Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sharapova out of ASB Classic

2008 Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova made her 2011 debut in Auckland as the top seed, but today, she lost to Greta Arn in the quarterfinals. Arn--the veterans who has played some of her best tennis in the last year--defeated Sharapova 6-2, 7-5 in a match in which Sharapova won only 25% of points on her second serve. This is the same Sharapova who, arguably, once had the best second serve on the tour. Sharapova had only three break opportunities, and was able to take advantage of just one. Arn broke her five times.

What does this mean, aside from the obvious fact that Arn held her nerve and played well? It's hard to know, but an educated guess is that Sharapova may need what Francesca Schiavone calls a "mental trainer." She's been through a lot, and clearly isn't the player she used to be. She has an extra coach helping her, and the season is very young, but one has to wonder about her confidence level.

2nd seed Yanina Wickmayer had no such problems, beating Simona Halep 6-0, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, it's raining in Brisbane, and a lot of match play has been suspended. 4th seed Marion Bartoli, however, has already advanced to the semifinals.

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