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Sharapova Keeps on Trucking, Kerber Ousted at Sony Open

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Sharapova Keeps on Trucking, Kerber Ousted at Sony Open


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Maria Sharapova’s quest to capture both the Indian Wells and Miami titles in the same season is still on track. Today at the Sony Open, Sharapova bounced countrywoman Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-2 to book her spot into the fourth round.

At their last showdown in 2010, it was Vesnina who recorded the victory over Sharapova. With these two tied in their head to head 1-1 and Vesnina winning her maiden WTA title in Hobart this January, a decent row was expected between these Russian rivals.

Vesnina got off the block strongly with a love hold to start the match. After Sharapova’s double fault resulted in triple break point, Vesnina later converted for 3-1 when her counterpart misfired with a forehand stroke.

Yet, Sharapova promptly struck back with a break of her own to level the first set at 3 all. Another perpetual game ensued where on a fourth break point opportunity, Sharapova capitalized for 4-3.

Soon, Sharapova consolidated for 5-3. Despite being challenged on serve, the world number two eventually bedded the opening set.

Subsequent to an interminable game to arrive at 1 a piece. Sharapova manufactured triple break point and cemented a 2-1 lead. Henceforth, Sharapova was on cruise control securing a second break and ultimately closing out the last set easily.

Does one game give a glimpse into the outcome of a match? Perhaps. Looking back on the seventh game of the first set, Sharapova stated “I was down 1-3. . . I felt I had a bit of momentum. . . It was a really long one, I was ready for a water break. . .It was a very important game”. Considering the blistering wind and the hot temperature, Sharapova expressed that it was “one of those days when you know you might not be playing your best tennis. . . I got through and on to the next one”.

Depending on how Serena Williams performs in Miami, Sharapova could regain the number one ranking. On the subject, Sharapova cited “it’s always a great position to be in when you put yourself in a position to be close to No. 1. . . I don’t take that for granted. . . But I also know that it’s important to be levelheaded and think about the next [match] rather than the end result. . . So my theory is just to try to win . . .matches. . . and that gives you a better chance to be on top.”

Next up for Sharapova will be Klara Zakopalova. The latter defeated Maria Kirilenko 7-6, 6-4. Sharapova has bested Zakopalova in four of their five meetings, the last one was in Doha this February.

Earlier in the day, sixth seed Angelique Kerber was booted by Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-0. Cirstea will clash in the fourth round with Jelena Jankovic who defeated Nadia Petrova.

American teenager Lauren Davis’ run was halted at the third round by Alize Cornet who triumphed in three sets.

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Sharapova Picks Up French Open Title to Complete Career Slam

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Sharapova Picks Up French Open Title to Complete Career Slam


Eight years after clenching her first major quarterfinal, ironically at Roland Garros, Maria Sharapova can finally call herself French Open champion. Sharapova dispatched Sara Errani, a surprise finalist, 6-3, 6-2 to obtain the career grand slam. Twice a semifinalist in 2007 and 2011, Sharapova now had a golden shot at grabbing the ultimate prize. While this was the third consecutive year that an Italian woman was battling for the title in Paris, for Errani ranked 24th in the world, this was her maiden major final appearance. Experience was certainly key at the start of the match as Sharapova broke on a backhand miscue by Errani to race to a 2-0 advantage. Subsequent to consolidating, Sharapova struck a backhand winner for a double break edge. Aided by two double faults from her opponent, Errani secured her first game and held to narrow the deficit to 2-4. Yet promptly, with a love game, Sharapova extended her lead to 5-2. After Errani fought off double set point to guard serve, Sharapova connected on her third set point with backhand down the line winner. By carrying the opening set 6-3, Sharapova had one hand on the French Open trophy. The second set unfolded similarly to the initial one with Sharapova breaking Errani at love to capture the early break. But, Errani overcame the effect of being a first time finalist at a major and tried to claw her way back. Despite the Italian’s defiance, Sharapova went ahead 2-0. Subsequent to a difficult game, with Sharapova’s backhand sailing long, Errani had a break point. But, Sharapova would not be denied and maintained serve for 3-1.

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Djokovic Retains Sony Ericsson Open Title

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Djokovic Retains Sony Ericsson Open Title



Novak Djokovic banked his 30th ATP title in Miami. The world number one downed Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6 to capture his third trophy at the Sony Ericsson Open. Djokovic became the first player to successfully defend at this event since Roger Federer in 2005-2006.

This was a repeat of the 2009 Miami final. On that occasion, Murray hoisted the big prize. The Brit was appearing in his third final of 2012, victorious in Brisbane and beaten by Federer in Dubai.

At this juncture in 2011, Djokovic was 24-0 with the Australian Open and BNP Paribas Open under his belt. Since winning at the Australian Open, Djokovic has had two defeats, each in the semifinal stage, one of them to Murray.

Out of nowhere in the opening set, after leading 40-0, Murray made two consecutive backhand errors and allowed Djokovic to later get to deuce. Down the road, three successive backhand miscues by Murray resulted in Djokovic converting.
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Radwanska Derails Sharapova for Sony Ericsson Open Championship

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Radwanska Derails Sharapova for Sony Ericsson Open Championship



In front of the biggest crowd in attendance for a women’s final since 1998 at the Sony Ericsson Open, Agneiszka Radwanska, the world number four, who has been impressive the last twelve months surprised world number two Maria Sharapova 7-5, 6-4 to bank her first title in Miami.

These two ladies had battled eight previous times with Sharapova coming out on top on seven occasions. Radwanska’s sole win was as an eighteen year old at the U.S. Open in 2007. Consequently, all seemed in Sharapova’s favor as she tried to capture her first Sony Ericsson title after being disappointed on three prior tries, the last in 2011.

Sharapova always the aggressor had her initial break point of the opening set by striking a winner. Yet, with her forehand traveling long, Sharapova could not capitalize. Thus, Radwanska held for 3-2.
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Sharapova and Radwanska to Decide Sony Ericsson Open Title on Saturday

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Sharapova and Radwanska to Decide Sony Ericsson Open Title on Saturday



The ladies Sony Ericsson Open final will be contested between the world number two and four. Maria Sharapova will have to fend off Agnieszka Radwanska in order to claim her first title at this tournament.

Radwanska, a maiden finalist in Miami, has been in great form the last twelve months. The Pole has already pocketed a big title in Dubai and is at a career high in the rankings.

Previously, Sharapova had reached three finals at Sony Ericsson Open in 2005, 2006 and 2011. Moreover, Sharapova is seeking her initial title of the year after being stopped by world number one Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.
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Sharapova Hangs on to Reach Fourth Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Sharapova Hangs on to Reach Fourth Sony Ericsson Open Final



Maria Sharapova out dueled Caroline Wozniacki 4-6,6-2,6-4 to advance to her second successive final at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Sharapova saw a 4-1, double break lead disappear in the first set as her serve collapsed. Wozniacki captured five consecutive games to steal the opening set.

Still Sharapova was able to turn the match around. Subsequent to breaking the initial game and holding, Sharapova struck a forehand winner to again build a double break advantage.

This time around by racing ahead 5-1, Sharapova was able to ultimately close out the second set.

The third set after failing to convert on a bevy of break points, Sharapova finally banked the break for 3-2. Then, the Russian seized another break for 5-2.

Despite Wozniacki resisting, salvaging a match point and narrowing the deficit to 4-5, the second time of asking, Sharapova put the match to bed.

A three time finalist at the Sony Ericsson Open including last year, Sharapova will attempt to grab her initial title in South Florida. Sharapova is also striving for her first trophy of 2012 after being second best to Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

Sharapova’s opponent will be either Marion Bartoli or Agnieszka Radwanska, their match will take place tonight. Sharapova has a winning record against both ladies despite not competing against Bartoli since 2010.

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Djokovic Edges Nadal in Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Djokovic Edges Nadal in Sony Ericsson Open Final



Novak Djokovic kept his winning streak and perfect season alive today. Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 to win his second title in Miami and his fourth consecutive of the season.

It was the second week in a row that Nadal and Djokovic, world number one and two respectively, were meeting in a Masters 1000 final. The last time the top two players clashed for the title at this tournament in1995, number two Andre Agassi beat number one Pete Sampras in a third set tiebreaker.

With a backhand up the line pass for a winner on his second break point opportunity, Nadal obtained a 2-1 advantage. It was the first time, Djokovic had dropped serve this tournament.

After going down double break point, Nadal found the equalizer. The Spaniard survived another break point before consolidating for 3-1.

Then, Nadal captured a second break for 4-1. The Spaniard salvaged another break point before widening his lead to 5-1. Nadal dropped serve trying to close out the set the first time around. But, despite difficulties, on his second attempt Nadal banked the set.

After wasting multiple break points in the initial set, Djokovic aided by errors from Nadal seized the break for 2-0 in the second. Subsequent to wiping out a break point, Djokovic consolidated for 3-0 when Nadal’s slice backhand found the net.

Djokovic pressured Nadal on serve while having an easier time himself. At 40-0, Djokovic sent a beautiful lob for a winner to stretch his gap to 4-1. Ultimately, with an ace on triple set point, Djokovic threw the gauntlet for a deciding set.

The opening game of the third, Nadal overcame love-30 to hold. Serving at 1-2, Djokovic battled a similar predicament and got to 2 all. As the set progressed, despite a few 15-30 or 0-30 games, neither manufactured a break point. Fittingly, the championship was settled by a tiebreaker.

The first four points of the tiebreaker, neither competitor maintained serve. When Nadal double faulted, Djokovic had a mini-break at 3-2. With Nadal’s next two strokes sailing wide, Djokovic had a 5-2 cushion.

Following, Djokovic struck a forehand winner down the line for 6-2 and four championship points. Although Nadal won the next two points, on his third opportunity, Djokovic connected on forehand winner to pocket the trophy.

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Azarenka Overpowers Sharapova for Second Trophy at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Azarenka Overpowers Sharapova for Second Trophy at the Sony Ericsson Open



Victoria Azarenka placed her name among the elites at the Sony Ericsson Open. Azarenka beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 to claim her second title at this tournament becoming the eighth woman to have won the title a minimum of two times.

Participating in Miami for the first time since 2007, Sharapova cruised to the quarterfinals. However, the Russian fought off Alexandra Dulgheru and Andrea Petkovic to reach her third final in Miami.

After difficult three setters to advance to the quarterfinals, Azarenka dominated defending champion and world number two Kim Clijsters and coasted to victory in the semifinals versus world number three Vera Zvonareva.

Azarenka was in the zone early on. In the initial game, after Sharapova had double game point, Azarenka connected on a forehand up the winner for break point. Despite Sharapova surviving that one, on her third break point chance, Azarenka converted.

With a few miscues by Azarenka, Sharapova broke back quickly to level the set at 1 all. Still, as a result of two consecutive double faults, Sharapova went down 0-30. Later, when Sharapova sent a forehand wide, Azarenka had the break for 2-0.

With Sharapova spraying forehands and backhands all over the place and ineffective on the return of serve, Azarenka rolled five consecutive games which included two additional breaks to take the first set.

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Nadal Toasts Federer to Book His Spot in the Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Nadal Toasts Federer to Book His Spot in the Sony Ericsson Open Final



The much anticipated semifinal bout between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the Sony Ericsson Open failed to live up to expectation. In a one sided contest, Nadal destroyed Federer 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the final.

Nadal drew first blood in the first set. With Federer’s forehand up the line going wide, the Spaniard had double break point. Then, when Federer pushed a backhand into the net, Nadal had the break for 2-1.

Nadal consolidated easily for 3-1. Later, with Federer serving at 3-5, a litany of errors resulted in Nadal breaking for the second time to seal the opening set.

In the second set, with Nadal netting a backhand, Federer had his first break point of the night. However, with a net court winner off an overhead, Nadal was at deuce. Nadal went on to capture the game.

Subsequently, with a backhand down the line pass for a winner, Nadal had break point. He capitalized when Federer’s forehand found the net. With a prompt game, Nadal moved ahead 3-0.

The remainder of the set, Federer was just trying to tread water. The Swiss’ only window came at 1-3 and 0-30, but Nadal quickly shut it.

With Federer serving to prolong the match, miscues after miscues gave Nadal his first match point. As a result of Federer misfiring, Nadal booked his place into the final.

Federer committed 31 unforced errors while hitting 18 winners. Federer said in analyzing the match “I think it’s always a bit of an adjustment coming out and playing Rafa, any lefty, but him in particular. . . I warmed up with a lefty, Bob Bryan, and tried to get acclimatized as [much as] I could against him. It’s just hard”.

Federer went on “in the first couple games I got a break down, the conditions weren’t really favoring me. [It’s] slow [and] just makes it so hard to hit through him on a surface like this. Maybe you try to over hit a bit. Then, I started to make the wrong decisions on big points. . .and it’s not easy to come back. He played tough and he played well when he had to and I didn’t do that tonight. So it’s disappointing for me”.

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Nadal Moves On to the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Nadal Moves On to the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open



In the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open, Rafael Nadal faced fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Nadal eased his way into the fourth round with a solid 6-3, 6-3 triumph.

After a few comfortable holds by Lopez, Nadal got the critical break to go ahead 4-3. Subsequent to promptly consolidating, Nadal arrived at triple break point. Although Lopez fought back to deuce, Nadal eventually secured the break to claim the first set.

In the second set, with a forehand down the line winner, Nadal manufactured double break point. Nadal then won the next point to take a 4-2 advantage.

Again, Nadal quickly consolidated for 5-2. Despite Lopez guarding serve the next game, with a volley that threaded the needle, Nadal had double match point. With a forehand winner, Nadal progressed to the fourth round.

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