursday’s schedule features six women’s Grand Slam champions as well as three former Sony Ericsson champions.

Maria Sharapova, a two-time runner up at the Sony Ericsson Open, opens her campaign this year by taking on Shahar Peer.

Serena Williams, a five-time Miami champion, begins her quest for a record breaking sixth title when she faces Shuai Zhang in her opening round match.

Two-time Sony Ericsson Open champion Kim Clijsters is up against Julia Goerges while 2006 Sony Ericsson Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova takes on Iveta Benesova.

Also in action on Thursday are 2011 US Open champion Smantah Stosur and 2011 French Open champion Na Li.

Not to be outdone by the women, 10-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal also takes to the courts on Thursday. The Spaniard team of Nadal and Marcel Granollers will face off against the Croatian team of Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic.

In the night session, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki plays against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova followed by Sam Querry versus Matthew Ebden.

Here is Thursday’s complete order of play :

Thursday, March 22, 2012

STADIUM Start 11:00 am

[WC] Ryan Harrison (USA) v Potito Starace (ITA) ATP
[WC] Shuai Zhang (CHN) v [10] Serena Williams (USA) WTA
Shahar Peer (ISR) v [2] Maria Sharapova (RUS) WTA

Marin Cilic (CRO)/Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v
Marcel Granollers (ESP)/Rafael Nadal (ESP) ATP

Starting at 7:30 PM
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)v [4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) WTA
Sam Querrey (USA) v Matthew Ebden (AUS) ATP

GRANDSTAND Start 11:00 am

[13] Jelena Jankovic (SRB) v Mona Barthel (GER) WTA
[14] Julia Goerges (GER)v Kim Clijsters (BEL) WTA
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) v Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)ATP
[6] Samantha Stosur (AUS) v [Q] Valeria Savinykh (RUS) WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[Q] David Goffin (BEL) v Donald Young (USA) ATP

COURT 1 Start 11:00 am

Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) v [WC] Jesse Levine (USA)ATP
Iveta Benesova (CZE) v [26] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) WTA
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) v Bernard Tomic (AUS) ATP
[8] Na Li (CHN) v [Q] Melinda Czink (HUN) WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[29] Petra Cetkovska (CZE) v Christina Mchale (USA) WTA

COURT 2 Start 11:00 am

Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) v [12] Sabine Lisicki (GER)WTA
Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) v [25] Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) WTA
[Q] Sergei Bubka (UKR) v Ernests Gulbis (LAT)ATP
[Q] Bjorn Phau (GER v Carlos Berlocq (ARG) ATP
[Q] Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) v [Q] Rajeev Ram (USA) ATP

COURT 3 Start 11:00 am

Albert Ramos (ESP) v [Q] Simone Bolelli (ITA) ATP
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) v Flavio Cipolla (ITA) ATP
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) v [19] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) WTA
Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) v Gilles Muller (LUX) ATP

COURT 6 Start 11:00 am
Lukasz Kubot (POL) v Ivo Karlovic (CRO) ATP
Benjamin Becker (GER) v Olivier Rochus (BEL) ATP
Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)/Xavier Malisse (BEL) v [3] Michael Llodra (FRA)/ Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) ATP
Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) v Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) ATP
Daniele Bracciali (ITA)/Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) v [8] Frantisek Cermak (CZE)/Filip Polasek (SVK) ATP

COURT 7 Start 11:00 am
[21] Roberta Vinci (ITA) v Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) WTA
Marina Erakovic (NZL) v [23] Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) WTA
[17] Shuai Peng (CHN) v [Q] Stephanie Foretz Gacon (FRA) WTA

Not Before 3:30 PM
[30] Sara Errani (ITA) v Sloane Stephens (USA) WTA
Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS)/Alexandra Panova (RUS) v
Andreja Klepac (SLO)/Alicja Rosolska (POL) WTA

COURT 8 Start 11:00 am

[8] Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)/Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) v
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)/Nina Bratchikova (RUS) WTA
Eva Birnerova (CZE)/Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (POL) v
[4] Andrea Hlavackova (CZE)/Lucie Hradecka (CZE) WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
Nicolas Mahut (FRA)/Gilles Simon (FRA) v Kevin Anderson (RSA)
/Milos Raonic (CAN) ATP
[Q] Frank Dancevic (CAN) v Jeremy Chardy (FRA) ATP
Oliver Marach (AUT)/Alexander Peya (AUT) v
Nicolas Almagro (ESP)/Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) ATP

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Clijsters, Venus and Gonzalez On Tap At the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open

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Clijsters, Venus and Gonzalez On Tap At the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open



Opening day at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open kicks off with four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters taking on Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia in first round action. Two-time winner at the Sony Ericsson Open, Clijsters is playing in her first event since her semifinal appearance at the Australian Open.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams will also be taking to the courts during Wednesday’s day session. Williams, a three-time winner at the Sony Ericsson Open, will face Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan in her first round match.

On the men’s side, 2008 Sony Ericsson Open champion Nikolay Davydenko will face James Blake. Argentine David Nalbandian takes on Steve Darcis of Belgium.

The night session is headlined by Fernando Gonzalez of Chile. A 13-year veteran on the ATP tour, Gonzalez is playing in his final tournament and will retire after the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open. Gonzalez’s opponent will be Nicholas Mahut of France.

In the second match of the night session, American Christina McHale will face off with Galina Voskoboeva.

Here is today’s complete order of play :

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

STADIUM Start 11:00 am

Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) v Kim Clijsters (BEL) WTA
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) v James Blake (USA) ATP
[WC] Venus Williams (USA) v Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) WTA
David Nalbandian (ARG) v Steve Darcis (BEL) ATP

Starting at 7:30 PM
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) v [WC] Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) ATP
Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) v Christina Mchale (USA) WTA

GRANDSTAND Start 11:00 am

Gisela Dulko (ARG) v Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) WTA
Ryan Sweeting (USA) v Lukas Lacko (SVK) ATP
[Q] Guillaume Rufin (FRA) v Tommy Haas (GER) ATP
Vania King (USA) v Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) WTA
[Q] Jamie Hampton (USA) v Polona Hercog (SLO) WTA

COURT 1 Start 11:00 am

Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) v Frederico Gil (POR) ATP
Shahar Peer (ISR) v [Q] Alize Cornet (FRA) WTA
[Q] Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) v Xavier Malisse (BEL) ATP
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) v [Q] Madison Keys (USA) WTA
Anastasiya Yakimova (BLR) v Ksenia Pervak (KAZ) WTA

COURT 2 Start 11:00 am

Robin Haase (NED) v [WC] Marinko Matosevic (AUS) ATP
Pablo Andujar (ESP) v Santiago Giraldo (COL) ATP
[Q] Antonio Veic (CRO) v [WC] Denis Kudla (USA) ATP
[WC] Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) WTA
Ayumi Morita (JPN) v [WC] Garbine Muguruza Blanco (ESP) WTA

COURT 3 Start 11:00 am

Alejandro Falla (COL) v Denis Istomin (UZB) ATP
[WC] Olivia Rogowska (AUS) v [Q] Stephanie Foretz Gacon (FRA) WTA
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v [Q] Sloane Stephens (USA) WTA

COURT 6 Start 3:00 pm

Dudi Sela (ISR) v [Q] Arnaud Clement (FRA) ATP
Philipp Petzschner (GER) v Ivan Dodig (CRO) ATP

COURT 7 Start 11:00 am

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) ATP
Michael Llodra (FRA) v Lukas Rosol (CZE) ATP
Alberta Brianti (ITA) v [Q] Melinda Czink (HUN) WTA
[Q] Roberto Bautista-Agut (ESP) v Andreas Seppi (ITA) ATP
[Q] Urszula Radwanska (POL) v [Q] Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) WTA

COURT 8 Start 11:00 am

Elena Vesnina (RUS) v Iveta Benesova (CZE) WTA
[Q] Vera Dushevina (RUS) v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) WTA
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) v [Q] Valeria Savinykh (RUS) WTA
[Q] Eva Birnerova (CZE) v Michaella Krajicek (NED) WTA
[Q] Misaki Doi (JPN) v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) WTA

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Kvitova Turns Sharapova Away for Wimbledon Title

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Kvitova Turns Sharapova Away for Wimbledon Title


In 2004, at the age of 17, Maria Sharapova advanced to her first major final and stunned the overwhelming favorite Serena Williams at Wimbledon. Seven years hence, in her second final at the All England Club, Sharapova ran into an intrepid twenty-one year old copycat. Petra Kvitova, a lefty from the Czech Republic, shocked the Russian 6-3,6-4 to prevail in her maiden major final.

After Kvitova was broken to open the match, it seemed that nerves would be the deciding factor in the match. However, Kvitova manufactured triple break point and capitalized to get back on serve.

Her next service game, Kvitova wiped out break point to hold for 2-1. Later, subsequent to a forehand winner by Kvitova, Sharapova double faulted to hand her opponent break point. Sharapova produced a second double fault to give Kvitova a 4-2 edge.

With great serving, Kvitova consolidated for a 5-2 advantage. By relentlessly pressuring Sharapova’s serve, Kvitova came to her first set point when her counterpart dumped a forehand into the net.

Yet, with an ace, Sharapova cleared that hurdle. Ultimately, Sharapova guarded serve for 3-5. Still, at love, a serene Kvitova secured the first set.

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Serena and Venus Are Back: Wimbledon Is Anyone’s Trophy

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Serena and Venus Are Back: Wimbledon Is Anyone’s Trophy


The Williams sisters made their long awaited return to competitive tennis this week. Despite being rusty, with nine of the last eleven championships at the All England Club, Venus and Serena are among the favorites. Moreover, the Wimbledon draw sets up the potential for a fifth all Williams final. Here’s a more detailed analysis.

World number one Caroline Wozniacki hopes to validate her ranking with a first major. However, Wozniacki will need to do some heavy lifting to achieve that feat.

In the quarterfinals, Wozniacki may have to go through 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova. In addition, for the Dane, a semifinal encounter with defending and four time winner Serena or reigning French Open champion Na Li may be in the cards. Needless to say, Wozniacki will have to work hard to earn her maiden major.

Serena will begin her title defense by facing the talented Aravane Rezai in the first round. In the fourth round, Serena could see another sizeable French hurdle in 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli.

Later, in the quarterfinals, Serena may clash against Li who is no push over. In Li’s case, Sabine Lisicki may present difficulties in the second round. Lisicki has been regaining her form and confidence as is evident with her recent title in Birmingham.

Sharapova is again in the mix at another major. While a first round match with countrywoman Anna Chakvetadze could be testy, Sharapova should come through. Sharapova is likely to have a tougher time in the fourth round if Samantha Stosur is the opponent.

Serena had been out of commission nearly a year. For the seventh seed to claim her fifth Wimbledon crown, she will have to come up with the type of performance which resulted in her surprise victory at the Australian Open in 2007. With Serena’s track record, it’s certainly hard to bet against her. Yet, with Ana Ivanovic, Maria Kirilenko, Flavia Pennetta and Julia Goerges in the top half of the draw, there is an endless list of players capable of pulling off an upset.

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Chinese First:  Li Na Clutches French Open Title

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Chinese First: Li Na Clutches French Open Title



From the outset, this year’s French Open title was up for grabs. Still, a final featuring world number five and defending champion Francesca Schiavone and world number six Li Na was a surprise. Today, Li defeated Schiavone 6-4,7-6 to become the first Chinese player to capture a major.

With a combined age of over sixty, this was the most mature major women’s final since Wimbledon 1998 whereby Jana Novotna prevailed over Nathalie Tauziat. At 30 years of age, in her first final since her title at Roland Garros, Schiavone was hoping to end her trophy drought by successfully repeating.

Since becoming the first Chinese individual to reach a major final, Li fell off the radar. After the Australian Open, the 29 year old failed to advance beyond the second round at any hardcourt event. Ultimately, the clay proved therapeutic with two semifinal showings by Li in Madrid and Rome.

After each woman held her initial two games, with a backhand volley winner, Li had double break point. With Schiavone’s forehand up the line sailing wide, Li pocketed the break. By consolidating with a love game, Li moved ahead 4-2.

With Schiavone unable to fabricate a break point, the one game difference was all Li required to seize the first set.

There was a serenity about Li which was absent in her first major final. Li had clearly learned from her loss to Kim Clijsters in Melbourne. With sizzling forehands, Li had double digit winners in the first set.

Furthermore, early on, it was conspicuous that Schiavone’s use of spin, slice, volley and overall variety were not throwing Li off balance. Instead, it was the Italian who was finding herself on her back heel.

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Women’s Field Wide Open at French Open

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Women’s Field Wide Open at French Open



With the exception of one Federation Cup match last year, Kim Clijsters has not competed on clay since the French Open in 2006. Nevertheless, with Clijsters triumphant at the last two majors and considering the state of the women’s game, the Belgian can play herself into form and is consequently a serious contender for the French Open trophy.

Strangely enough, Maria Sharapova is also a favorite on clay. The Russian’s victory in Rome two weeks ago demonstrates that she can power her way to a title on this surface. As such, Sharapova deserves to be in the column of players to beware of.

More so than previous years, there has been no standout on the red clay this season. Julia Goerges surprised world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the final in Stuttgart. Petra Kvitova made her debut into the top ten with her victory in Madrid, stunning world number four Victoria Azarenka.

Therefore, any one residing in the vicinity of the ten best from world number three Vera Zvonareva to Azarenka to defending champion Francesca Schiavone to Kvitova has a fair shot at hoisting the title. The French Open draw is revealed. Here’s an analysis of the key match-ups.

Wozniacki’s first round opponent is Kimiko Date-Krumm. The Japanese is know for pulling upsets at majors. Last year, she shocked Dinara Safina in the same round. As a result, Wozniacki will have no time to relax early on.

Another challenging encounter for the world number one could come in the third round where she may face 2009 French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova. Wozniacki’s progression to the final could be further complicated by 2010 finalist Samantha Stosur or Goerges in the quarterfinals and either Jelena Jankovic, Zvonareva, or Schiavone in the semifinals.

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