Tag: Maria Sharapova

Australian Open: Williams continues dominance over rival Sharapova

Serena Williams continued her dominance over Maria Sharapova as she collected her 19th grand slam title with a straight sets victory in the Australian Open final.

Sharapova has not beaten her rival for 11 years and her losing streak continued at Melbourne Park on Saturday, as the American enjoyed a 6-3 7-6(5) victory on Rod Laver Arena to claim the championship for a sixth time.

Top seed Williams, who was suffering from a coughing fit, broke Sharapova in the opening game of the match and she rallied to take the first set, amid a short rain delay, in 47 minutes.

Sharapova offered stubborn resistance in the second but, despite saving two championship points and forcing the tie-break, Williams proved too strong and wrapped up victory just shy of two hours.

“Growing up I wasn’t the richest but I had a rich family in spirit and support,” Williams said afterwards. “Standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen.

“I went on the court with just a ball, a racket and a hope and that’s all I had. It’s inspiring for you guys that want to be the best you can be, you never give up because you never know what can happen and who you can inspire and influence.

“I have to congratulate Maria who played a wonderful match. She really pushed me tonight. She played so well.”

She added via Channel 7: “I had a really bad cough and ended up throwing up actually. I think that helped when I got everything out of me and cleared my chest out because I couldn’t breathe a little bit.

“I’ve had a really bad cold and cough. Usually when that happens you stay in bed for a week, you don’t play matches every other day and practice every other day. Now I have a couple of days to take a deep breath and lay down.

“I’m going to go to bed and curl up under some covers and go to sleep. That sounds excellent right now.”

Despite having not beaten her opponent since 2004 – a run of 16 straight losses – Sharapova was again magnanimous in defeat.

She said: “I have to congratulate Serena on creating history and playing some of her best tennis. It’s an honour playing against her. I’ve not beaten her in a really long time but I love stepping on the court every time because she has been the best and you always want to play the best.

“I was almost down and out in the second round so feel I gave myself a second life in this tournament. It was not quite enough today but I am proud of my effort. I had some of my best moments on this court but also some of my toughest losses but that’s the life of a tennis player.”

Victory sees Williams move into outright second in the list of grand slam titles won throughout the Open era; lifting the Daphne Akhurst trophy again saw Williams climb above Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. She is now three titles away from Steffi Graff’s record of 22.

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open : Serena Williams to face Maria Sharapova in final

Serena Williams will face Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final after the pair won their semi-finals in straight sets in Melbourne.

World number two Sharapova won an all-Russian contest against Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-2.

Williams, the top seed, converted her ninth match point to beat fellow American Madison Keys 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Williams, 33, capped a fine performance with a dramatic ending as she saw seven match points slip by at 5-1, before converting her ninth with an ace and a scream in the following game.

Keys, 19, matched Williams for power but not always control as the 18-time Grand Slam champion edged a tight match over one hour and 24 minutes.

The world number one, a five-time champion in Australia, recovered from 3-0 down to force a tie-break and clinched it with a big serve.

A fired-up Williams bounced up and down in delight at the baseline, and powered on with a break at the start of the second as she began to dominate the Keys second serve.

Williams flipped a brilliant forehand winner around the net post on her way to breaking again at 4-1 and eventually closed out after that gripping seventh game.


Sharapova, the 2008 champion, had earlier needed one hour and 27 minutes to beat 10th seed Makarova for the sixth time in six meetings.

The 27-year-old coped well on serve after saving two break points in a testing 10-minute opening service game, easing into a 4-1 lead.

Makarova, 26, hinted at a comeback when she broke for 4-3 but Sharapova responded immediately and served out the set after 48 minutes.

When she hammered away a backhand for the double break at 3-0 in the second, there was no way back for Makarova.

Sharapova made it six games in a row, saving two more break points at 4-1, to seal a place in her 10th Grand Slam final.

The Russian has a 2-16 record against Williams and has not beaten the American since 2004.

Read more at BBC Sport


Australian Open: Maria Sharapova beats Eugenie Bouchard

Maria Sharapova brushed aside seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets to set up an all-Russian Australian Open semi-final.

The 2008 champion, seeded second, won 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 18 minutes at a cool and blustery Melbourne Park.

Tenth seed Ekaterina Makarova beat third seed Simona Halep 6-4 6-0 in Tuesday’s opening match.

Tomas Berdych upset Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-0 7-6 (7-5), while Andy Murray beat Nick Kyrgios 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

‘Focused’ Sharapova marches on
Sharapova, 27, took her record against Bouchard, 20, to 4-0 with a clinical performance as the Canadian made 30 errors in 78 minutes.

“I thought I had a really good start,” the Russian said. “I kept my focus throughout the whole match. I didn’t feel that I had too many letdowns, which is important.

“When I did have a few slips I was able to come out with great first serves or really powerful returns.”

Bouchard said: “I felt under pressure the whole time, a bit on my back foot. That’s not how I want to play. I feel like I didn’t start well, and it kind of all went downhill from there.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Australian Open: Bouchard set for Sharapova showdown

Perfectionist Eugenie Bouchard revealed she had given herself a stern talking to after surviving a second-set collapse to book her place in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the second year running.

Bouchard, who went on to reach the last four in Melbourne on her championship debut 12 months ago, won the first set against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena and was 3-0 up in the second with two breaks of serve.

However, the 20-year-old then lost the next five games in a row and eventually the set 7-5, before some harsh words during a toilet break inspired the Canadian to take the decider 6-2 and set up a last-eight clash with second seed Maria Sharapova.

“I feel like I started really well so I wanted to keep that going but she came up with a couple of shots and my level totally dropped, which was not good,” Bouchard said.

As well as reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne, Bouchard’s breakout year saw her reach the same stage in the French Open – where she lost to Sharapova – and a first grand slam final at Wimbledon, where she was beaten by Petra Kvitova.

Asked what had changed between last season and this, Bouchard added: “I think I just have that inner belief. I really have that confidence even if it’s not going well, just like in my previous round. I was able to stay calm and I know I have another gear to go to and I still have a good chance if I just keep fighting and keep trying.”

Sharapova followed Bouchard on to Rod Laver Arena and defeated China’s Shuai Peng 6-3 6-0 to continue making the most of saving two match points in the second round against Alexandra Panova.


“I feel like someone or something gave me another chance and when you are close to losing a match you have to try a few different things. I thought I did that well in the rounds after that match,” Sharapova said.

The other quarter-final in the bottom half of the draw was also decided on Sunday evening, with 10th seed Ekaterina Makarova defeating Julia Goerges 6-3 6-2 to reach the last eight for the third time in four years.

Makarova will face third-seed Simona Halep, who made light work of Yanina Wickmayer, 6-4 6-2.

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open: Sharapova eases into fourth round

Sharapova needed just 61 minutes to beat Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas 6-1 6-1 on Friday, ensuring there were no match-point worries this time.

On Wednesday, the world No.2 faced two match points but escaped with a 6-1 4-6 7-5 win over fellow Russian Alexandra Panova, a qualifier ranked No.150.

Against Diyas, Sharapova won the first set in 26 minutes and was broken to open the second, but responded by winning the next six in a dominating roll.

“I rebounded really well,” Sharapova said. “I had a good hit yesterday and just kind of thought a little bit about what I wanted to try to achieve tonight no matter who I played.

“I tried to be a bit more aggressive … she can be a tough, tough player to play against if you give her the time to charge down the line like she likes to do, step down and hit flat, low. So she has that capability.”

Sharapova will try to be as dominating on Sunday when she plays Peng Shuai of China, a six-time WTA finalist but someone who’s never broken through for a tournament win.

Two days made a world of difference for Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open.

Sharapova needed just 61 minutes to beat Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas 6-1 6-1 on Friday, ensuring there were no match-point worries this time.

On Wednesday, the world No.2 faced two match points but escaped with a 6-1 4-6 7-5 win over fellow Russian Alexandra Panova, a qualifier ranked No.150.

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open: Sharapova survives two match points to progress

Second seed Maria Sharapova saved match point twice before defeating Alexandra Panova – ranked No.150 in the world – to progress to the third round of the Australian Open.

Trailing 5-4 in the decisive third set, Sharapova hit two forehand winners as Panova served for the match, before running out a 6-1 4-6 7-5 winner.

“I was not playing my best tennis today,” admitted Sharapova, who hit 51 unforced errors in the match which lasted two hours and 32 minutes.

“I think she [Panova] played a pretty inspired match. She came out here with not much to lose and swinging freely and going for her shots.”

Sharapova, who won the Australian Open in 2008 and has five Grand Slam titles to her name, is the only surviving major winner in her half of the draw. She admitted that she knew “not too much, actually” going into the match about her opponent, who had won her first ever Grand Slam match in five attempts to reach the second round in Melbourne.

“I think she became a little bit more tentative in that last game,” added Sharapova. “Of course, based on experience, you lift yourself up both mentally and physically.”

Sharapova will now face Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan after the No.31 seed survived a battle of her own, winning 8-6 in the third set against Anna Schmiedlova.

Elsewhere in the women’s singles in the afternoon session, there were victories for 10th seed Ekaterina Makarova – 6-4 6-2 against Italian Roberta Vinci – and former French Open finalist Sara Errani, who defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa 7-6 (3) 6-3.

Meanwhile, doubles play began on Wednesday without Serena and Venus Williams. Tournament officials did not immediately specify a reason as to why the American sisters had withdrawn from the competition, though they each face singles matches on Thursday.

In the evening match, third-seed Simona Halep eased past Australian Jarmila Gajdosova 6-2 6-2.

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open 2015: Rafael Nadal through, Ana Ivanovic out

Third seed Rafael Nadal returned to Grand Slam action with a comprehensive win over Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny.

The Spaniard, 28, won 6-3 6-2 6-2 in his first match at a Grand Slam since Wimbledon following injury and illness.

Nadal beats Youzhny in straight sets
Ivanovic one of eight women's seeds to lose
Federer & Sharapova through to second round
Teenager Kokkinakis beats 11th seed Gulbis

Second seed Roger Federer outclassed Yen-Hsun Lu 6-4 6-2 7-5 while sixth seed Andy Murray beat India’s Yuki Bhambri 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

Women’s fifth seed Ana Ivanovic suffered a shock 1-6 6-3 6-2 defeat by Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka.

The Serb was one of eight seeds to lose but second seed Maria Sharapova, third seed Simona Halep and sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard all advanced in straight sets.

Nadal happy with Slam return

Nadal, who is a 14-time Grand Slam winner, had only played eight matches since a shock defeat by Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon last year.

Before the tournament, he played down his chances of winning a second Australian Open title but showed glimpses of his best against world number 49 Youzhny.


“I was a little bit under doubt before, but I think I played without making too many mistakes and the only way to get better is to win more matches so it will probably help me,” said Nadal.

“In general I was working well, returning well and I just need to build a little bit, such as being more dynamic with the movements sometimes. But for the rest I am more or less happy.”

Ivanovic one of eight seeds ousted

Serbia’s Ivanovic appeared close to tears as she dissected her shock first-round exit against Hradecka in front of the post-match media.

“I think the whole match I didn’t really feel like myself out there. I had some issues. You know, it’s probably the worst thing that could happen,” she said.

But the 2008 runner-up was not the only seeded female to suffer an opening-day exit, with a quarter of the seeds falling.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, ninth seed Angelique Kerber, 16th seed Lucie Safarova, Swiss teenage sensation Belinda Bencic, Spain’sCarla Suarez-Navarro and Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also saw their hopes ended.

Read more at BBC Sport

Australian Open: Andy Murray is sixth seed, Novak Djokovic No 1

Andy Murray, will be seeded sixth for the Australian Open, with Novak Djokovic the number one seed.

Five-time champion Serena Williams is top seed for the women’s event while Britain’s Heather Watson will have no protection in Friday’s draw.

Former champion Victoria Azarenka, who is ranked 41st in the world after an injury-hit 2014, is also unseeded.

The tournament, the first Grand Slam of the year, begins on Monday.

The seedings mirror the world rankings.

Spain’s David Ferrer is the ninth seed in the men’s draw after the withdrawal of US Open champion Marin Cilic, while world number 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s absence with a forearm strain means Ernests Gulbis moves up to 11th seed.

Britons Kyle Edmund and Liam Broady are two matches away from reaching the main draw after wins in the first round of qualification.

Men’s top 16 seeds

1. Novak Djokovic (Ser)
2. Roger Federer (Swi)
3. Rafael Nadal (Spa)
4. Stan Wawrinka (Swi)
5. Kei Nishikori (Jpn)
6. Andy Murray (GB)
7. Tomas Berdych (Cze)
8. Milos Raonic (Can)
9. David Ferrer (Spa)
10. Grigor Dimitrov (Bul)
11. Ernests Gulbis (Lat)
12. Feliciano Lopez (Spa)
13. Roberto Bautista Agut (Spa)
14. Kevin Anderson (SA)
15. Tommy Robredo (Spa)
16. Fabio Fognini (Ita)

Women’s top 16 seeds

1. Serena Williams (US)
2. Maria Sharapova (Rus)
3. Simona Halep (Rom)
4. Petra Kvitova (Cze)
5. Ana Ivanovic (Ser)
6. Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol)
7. Eugenie Bouchard (Can)
8. Caroline Wozniacki (Den)
9. Angelique Kerber (Ger)
10. Ekaterina Makarova (Rus)
11. Dominika Cibulkova (Svk)
12. Flavia Pennetta (Ita)
13. Andrea Petkovic (Ger)
14. Sara Errani (Ita)
15. Jelena Jankovic (Ser)
16. Lucie Safarova (Cze)

Read more at BBC Sport

Tennis: Sharapova storms into semi-finals of WTA Brisbane

Maria Sharapova eased into the semi-finals of WTA Brisbane with a hugely-convincing win over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.

The Russian took an hour and eight minutes to beat the seventh seed 6-1 6-3, breaking serve five times as she did so, and earning a spot in the last four against up-and-coming Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who knocked out Angelique Kerber.

Top seed Sharapova was relieved to have cruised past an opponent who has given her problems in the past.

“We went back and forth with our victories in 2014 so I’m always a little bit aware of girls that I lose to,” Sharapova said.

“I certainly know that she’s capable of playing really well, though. She plays defence great and makes you hit a lot of balls.

“Especially on a slower court like here, you just don’t want to give her that much time to play her game. I thought I did a good job of that today.
“Maybe I made a little too many unforced errors in the beginning, but I finished strong.”

Svitolina, who had come from 6-3 3-0 down to stun Kerber in a 4-6 7-5 6-3 victory, sounded thrilled to be facing Sharapova.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Svitolina said. “It’s always great to compete against these players. You see what you need to improve. I’ll try and fight as I did today, and hopefully I can win tomorrow.”

Sharapova was also keenly anticipating the match.

“She’s a young girl that’s already in the Top 30 with a tremendous amount of potential, and someone you’ll be seeing in the top very soon,” Sharapova said.
“She definitely has a good game. She’s an all-around player. It’ll be a tough match-up for me, but one that I’m looking forward to, actually.”


1-Maria Sharapova (Russia) beat 7-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) 6-1 6-3

Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) beat 3-Angelique Kerber (Germany) 4-6 7-5 6-3

Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.) beat Alla Kudryavtseva (Russia) 7-5 7-5

Read more at Yahoo Sport