Monday, 23 January 2012

Sharapova tested, Makarova stuns Serena

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova recovered from the loss of the first set to beat Sabine Lisicki, 3-6 6-2 6-3 and advance into the quarter-finals.  It was a very good match, which had some ferocious hitting.  When you compare the power on show to the match between Wozniacki and Jankovic last night, the difference is really astonishing! Sharapova started the match in fine form allowing Lisicki just two points in the first three games.  However Lisicki started to step into the court on the fourth game and hit some magnificent returns.  It was a smart move, which put Sharapova under pressure; her serving then fell off as did the rest of her game.  Lisicki won six straight games to take a marvellous opening set for the German.

Sharapova fought hard to take the second set and took advantage of 79% of first serves in to push the match into the third set.  At 1-1 in the decider, Sharapova saved five break points in what turned out to be the decisive game of the match.  Lisicki went a little defensive and although she was managing to keep her unforced error count low, she lost that attacking edge, which is what won her the first set.  Sharapova got the crucial break at 3-2 and although Lisicki had her chances to get back into the match, Sharapova stood her ground on serve to win.  I didn't fancy Lisicki to hold much of a chance against Sharapova, but she fought hard in this match.  Once again, she didn't take all her chances against Sharapova in that third set.  Overall, it was a strange third set from Lisicki, who definitely could have taken a few more risks with her shot-making.  There are not many players who could mentally stay so strong after wasting a 0-3 first set lead and losing 6 straight games, but Sharapova is a cut above the rest in terms of her mental toughness.

Sharapova will play the world number 56 Ekaterina Makarova in the quarter-finals after she produced the biggest shock of the tournament so far to take out Serena Williams in straight sets, 6-2 6-3.  It was the lowest seeded player Serena had lost to at a Grand Slam since 2005 when she lost to the world number 85, Jill Craybas in the third round of Wimbledon.   Makarova played a blinder of a match, but Serena was well short of her best, particularly on serve.  She hit 7 double faults during the match and won just 31% of points on her second serve.  She admitted afterwards that her lefty serve would have been better than todays serving performance.  She also said in her post-match conference that had it not been a Grand Slam, she probably would not have risked the ankle injury she picked up in Brisbane.  I thought Serena would win today against Makarova, but I did originally have her out in the 4th round to Kaia Kanepi... I just picked the wrong player to beat her! 

Petra Kvitova reached the Australian Open quarter-finals for the second year in a row with a straight-set victory over Ana Ivanovic, 6-2 7-6.  It was the first time she had beaten Ivanovic and despite a wobble serving for the match at 5-4, she recovered to take the second set tiebreak.  Kvitova did manage to hit a hilarious airshot, which is one for the bloopers reel.  Ivanovic failed to get going in this match as Kvitova was good value for the win.  Kvitova served well throughout the match and hit 30 winners to 23 unforced errors.  Kvitova will play Sara Errani, who is the second player at these Championships to reach their first ever Grand Slam quarter-final.  Errani was clinical in dispatching Zheng Jie, 6-2 6-1.  Zheng had a horror show today as she failed to deal with Errani's top spin shots committing an astonishing 47 unforced errors.  Errani has played very well to reach this stage, but I don't hold much hope for her in the next round against Kvitova...

1 comment:

  1. Happy for Masha, Makarova and kvitova. THough I would have loved Jheng to win the match against Errani, but good for Errani to make it to the QF.

    The match against Erani should be an easy one for Kvitova. Let us see how she comes up. She has a long way to go. She needs to be mentally very tough....