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Steve's Weblog

An incurable tennis addict, Steve Flink has been following the game since 1965, the year he first went to Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships. Flink is a Senior Correspondent for Tennis Week Magazine, a publication he joined in 1992. From 1972-82, he put his photographic memory to use as a statistician for CBS, NBC and ABC. He has been a consultant and writer for the International Tennis Hall of Fame since 1994 and is a member of their Nominating Committee. Steve is the author of The Greatest Tennis Matches of the 20th Century. Flink's recall of match history is unsurpassed.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Maria Sharapova

Her Open triumph was long overdue. After winning Wimbledon at 17 in 2004, the gifted Russian had appeared in five semifinals at the major events but had lost on each of those auspicious occasions. In 2005, she had Serena Williams in a serious bind but squandered three match points and was beaten in three tumultuous sets. Later that year at Wimbledon, she was outplayed by Venus Williams in straight sets, perhaps caught off guard by a player who had not performed that impressively in a long time. At the close of the 2005 Grand Slam campaign, Sharapova bowed in three hard sets against Kim Clijsters, playing her way admirably back into that match but never quite doing herself justice.

On to 2006, and the pattern continued. At the Australian Open, Sharapova was upended in three superbly played sets by the tenacious Justine Henin-Hardenne. And then, back on the Centre Court of Wimbledon, Sharapova was beaten by a more opportunistic Amelie Mauresmo in three sets, fighting ferociously all the way through but failing to sustain her best brand of play for long stretches.

At the U.S. Open, Sharapova finally displayed the combination of big hitting acumen and enduring mental toughness that could become her forte in the years ahead. In the semifinals, she was a 6-0, 4-6, 6-0 winner over Mauresmo, reasserting her authority convincingly in the final set. And then she brought down the most consistent women’s player of them all in the final, casting aside Henin-Hardenne 6-3, 6-4 with poise and professionalism.

Sharapova on that occasion reminded us that she has the best serve in the women’s game, and that when she is confident and concentrated no one is better from the backcourt. Her forehand held up exceedingly well and she was excellent on the running side shot off that side. Her two-handed backhand was outstanding, a weapon few women in the world can match. And she channeled her energy intelligently, playing the big points as she seldom has before.

Now that Sharapova has collected her second Grand Slam championship, the feeling grows that she ought to win at least three more in the years ahead.


At July 19, 2007 2:27 AM, Blogger Xim4ni said...

Good information about Maria.

See some awesom information and pictures of Maria in Virtual world ( WEBLO)

Link : http://www.weblo.com/celebrity/Athlete/Maria_Sharapova/400111/


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