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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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Serena Williams Routs Radwanska to Claim Spot in Sony Open Final

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Serena Williams Routs Radwanska to Claim Spot in Sony Open Final


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An unstoppable Serena Williams dismantled defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 6-3 to secure her eighth appearance in the final at the Sony Open and with her 60th victory moved past Steffi Graff as the winningest female in Miami.

The world number one came out with her guns blazing. The crowd had barely taken its seat when Williams posted a double break edge on the scoreboard.

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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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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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Serena Williams Dispatches Morita for a Fourth Round Berth at Sony Open

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Serena Williams Dispatches Morita for a Fourth Round Berth at Sony Open


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Despite being tested, five time Sony Open champion Serena Williams posted a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Japan’s Ayumi Morita in the third round in Miami.

This was the second career meeting between these ladies. Earlier this year, in Australia, the two clashed in the third round with Williams comfortably prevailing 6-1, 6-3.

Double faults were Williams undoing her initial service game resulting in the donation of a break. Morita went on to consolidate for 3-0. Soon though, the world number one found her game and rolled off six games in a row to capture the opening set.

The second set, Morita ultimately found a bandage to stop the hemorrhage and terminated Williams’ run at seven consecutive games.

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Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Azarenka, Serena and Sharapova Headline 2013 Sony Open

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Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Azarenka, Serena and Sharapova Headline 2013 Sony Open


The Sony Open will be played in Miami March 18 through March 31 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center. In anticipation of the 2013 Sony Open, the tournament has released the men’s and women’s entry list.

Novak Djokovic, the 2013 Australian Open champion, returns to Miami to defend his 2012 title. Djokovic is looking for a place in the record books by attempting to win three straight Miami titles. The only player to have won the title three years in a row is Andre Agassi (2001 – 2003). Also joining Djokovic in Miami are Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. Absent from the roster this year is Roger Federer who has decided to limit his play in 2013 and in the process will be skipping the Sony Open.

On the women’s side Victoria Azarenka, the 2013 Australian Open champion, will be looking to add another title in Miami. Azarenka has won the title in Miami on two occasions. Agnieszka Radwanska will also be in Miami attempting to defend her 2012 Sony Open title. Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams also highlight the women’s field. A title in Miami by Williams will break the record for most titles by a women in Miami. Williams is currently tied with Steffi Graf with 5 Miami titles.

Below is the official press release from the Sony Open :

SONY OPEN TO HOST GRAND SLAM PLAYER FIELD

Reigning Grand Slam Champions Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Williams, Sharapova and Azarenka all entered to play.

MIAMI, Fla. (www.sonyeopentennis.com) – The ATP and WTA entry lists for the 2013 Sony Open were announced today and the tournament will once again feature a Grand Slam caliber player field.

Click Here to View Full Lists

Each spring the Sony Open brings the greatest tennis players in the world to the Crandon Park Tennis Center and 2013 is no different. The Sony Open field features several Grand Slam champions including reigning singles champions Novak Djokovic (Australian Open), Rafael Nadal (French Open), Andy Murray (US Open), Victoria Azarenka (Australian Open), Maria Sharapova (French Open) and Serena Williams (Wimbledon and US Open).

Tickets to the 2013 Sony Open, which will be played March 18-31 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center, are on sale now and can be purchased by phone (305-442-3367) or online at www.sonyopentennis.com. An electrifying two weeks of tennis conclude with the women’s final on Saturday, March 30 and the men’s final on Sunday, March 31.

Qualifying rounds will be played March 18-19 and will determine 12 more slots in each singles draw. The tournament will also award wildcards to five men and eight women. The main draw begins on Tuesday, March 19 as the women take the court, followed by the beginning of the men’s main draw on Wednesday, March 20.

Djokovic returns to Miami seeking a three-peat, having won the trophy in 2012 and 2011. He brought home his first Sony Open title in 2007. On the women’s side, 15-time Grand Slam champ and Olympic Gold Medalist, Serena Williams returns on a mission for a record-breaking sixth Sony Open title, but both contenders will face a tough field in their quest for Sony Open history.

On the men’s side, 11-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, recently made his return to the court and is entered to play his 10th consecutive Sony Open. Nadal, a three-time finalist, will attempt to capture his first title on the purple courts. Andy Murray, the 2009 Sony Open champion, will look to bounce back from last year’s final appearance and take home the coveted trophy.

The women’s field is also extremely competitive, featuring American Sloane Stephens, who made her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance this year, which included a win over Serena Williams at the Australian Open. Two-time Sony Open winner Victoria Azarenka, comimg off here second consecutive Australian Open title, seeks her third Sony Open title in five years. Also a favorite to capture her first Sony Open title is the ever-popular Maria Sharapova, who last year completed the career Grand Slam with her French Open victory.

With such a tremendous player field one might forget that the Sony Open is more than just tennis and has become the standard for first-class sporting events. High fashion, great food, fabulous shopping and celebrity musical performances have made the Sony Open the most glamorous stop on tour.

Come see why huge crowds as well as the biggest names in music, entertainment and sports visit the Sony Open each March. Get your tickets today.

ABOUT THE SONY OPEN: The 2013 Sony Open will be played March 18-April 31 at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Sony Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. In 2012 Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray for his third Sony Open title, while Agnieszka Radwanska knocked off Maria Sharapova to capture her first title in Miami. For ticket information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit the website at www.SonyOpenTennis.com

ABOUT SONY MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS: Sony Mobile Communications is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation, a leading global innovator of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for both the consumer and professional markets. Through its Xperia™ smartphone portfolio, Sony Mobile Communications delivers the best of Sony technology, premium content and services, and easy connectivity to Sony’s world of networked entertainment experiences. For more information: www.sonymobile.com

ABOUT IMG: IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG

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Serena Williams Wards Off Azarenka for a Fourth U.S. Open Title

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Serena Williams Wards Off Azarenka for a Fourth U.S. Open Title



In the final at the U.S. Open, Serena Williams held off world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 to grab her fourth U.S. Open trophy and her 15th career major
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With singles and doubles prizes at both Wimbledon and the Olympics, it has been a dream summer for Williams. Moreover, she’s demolished the field to reach the final this fortnight.

Azarenka had the harder road in booking her maiden appearance in the final in New York. The Belarusian fought past defending champion Stosur in the quarterfinals and survived another three setter in the semifinals against Maria Sharapova.

After closing out the opening game with an ace, Williams manufactured love-40. Even though Azarenka managed to get to deuce, Serena arrived at a fifth break point with a backhand lob winner.

When Azarenka’s backhand sailed long, Williams captured the break. Soon, with another quick game, Williams consolidated for 3-0.

Surrendering only six points on her serve, at 5-2, Williams broke Azarenka at love to bed the first set in 34 minutes.

Williams and Azarenka clashed on ten prior occasions, with the former winning nine of those encounters. Consequently, it seemed like 2008, Williams would cruise to the title without dropping a set. But, Azarenka demonstrated why she is the reigning Australian Open champion.

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Serena Williams Toasts of The Championships with a Fifth Title

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Serena Williams Toasts of The Championships with a Fifth Title


Wimbledon 2010 was the ultimate major Serena Williams captured before being sidelined by a foot injury which led to other health complications and a year hiatus from tennis. Today, Williams came full circle by winning her first major since rejoining the tour last June. At the All England Club, Williams defeated world number three Agnieszka Radwanska in the final 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 for a fifth trophy at The Championships and her 14th major overall.

Facing an opponent who is in her maiden major final, Williams had to guard against the desire to phone in the victory. In 2004, Williams, the runaway favorite, was stunned by newcomer Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon final.
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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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Sharapova Survives Li to Retain Rome Title

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Sharapova Survives Li to Retain Rome Title



Despite a persistent drizzle, spectators stayed glued to their seats at the Foro Italico. In the final of the Internazionali BNL D’Italia defending champion Maria Sharapova roared back from a 4-6, 0-4 hole to vanquish Na Li 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.

In the first set, Sharapova got the initial break to go up 2-1. However, Li quickly captured the next game to get back on serve.

With Sharapova serving at 4-5, some critical service miscues allowed Li to bag the first set.
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