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26 January 2008 Ana Ivanovic vs Maria Sharapova

Page history last edited by Archer844 9 years, 4 months ago




Posted by Simguy on 1/26/2008, 10:32 am.


Scrappy effort from Ivanovic—first set probably the toughest of the tournament for Sharapova. But the best woman did definitely win: Maria’s farther ahead in her development than Ana at this point, despite the similarity in age.


Here’s how I saw it…


Both girls holding serve early looks like a good old fashioned big-girl gun platform slamming—ramrod one-twos up top followed by juicy mop-up hooks to body: both gitls tested, but holding firm.


Middle rounds see Ana time Maria and land some krushing counterpunches over blonde jab (i.e.: when Maria got her serve broken thanks to some HUGE returns from Ana.) Sharapova turns a little gunshy, a little tentative (those shaky double-faults after Ana started hammering Maria’s second serve), and Ana takes the fight to her. Brunette strong on blonde at ropes—lots of good, thick body punching—Ana pushing Sharapova into the ropes to bounce and jostle her: it looks like the fight’s slipping away from the blonde.


And then, Maria firms—I read that as Sharapova re-establishing her jab and bringing Ana to heel. In the game, Ana’s unforced errors are MUCH higher than Maria’s—that means brunette’s leaving openings in the fight, and Sharapova’s starting to score with precision. It’s execution and consistency here that winds up turning the tide: Ana’s hitting hard and looking good, but she’s gambling more and Sharapova’s sharpshooting starts to discourage the brunette.


The latter rounds see Ana fighting stubbornly, but Maria slowly imposing her will. Not a blow out: Sharapova would be incrementally taking canvas, gradually improving her ring position, starting to place her punches in increasing more reliable fashion.


The fight IS a stoppage—Ana’s serve being broken and the way she gave up the final game means that Maria had broken her down mentally. A competitive fight—but Sharapova’s conference in that last game was overwhelming—so aggressive and assured: Ana got punked out of competing and the ref had to step in.


We’ve seen this before: professional—the discipline to regroup after adversity and get back to executing your game—is decisive. Ana did well here, but she didn’t have the kind of iron will Maria did. The last two games of the match were conclusive for me: Sharapova would definitely have beaten Ana had the two been fighting in any form. On THIS occasion. I’d say Ana’s game is about 6 to 12 months behind Maria’s: let’s see where these two are next year.


Reposted by Archer 4/11/10.

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