2014/04/17

Williams Continues Her Domination Over Sharapova To Reach 9th Miami Final

 

By Kevin Ware

(March 27, 2014) Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to reach her ninth final in Key Biscayne. Williams came into this semifinal the prohibitive favorite, owing to her 15-2 head-to-head against Sharapova. But it was quickly evident that Williams’ best level hadn’t quite made it to the court by match time.

In a repeat of their 2013 final, Sharapova came out ready to play her best tennis from the very first point. She came out hitting the ball hard, deep, and into the corners. In typical fashion, she struggled with her first serve percentage, but still managed to start the match with a crucial hold.

Williams was slow to get going, and unable to take advantage of her many chances at the Sharapova second serve. She even struggled with her own potent serve at the outset, and was broken in the fourth game for a 4-1 Sharapova lead.

While this type of deficit might lead many players to panic, Williams kept her focus on the big picture. “I thought, Okay, I’m only down a break.  It was really just one break.  The scoreline looked bigger than what it was.  I felt if I could just break back, then I would be back in the match.”

Williams came back after the changeover with her “A” game ready to go. She methodically held serve for 2-4 before breaking Sharapova twice to take the first set 6-4. Her early sluggishness was replaced by big hitting, sharp angles, and untouchable serves.

The slump in Sharapova’s shoulders after Williams held at love for the set said it all. She has chances for a win if Williams is off her game, but knows that it’s going to be tough to beat Williams if she regains here form.

Sharapova was asked about Williams’s ability to take her game to another level when needed, and simply replied, “That’s why she’s No. 1 in the world.”

“There are always going to be drops. But she’s the player that is most capable of coming back from that or regaining focus and regaining that concentration as someone that’s ultimately going to do better.”

There was a glimmer of hope for Sharapova at the start of the second set when Williams took her foot off the pedal for a two-game walkabout that included lax defense, minimal footwork, and one of the worst drop shots seen at this year’s tournament. But Williams again raised her level as needed to break back for a 2-1 lead.

After Sharapova was broken at love in the seventh game of the second set for a 4-3 Williams lead, there was little chance this match might even go the distance to a third. Sharapova fought hard, but ultimately wilted under pressure. A forehand into the net handed Williams her 15th straight win over her Russian opponent.

Sharapova hasn’t beaten Williams in almost a decade, with her last victory coming at the 2004 WTA Championships in Los Angeles. And while many believe this to be one of the WTA’s big rivalries, she is quick to remind everyone that it’s not much of a rivalry until she can get a win.

When asked about their lopsided “rivalry”, Sharapova attempted to put a positive spin on the situation. “I mean, despite my results against her, I still look forward to playing against her because you learn so much from that type of level which she produces.”

“You finish the match, and you know where you need to improve and the things that you need to work on.”

In spite of her win, Williams remained subdued in the press room afterward, fending off questions of rivalries and potential challengers. She takes no one for granted, and views every opponent as a potential rival.

“I mean, everyone I play always plays me hard, so I feel like every match I play I literally have to be on my best, so for me I take a rival as every match, and I think that’s one of the best ways to take it.”

“You have to show up, and if you don’t show up, then your biggest threat will be yourself.”

Williams has won the title in Miami a record six times, one more than Steffi Graf. A seventh title would give her the record for the most Miami titles of all, surpassing the great Andre Agassi.

Williams will face Li Na in Saturday’s final after her late-night three-set win over Dominika Cibulkova.

Kevin Ware is in Key Biscayne covering the Sony Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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Kei Nishikori Rallies to Upset Roger Federer at Sony Open

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

(March 26, 2014) No. 5 Roger Federer let a set and a break lead slip and a game Kei Nishikori came back for the upset win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday night to reach the semis of the Sony Open. For Japan’s Nishikori, it’s his second straight day with a victory over a top five player as he won a match against No. 4 David Ferrer on Tuesday after saving four match points. It’s his second straight win over Federer, over whom he now has a 2-1 record against.

He has also snapped Federer’s semifinal run streak at seven straight tournaments in stopping him in Wednesday’s quarterfinal.

No. 21 Nishikori has now advanced to his second ATP Masters 1000 semifinal.

In fact Federer was up a break twice in the second set but couldn’t close out the win.  Federer had his serve broken for the first time in the tournament by Nishikori who broke it four more times. Federer committed 39 unforced errors during the match versus 29 winners.

“Just couldn’t find my rhythm on the serve today, which was surprising, especially after how well I’ve played and served, especially this week, but I think it didn’t take off the way it did during the daytime,” Federer said after the match.  “You could expect that, but then plus the temperature drop had something to do with that.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

“In the dark, for some reason, I just ‑‑ you know, I haven’t played many matches this year, or maybe lately.  Only one against Tommy Haas in Indian Wells and maybe the switch didn’t work that well for me.

“But still, you know, I had the set and a break, and then another break again, so it’s a bit frustrating.  But I think Kei did well to stay with me and then, you know, not allow me to get that, you know ‑‑ that I could hold my serve and then maybe feel comfortable.

“He right away made me feel uncomfortable and stayed with me, so he was more consistent in the second and third, and those are the ones he won.  At the end it’s his credit, of course, as well.”

“Feeling good, of course, you know, to beat Roger, and it’s second time to beat him,” the 24-year-old said.  “It was different conditions.  It was, you know, tough to play on the court, both of us.

“But I thought I really played well, especially in the third.  I was hitting both deep and striking well.  Everything was going well.  You know, there was couple of tough moments, but, you know, I was fighting through and happy to win today.

“He (Federer) wasn’t making a lot of first serves today,” Nishikori explained.  “I don’t know.  Maybe because the wind.  I don’t know.

“So I was trying, you know, to step in his second serve, and my return was going well.  That was the key for the game today.”

Federer said that she sees a bright future for the Japanese player.

“I think Kei does really well controlling the ball,” said the 32-year-old. “He has great technique, especially on the backhand, very simple, very short back swings, so he does a really nice job of having good timing.

“Then the forehand can be sometimes a bit off, but I think he does a good job, you know, with his feet.  He’s a quick mover.  Same with the his serve.  I think he’s done a good job using that to his advantage now.

“I think he’s serving better this year, and I see him moving up the rankings.  Clearly, I mean, with this tournament anyway but also in the future.  I predict he’s going to be top 10 in a short while.”

Nishikori will play Novak Djokovic on Friday for a spot in Sunday’s final.

Federer will go home and prepare for Davis Cup in Geneva the weekend of April 4-6.

 

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Djokovic Fends Off a Strong Murray Challenge to Reach Miami Semis

 

By Kevin Ware

(March 26, 2014) Wednesday’s quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray was undoubtedly going to provide a good test for both heading into the clay season. For Djokovic, it would provide a test of his newfound confidence after winning Indian Wells. For Murray, it would provide a much-needed gauge for the status of his game as well as his fitness.

In the end, Djokovic won in straight sets 7-5, 6-3. But it would be safe to say that each player got what they needed from this encounter.

Conditions were windy at the start of the match, and picked up slightly throughout the match. Djokovic initially handled the conditions best, hitting cleanly with depth from both sides. and effectively his serve. Conversely, Murray started loosely with shanks on his forehand wing and backhands into the net.

Fortunately for Murray, his stellar defense was on full display, saving him in many of the longer rallies. And any questions of fitness after his back issues in the R16 were answered as Murray sprinted from sideline to sideline in pursuit of Djokovic’s shots: with no sign of his signature grabbing at his back or legs.

The first real signs of trouble for Murray came in the fourth game. His only double fault of the first set gave Djokovic his first break point of the match. Murray fended off that break point, and then another, before winning the game with a spectacular forehand crosscourt shot that the replay showed kissed the outside of the line.

Djokovic faced his first break point of the match in the eleventh game after back-to-back double faults. The break was saved by an untimely forehand unforced error from Murray: one of his 29 unforced errors on the day. Novak held with an ace, forcing Murray to hold to force the tiebreak.

Controversy followed, however, in the twelfth game when a strong Djokovic return on the Murray serve set up an easy volley at the net. Replays on the stadium’s monitors showed Djokovic reaching over the net. Murray, who’d initially questioned the chair, saw his suspicions confirmed. He argued for the point, but to no avail.

Djokovic came to the net with Murray, and admitted reaching over to hit the volley. He wasn’t aware of any rule against doing so, and thought he’d won the point. “I thought that it’s allowed, to cross, you know, the racquet on his side without touching the net. That’s why I thought I won the point. I did not know that the rule is that I’m not allowed to cross the net.”

Murray, who was clearly distracted by the chair’s refusal to grant him the point, lost the next three points to lose the service game at love and with it, the set. “He (the umpire) said, yes, he was over the net, but he was in line with the net, so I didn’t understand really.”

In spite of the controversy, Murray acknowledged that it was only one game. He declined to give it any more credit than due, focusing instead on his missed chances in the second set. “I mean, it maybe had a slight bearing on that game, but I was still up a break in the second set.”

That break came in the fifth game when, in spite of two well-placed aces, Djokovic was broken for the first time in the match. Instead of making the most of this opportunity, Murray played a loose game and was broken again to level at 3-all. Novak played well enough, but Murray was hurt by two ill-timed double faults (five in total) and few more unforced errors.

After leveling the set, Djokovic wasted little time in closing out the match. He won the final three games at love, sealing the win with a forehand down the line passing shot. It wasn’t his best tennis, but Djokovic certainly forced Murray to play at the highest level from the very first point.

“I expected him to play well, to be a little bit more aggressive. I watched him play against (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga, and he was stepping in on the second serve, coming to the net. He did that few times successfully today.”

“Winning the first set, obviously it gave me the certain kind of relief and confidence, and then in the second, even when I was broken, I felt like I still have chances and I still, you know, believe that I could win in straight sets.”

For his part, Murray was pleased about his performance. “I think my game is just about there. It’s not far off. I had many opportunities today like 30-All games and Love-30 (games) on his serve, and I didn’t serve so well when I went ahead in the second set.”

Even with the first-set controversy, there were positives Murray could take from this loss. “I would have liked to have done that better, but I was hitting the ball better from the back of the court. I was playing aggressive. I was taking the ball early. I was trying to come forward a bit. My game is not far from where I want it to be.”

Kevin Ware is in Key Biscayne covering the Sony Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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Li and Cibulkova Reach Sony Open Semis

 

Dominika Cibulkova ©Sony Open Tennis

Dominika Cibulkova ©Sony Open Tennis

(March 26, 2014) It will be a rematch of the Australian Open women’s final in the semifinal of the Sony Open as both Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova advanced on Wednesday. Li won the Australian Open in straight sets for her second major title.

No. 10 seed Dominika Cibulkova saved  three match points in the second set en route to a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 2 Li Na won the last 4 straight games to close out Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 7-5.

Cibulkova won despite poor serving and unforced errors. She had her serve broken 10 times and double-faulted 8times, committing 51 unforced errors.

One of her match points saved came on a controversial call which was overturned due a challenge.

He match against Radwanska was a repeat of the Arustralian Open semifinal where the Slovak won over the Pole to make her first major final.

The Slovak who is in the Sony Open semis for the first time, will enter the top ten for the first time when the rankings come out on Monday.

“I’m really glad, especially about my win today,” Cibulkova said.

“It wasn’t easy at all to play today against Aga with the wind and conditions, and I had to stay aggressive all the time even if I missed many shots, you know.  I just had to keep going.

“So today the match was really tough, and I’m happy about everything, you know.  Before the match, even before the tournament, like they keep asking me, Top 10 and everything, and I just, you know, I just said, like, Okay, if I should be there, I will be there.  If I should not be there, I will not be there.

“So now I’m there.  So finally it’s over.”

“I think it was so close, the second set,” Radwanska said.  “But I think, you know, in those matches you have to play good and you have to be lucky.

“I was just playing good and she was both.”

With Li Na’s win, she became the first Chinese player to reach the Sony Open semifinals.

“I think today I was feeling she was the best to defend in all the tour, so I was feeling a little bit like player against a wall,” Li said about her match against Wozniacki.  “Because doesn’t matter where is it.  She always come and put the ball back to my court.

“After I was finished the match, I was feeling, Wow, you doing good.  You beat a wall.  Yeah.”

Li Na now leads the tour with 20 match wins on the season

On Thursday six–time Sony Open winner No. 1 Serena Williams will take on five-time finalist and No. 4 seed Maria Sharapova in the first women’s semifinal. Williams holds a 15-2 record against the Russian, winning the last 14 straight.

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“Big Four,” Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray Advance to Sony Open Quarters

 

(March 25, 2014) No. 1 Rafael Nadal, No. 2 Novak Djokovic, No. 5 Roger Federer and No. 6 Andy Murray all reached the Sony Open quarterfinals on Tuesday while No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka and No. 4 David Ferrer were upset.

Nadal had no problems dismissing Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2. Nadal only lost only three points during the match has dropped a total of only nine games in the three matches played so far at the Sony Open.

“First three matches I was able to find the right rhythm on court, playing aggressive, playing with no mistakes, so today was a little bit strange match,” Nadal said.

“I am sorry for Fabio.  I think he felt a little bit, I don’t know how to say, but he felt a little bit close to the hip, something from yesterday.  So was not easy for him to play that match.

“But anyway, I think I managed well the situation.  The wind, it was hard tonight, and I was manage to do well.  So I think I played the right match.”

Novak Djokovic pushed past Tommy Robredo 6-3, 7-5. In a bit of good sportsmanship, Djokovic gave back a point which was called out, which was indeed in.

“I mean, for me, it’s something as normal,” Djokovic said about giving the point back.  “I don’t want to talk about the nice gesture that I have done.  I don’t like to talk about myself, you know.  I let everybody else to judge.

“But for me that’s something that is absolutely normal if I am not able to ‑‑ if I judge that I couldn’t win the point, that I had no chance to get that ball back in the court, or if I see the ball is good, I’m going to tell him to challenge it or that it’s very close.

“For me it’s something that is part of the sport and fair play that, you know, I think I expect everybody else to do the same.  Of course, not everybody else is the same, but for me that’s something that’s normal, just a normal, natural reaction.”

Djokovic will play Andy Murray next in the quarterfinals. Murray beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-1.

“Andy is a defending champion,” Djokovic said of a potential match-up with Murray.  “He won a couple of Grand Slams, Olympic gold medal, and obviously he’s the player who can, you know, play big‑time tennis on a big stage.”

Murray who had back surgery last year, appeared to be some pain during his win over Tsonga, despite winning easily in 73 minutes.

“My game is getting there.  I mean, the last six sets I played have been very high‑level tennis.  Again, very few errors and aggressive tennis.  You know, coming forward, taking my opportunities to hit winners, and come to the net when I had the chance.

“Yeah, I’m playing better each match, and I hope that continues.  You know, last couple of weeks have been difficult for obvious reasons.  But, you know, hopefully I’m coming out the other side of that now and keep playing better.”

“It was sore, but I still moved well throughout the rest of the match, which is a good sign.  Was probably moving better at the end of the match than I was at the beginning, so that’s probably a good sign.”

Roger Federer only needed needing 49 minutes to defeat No. 9 seed Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2. Federer hit 25 winners during the match to Gasquet’s 8.

“I think I played well.” Federer said. “I served well.  I made my returns I had to and stayed aggressive, so I didn’t let him just make errors.  I forced him to do stuff.  It was a good match for me.”

Federer will play Kei Nishikori who saved 4 match points before upsetting fourth seed David Ferrer 7-6 (7), 2-6, 7-6 (9).

“He had obviously a very difficult match with Ferrer, but a great one which everybody watched in the locker room and the player restaurant,” Federer said.  It was one of those thrilling end to the matches, you know, into the tiebreaker with match points saved.  It had the whole drama.

“Either one could have won, but in tennis always one guy’s got to win.  Kei did a good job getting it done at the end.  I only played him twice but practiced with him many times, so we know each other well so there are no real secrets out there.

“Clearly I think it’s an advantage at this point now that I had a quick match today and he had a really brutal match against Ferrer.  Can I take advantage of it?  Can he recover quickly?  We will see tomorrow.

“But I’m sure we will see him out on the court, and he will give it everything he has.  He always has.”

In another upset on the day, No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov stopped three seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals.

Also advancing to the quarterfinals were Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych who eliminated the last American man, John Isner 6-3, 7-5

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Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova Set Up Semifinal Meeting at Sony Open

 

(March 25, 2014) It will be a Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova semifinal at the Sony Open as both women defeated quarterfinal opponents in straight sets.

No. 1 Serena Williams made quick work of No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-2, winning 62% of all of the points in the match,  in the first match of the night session on Tuesday.

Williams’s match demonstrated total dominance, unlike her last two matches in which she was pushed to three sets.

“I’m playing a little better,” Williams said.  “I had to play better.  As the tournament progresses you can’t get worse, you have to get better.

“I’m happy to be doing a little better.”

The 17-time major winner still is not totally happy yet.

“The good news is I can play better, so that keeps me really happy, actually.  “So knowing that I can still play several levels higher is good for me.”

No. 4 seed Maria Sharapova came back from a break down in the first set in a rematch of the 2011 Wimbledon final to top Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1. She won 11 of the last 13 games.

“I started getting more chances as we played more games in the first set,” Sharapova said.

“Little by little I started seeing more opportunities and started getting myself back in the points and playing my game, playing well, going inside the baseline.

“You never are sure until you finish the match and you win the last point, but I really felt like I started doing the right things.”

Sharapova, always a bridesmaid but never a bride in Miami – she’s been a finalist five times has never won a Sony Open title.

It will be Williams against Sharapova for a place in the Key Biscayne final. Williams holds an overwhelming record against the Russian 15-2. The last time Sharapova beat Williams was back in 2004.

“Well, when you’re playing, you know, champions, you have to play your best.” Williams said.  “So she always plays her best and her heart out against me.

“We just have to bring the best because we both are really good players.”

“It’s no secret that she’s been a big challenge of mine, an opponent that obviously I would love to beat,” Sharapova said.  “There are certainly, you know, ways that I need to step up in certain situations that I haven’t been able to do in the past against her.

“But it’s great that I have come to that stage and have the opportunity to play her again.”

“I love playing her,” said the six-time Sony Open winner Williams about playing Sharapova.  “I really do.  Doesn’t matter what surface or anything.  She’s one of my favorite people to play. And so I think that helps, too, when you’re like playing people.  I think it just gets you really pumped.”

“I feel in the last few times I have played I have had my chances and opportunity and something that maybe I didn’t quite create, you know, say, a couple years ago,” Sharapova said to media.

“It’s about taking those.  Someone, an opponent that plays with so much confidence and so much power, you really need to take those few opportunities that you have.”

 

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Rafael Nadal Makes Quick Work of Denis Istomin

Nadal 321 press-001

(March 24, 2014) Rafael Nadal may have received a warning for slow play, but he made quick work of disposing of Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-0 in 59 minutes to reach the fourth round of the Sony Open on Monday.

“I played a very complete match,” the world No. 1 said.  “Talking about the things that you can do well in the tennis court, today I think I did the most ‑‑ not every one because not match is perfect, but I did a lot of things very well.  No mistakes, serving with good percentage, and playing a lot of winners.

“My movements were better than what I did last event events.  That’s a very important thing for me.  I am happy to be in that fourth round, winning not against an easy opponent like Istomin, a tough one, that way.  It’s impossible win with that result if I don’t play well.”

Next for Spaniard is Italian Fabio Fognini.

“He’s an opponent, very uncomfortable opponent,” Nadal said.  “He’s an opponent that is playing great.  He has an amazing talent.  Great forehand, great backhand, especially the forehand, but he’s able to hit winners from every part of the court.

“So he’s an opponent sometimes that can be unpredictable, and is difficult to play against these kind of players ‑ especially when they are playing well and Fognini is playing well.

“I need to try to let him play with ‑‑ if he wants to play, try to find the winners, and I need to try to let him play from not easy positions.  If he’s playing with comfortable positions will be very difficult for me.”

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Statement from Mayo Clinic on Del Potro’s Surgery

(March 24, 2014) 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro underwent surgery on his left wrist on Monday at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Richard Berger of Rochester, Minn., performed the surgery. He who also performed the surgery on Del Potro’s right wrist in 2010.

 

The Mayo Clinic released the following statement:

 

Juan Martin del Potro underwent surgery on his left wrist today at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota by Dr. Richard Berger. During the operation, it was discovered that the damage to his wrist ligaments was worse than expected based upon the high resolution imaging obtained before the surgery. Even so, the surgery went very well and as planned. The damaged ligaments were repaired and reinforced.

The surgery did not require hospitalization and Juan Martin is recovering comfortably. It is expected that he will make a full recovery and on schedule as originally planned. Dr. Berger did note, however, that “Given the degree of damage that was discovered in Juan Martin’s wrist, it is amazing he was able to play at all. It is the result of his passion for the sport, his drive to play well and his strength that he was able to last this long. I can’t wait to see him play at full strength again”.

 

 

Juan Martin del Potro posted post-surgery photo on his Facebook page:

Del Potro in the Hospital

Hola a todos, acá todavía dolorido por la operación. Por suerte salió todo bien.
Muchas gracias por las muestras de afecto de todos ustedes. Acá les dejo una foto con el doctor Berger y con Franco.
////////////////////
Hi everyone, here I am, still sore from the surgery. Luckily everything went well.
Thank you very much for the nice messages you are sending me. Here’s a picture with Dr. Berger and Franco.

Related articles:

Juan Martin Del Potro to Have Surgery on His Left Wrist

Juan Martin del Potro Withdraws From Sony Open

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Serena Williams Crushes, Maria Sharapova Rebounds to Advance at Sony Open

(March 24, 2014) In a tale of two different matches, expected results as No. 1 Serena Williams and fourth seed Maria Sharapova reached the quarterfinals of the Sony Open on Monday.

Williams dismissed American countrywoman qualifier CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-1 to reach the elite 8 in Miami for the 13th time in 14 appearances.

After her first two matches in the tournament she showed some rust, Williams cleaned up her game hitting 17 winners to only 11 unforced errors and stopping all six break points she faced.

“I was definitely happier today,” Williams said.  “I was really struggling my first two matches, so I just wanted to have a better performance today.”

“She’s improved a great deal,” Williams said of her opponent’s game.  “Her focus is so much better.  Her movement is good.  Her attitude is great.  She’s a nice girl.

“You know, it’s always fun to play with young Americans, I think, and just enjoy it.  It’s so good to see another American doing really well.”

Williams was so impressed with the young American that she spoke to her about possible playing doubles.

“She said, `Listen, you played so well. We’ve got to play doubles. We’d do so well,’” Vandeweghe said.

Next up for Williams will be the No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber, who beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

“It will be good to play a different opponent,” Williams said.  “I feel like I have played the same person three times in a row.  It will be nice to play a lefty, someone that just plays different.

“Angelique has been able to beat me in the past, so I have to be really focused and be ready in that match.”

 

Maris Sharapova had to reset from a first set drubbing to beat Kirsten Flipkens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

The Belgium jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and Sharapova could only win five points during those four games. In the second set Sharapova jumped out to a 4-0 lead, then Flipkens won 4 out of 5 games, but Sharapova broke serve to take the set 6-4.

“I usually like playing the first match, but I didn’t start off the way I wanted to,” Sharapova said. “Nothing was working.”

“Nothing was working in the first set,” Sharapova said. “Yeah, that’s just the way it went in the beginning.

“She’s a different type of opponent. There aren’t too many girls that hit a slice backhand 90% of the time in the rallies. You expect that because she’s been around for a long time, and it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, but I wasn’t doing too much from my end and made a lot of mistakes from the first ball, which gives your opponent that confidence and the time they need to do whatever they want.

“It was about finding that combination of getting something in to give her something to play with.”

Sharapova’s momentum carried over into the final set where she kept her errors low and her aggression high, dropping only one more game.

Final stats for Sharapova- 36 unforced errors, 13 winners and 10 double-faults.

Sharapova will play the woman she lost to in the 2011 Wimbledon finals, No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals. Kvitova regrouped to stop Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-0, 6-0.

“We haven’t played for a long time, but we have always had interesting, tough matches against each other,” Sharapova said about her next opponent.  “I think we know what to expect from one another.  She’s always tricky because she is a lefty.  You don’t play so many out there.  I already had one in this tournament, so maybe that was good practice for it.

“She has a different game than someone like Safarova.  She has a powerful game and goes for her shots, and when she’s on it’s tricky to play against her.”

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“Straight-Up Bad,” Sloane Stephens Crushed by Caroline Wozniacki at Sony Open

sLOANE sTEPHENS dUBAI

Sloane Stephens

(March 23, 2014) No. 18 Caroline Wozniacki destroyed No. 16 Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-0 on Stadium Court in less than an hour at the Sony Open.

“I’m pleased about the way I played,” Wozniacki aid.  Definitely very happy about the performance out there.

Stephens’ lone game in the match came on a break of serve, she did not hold her serve at all during the match.

“Just really disappointing night,” Stephens said.  Just got my butt kicked, and that’s about it really.

The statistics tell the story of the match for Stephens. She committed 37 unforced errors and hit only 12 winners. The American won only 26 points in the entire 55 minute match.

“Just try and make some balls in the court,” Stephens said in press.  “That normally helps.  Just, like I said, it was really disappointing.  Just wasn’t getting ball in the court.  She played solid.”

“It wasn’t like it was a choice or I had any chances,” she continued.  “It was just straight‑up bad.”

“I have been playing good, practicing good.  Everything has been good.  Just kind of a disappointing night for me.  It’s just something ‑‑ it just happened.  I couldn’t fight my way out of it.

“Not really anything I’m going to cry too much over.  I’m just going to get back to work and get ready for Charleston next week.”

Wozniacki was asked about her focus during the match when her opponent was not playing up to her potential.

“You actually have to stay even more focused because you know she’s going to go for it at some point,” said the Dane.  “Things can turn easy, especially when you’re up by a lot.

“The other person doesn’t have anything to lose, so you know you really have to be on your toes and expect anything.”

“So I just stayed focused out there.  I didn’t let her into the match.  I didn’t give one point away.  I was very happy about that.”

Wozniacki will play her fourth round march against Vavara Lepchenko.

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