Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Who would have thought it? Sharapova in the French Open semifinals

An injured Sharavpova at that. When she is healthy, I don't expect her to get beyond the quarterfinals, if she gets that far. With her shoulder injury, I thought she might go out in the third round or so. What do I know? Today, she defeated a regressive (crying on court again--something I thought she'd left behind long ago) Anna Chakvetadze, 6-3, 6-4, to gain a spot in the semifinals, where she will face Ana Ivanovic. (Chakvetadze, for her part, said she never recovered from Sunday's three-hour ordeal against Anabel Medina Garrigues, and she was tired by the middle of the first set.)

Sharapova has always had problems on clay. The slow, heavy surface has not suited her quick game, and she has never mastered the art of sliding. When she beat clay expert Patty Schnyder in the round of 16, she said that she was not a clay court player, that she played very aggressively in order to squeak past Schnyder.

The interesting thing is that Ivanovic, until recently, had a reputation for not being a clay court player, either. But when she won in Berlin last month--beating Svetlana Kuznetsova with the full use of just one foot--we all had to re-assess her ability on the tricky red surface. In an interview at Roland Garros, Ivanovic said: "At the moment, I think I'm enjoying playing on the clay much more. I feel I improve my fitness a lot which helps on clay, because you have to do a lot of running. And now I feel comfortable, and, yeah, I really enjoy."

Apparently. So much so, that today, she defeated Kuznetsova again, 6-0, 3-6, 6-1.


ken said...

I didn't see the breakdown on court and I watched the entire second set. Did it happen earlier? What did it entail?

Diane said...

I didn't see that much of the match, and just a quick shot of Anna in distress. Apparently, at 4-all in the first, she started to cry. She said that at 3-all in the first, she knew her body wasn't going to make it. That's what she was upset about--that despite a day off, she had not recovered from the 3-hour marathon with Medina Garrigues

One has to compare that with Sharapova, who played her knock-down, drag-out with Schnyder just the day before but was physically fit. Of course, these things do happen from time to time; it isn't necessarily a statement on Chakvetadze's fitness.