The woman who cannot be stopped: Maria Sharapova
Sabine Lisicki, the unseeded German, saw a glimpse of hope at the start of her semi-final encounter with Sharapova. She won three straight games through a fantastic array of shots and serves, though this turned. The momentum of the russian tennis juggernaut overwhelmed the german. Lisicki was merely an awkward obstacle on Sharapova’s path to success.
Maria was number 1 in the world in 2005 (WTA) earn’t through her powerful, sharp and majestic tennis play. She is showing those same victorious symptoms of a champion; playing with purpose, focus and extreme physical prowess.
Her serve in the last 2 years has definitely improved, becoming evermore stronger and Maria is showing confidence in her serving action. This wasn’t the Sharapova we saw in the late season of 2007 and in the year 08 and early09 as she had a crippling shoulder injury which needed surgery. She left the top 100 for the first time in 6 years, seeding no.126.
After a tournament in Tokyo Sharapova reached no.14 seed, however she ended the season losing to Peng Shuai in the third round. This progression and recovery was shaky. Many who followed her in 2010 would confirm that. She played fantastic tennis at some tournaments and at others she seemed to have lost her own tennis style. At the end of 2010 she finished no.18 seed, though after losing to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in the summer said;
“in a much better spot than I was last year.” – Sharapova
2011 was really an optimistic push for Sharapova as she hired Thomas Hogstedt who joined Michael Joyce.
Hogstedt and Joyce opened a clinic in the past and have worked on the likes of Tommy Haas and Li Na, getting them both in the top 10 world rankings. This new and effective ingredient really improved Sharapova’s game and definitely formed her new focus on self improvement rather than just pure results. In academic terms… she was focusing on gaining understanding and precise knowledge of the world than just on getting exam results. Doing the former improves the latter.
Maria’s performance in grand slams was phenomenal compared to her shaky game in the previous seasons. She lost to Azarenka in the final of Miami who was then seeded 8. Her other best tournaments were Rome which she won with a fantastic performance… not even dropping a set. She reached the final of the French open, losing to Li Na in the final.
Sharapova didn’t just enter Wimbledon with a good enough game, she exploded on the scene. She swept through the rounds beating the likes of Laura Robson, Peng Shui (whom she lost to at the China open in her injury stages), Zakopalova, Cilbukova in the quarters and Lisicki in the semi final. Lisicki was playing her best tennis and showed great promise but it was her first semi final at Wimbledon and Sharapova’s experience and drive was too much for her to handle.
If I was certain about anyone winning a title at Wimbledon this year, I would put my money on Miss Sharapova.
Let’s hope her new sportsmen and partner Sasha Vujacic gives her that boost which she clearly doesn’t need but would give her an extra assurance when things get a little out of her control.