Friday, January 25, 2008

Ave Maria!

Maria Sharapova lost her way for a short while in the middle of the first set of the Australian Open women's final, losing control of both her serve and her forehand, but that turned out to be a brief detour on her otherwise smooth road to championship victory. Continuing the pattern she has held throughout most of this tournament, Sharapova achieved a remarkable 89% on first serve wins, and an equally impressive 70% on second serve wins. She also won 80% of her net approaches, and was--in short--stunning.

In the second set, Sharapova lost only two points on her serve, and won three service games in a row at love. She almost won the fourth, but after a let call was successfully challenged by opponent Ana Ivanovic, Sharapova failed to win the point on her second serve. She did, however, hold at 15.

Ivanovic, for her part, was much more poised and mentally prepared than she was for her French Open final, when she was practically frozen with fear. Ivanovic had some shining moments and served well, but made twice as many unforced errors as Sharapova, and--in general--was out-hit in every part of the court by an aggressive opponent. She had only two break chances against Sharapova the entire match, and converted only one of them.

The crowd support went overwhelmingly to Ivanovic, who appears to have replaced Aussie Kim as the favorite Australian adopted daughter. Sharapova won the title without dropping a set, giving her mother, Yelena, a fantastic birthday present.


Herzblut said...

I sat up late last night, and got as far as the middle of the first set...3.30am-ish here.....ave Maria, indeed!
I don't know if you saw any of the tv coverage on Eurosport, but Barbara Schett has been doing the introductions and interviews, along with Mats Wilander. Anyway, just before the start of the match, she said, "It will be the final of the good-looking girls".....which irked me rather..... :(

Diane said...

I cannot get any Eurosport covereage, but I have seen Schett interview players on YouTube. I'm certainly glad I didn't see that. Sexism is almost as dominant among female commentators as among male.

(Wilander must have salivated when Roger lost his semifinal.)