3 Responses

  1. SA
    SA May 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm |

    as always, great analysis write up jj. i find it interesting how the entire week serena wasn’t calm at all in her previous three (four?) matches, yet today she was in her own element. i wonder if that’s because she felt a bit more comfortable on the clay or if she just has this supreme confidence when facing maria or a combination or something else or what. compare today from when she played amg and it’s almost night and day. (and quite frankly, the same can be said about maria-just utmost confidence in her previous three (four?) matches, then nothing today). we all scream how tennis is such a mental game and this matchup just proves it time and time again.

    honestly i think maria will play more of the same in roma next week. who else outside of serena is going to beat her? no one has done it yet this season so far outside of li na in AO. it’ll be interesting to see how serena goes. does she come out with confidence and play her calm game against other opponents outside of maria or will we see what we saw in madrid the entire week outside of today?

  2. Ophelia
    Ophelia May 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

    I was hoping that Sharapova would at least get a set off Williams on her best surface, but you’re right on the mark about a change of surface not truly changing anything important about the dynamic of their rivalry. Sharapova-Williams could be said to be the WTA equivalent of Ferrer-Federer: Ferrer has never beaten Federer on even clay because the disparities between their playing styles and belief levels are too great for a simple change of surface to negate, and the same can be said of Sharapova against Williams on red clay.

    At this rate, the best Sharapova can do at Rome and Roland Garros is to pray for someone else to upset Williams before she reaches her in the draw. (Which *did* happen last year.)

  3. Patrick of La Verne
    Patrick of La Verne May 13, 2013 at 8:47 am |

    JJ, in terms of the discussion about whether Maria would have a better chance on red clay (I certainly thought so) a point that I did not consider is that Maria could not seem to decide whether to aggressively go for her serve, or whether to curtail her big service motion slightly in order to be better prepared for a possible return.

    Sharapova served aggressively and effectively for a set and a half in Miami (and well at the YEC’s last year), but yesterday in the first set, she seemed to feel that she couldn’t serve as effectively against Serena on the slower clay, and served tentatively, defensively, trying to be better prepared for a hard-hit return in her direction.

    And that compromise was really the worst of both worlds. She didn’t serve either forcefully or accurately in the first set. One wonders if Hogstedt hadn’t planted the pre-match notion of trying to be more prepared following Maria’s rather elongated service motion, and the plan backfired.

    During his visit late in the first set he seemed to be telling her to go for her serve, and stop worrying so much about the returns (Serena *has* been known to misfire), and she served much better in the second set.

    I’m a Serena fan, but it’s hard not to have a little sympathy for Maria, who has to be wishing that Serena would retire, already, and start a family or open a karaoke club or SOMETHING other than play tennis. It’s just a horrible match-up for a very fine player.

Comments are closed.