Friday, January 21, 2011

Sharapova wins thriller against Goerges

Maria Sharapova and Julia Goerges were not able to play as scheduled because of a dead spot on the court in Hisense Arena. Staff members had to drill a hole in the court to let the air out of the surface where the dead spot was. About twenty minutes later, the players were able to go on. The delay certainly didn't bother Goerges, who took control of the first set. She wobbled toward the end of it, squandering two set points with forehand errors, but a double fault from the 14th seed set Goerges up for a third set point, which she converted.

Sharapova served for, and barely survived, the first game of the second set. She broke Goerges at 2-all, then Goerges had treatment for a blister on her foot. While the trainer was treating her opponent, Sharapova, who had double-faulted eight times, practiced her serve. It must have helped, because she looked much better in her next service game, and even better in her next one. It was a well-played set, and the 14th seed got into a groove of the sort we used to always expect from her. She topped it off, in fact, with an ace for set point.

Goerges was broken right away in the third set, as Sharapova remained dominant. By this time, the 2008 champion was hitting winners right and left. Goerges went down 0-4, but then put herself on the scoreboard after hitting a couple of her own impressive winners. She went on to break Sharapova, and followed the break with a hold. Goerges' momentum, as admirable as it was, was stopped when Sharapova held at love. Well, it was kind of stopped, because Goerges then played a brilliant game under pressure and held at 15.

I'm generally not the biggest fan of huge, hard hitting, over and over, but I couldn't take my eyes off of this match for a moment. Sharapova won it, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 with an ace on her first match point, but it could have gone either way. Both players performed with such intensity, the match was a total pleasure to watch. And Sharapova--despite her eleven double faults--looked, for all the world, like....Sharapova. Both she and Goerges should get confidence boosts from what they did in the third round.