Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - The Defensive Athlete
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The Defensive Athlete 09/06/2010 - 8:07 PM

Cw On the way into Ashe Stadium this afternoon, Caroline Wozniacki was asked by a television interviewer what she would need to do to turn the tables on her opponent, Maria Sharapova, who had beaten her in each of their first two matches. Wozniacki said, with a confidence so calmly sunny that it bordered on the defiant, “I’m going to do what I do best.”

What she does best, of course, is hit the ball in the court, again and again. This is the only truly essential element of the sport; you can win a lot of matches without doing anything more. Hence the sunny confidence in Wozniacki’s voice. But as effective as it is, hitting the ball in the court again and again is not a widely admired skill. It’s hard to admire something so cautious, so dogged, so necessary—being a retriever is for the dogs. Hence this Great Dane’s defiance.

You might have thought that being thrown in as the No. 1 seed after Serena Williams’s withdrawal would have rattled Wozniacki. She must have seen what happened to the last woman who backed into a No. 1 spot, Dinara Safina. The Russian was badgered for months about the legitimacy of her top ranking in 2009, and has since dropped out of the Top 40. The same questions have trailed Wozniacki through this tournament. Is she a serious No. 1? Is she a glorified pusher? Does anyone in this country know who she is? Thus far, though, Wozniacki has been motivated rather than cowed by the added pressure and scrutiny. She lost just a handful of games in her first three matches, and knocked off a former Open champ today in fairly routine fashion 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals. From a distance, Wozniacki’s hit-the-ball-in-the-court game looks dull, and, frankly, it can be. But when you see her up close, you see that a lot of squeaky-sneakered grit goes into her version of the hit-the-ball-back game. Wozniacki may be defensive, but she’s a defensive athlete.

She’s also an intelligent one. After watching Wozniacki hit every ball safely inside the lines and safely over the net for two games, I began to recall an earlier generation’s best defensive athlete, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Like the Spaniard, Wozniacki has workmanlike (workwomanlike?) strokes that she rarely takes on the rise or uses creatively—Wozniacki just keeps circling under the ball on each side, topspinning it crosscourt a little beyond the service line. Like Sanchez-Vicario, she’s patient and irritatingly tenacious. Like Sanchez-Vicario, Wozniacki knows that a “comfort zone” is called that for a reason. Why go where you’re uncomfortable? Why take the ball on the rise? Why hit it close to the lines or low over the net when it isn’t necessary? And like Sanchez-Vicario with Steffi Graf, Wozniacki, in her patient and tenacious way, made a tall, blond, hard-hitting Grand Slam champ go haywire today. Wozniacki hit half as many winners, but committed one-third as many unforced errors. That’s a stark recipe, but a recipe for success.

Where does this leave the tall, blond, former Grand Slam champ? Sharapova appeared to be in good form to start, but after double-faulting to go down 1-3, trouble slowly spread to every part of her game. She pulled off her forehand and sent it into the tape. She overhit her returns and sailed ground strokes long on break points. Even her usually brilliant backhand failed her in the second set.

Asked in her presser if she had problems finding her range on her serve, Sharapova said quietly, “You could say that about so many different areas in the game today. I played two good points and then made two return errors. I didn’t really give her a chance to play. I felt like I was just giving it out there. I think [my game] just needs to be more stable and not so up and down.”

Sharapova, who has been mostly healthy this year, has now had enough time to find that stability. She’s 23, which is hardly over the hill in the WTA these days. But there’s an inconsistency, an unfinished quality, to Sharapova’s game that will be hard to cure. When she won big in the past, she won with fierce and uncompromising determination, and an overwhelming first-strike game—with high-risk winners. Unlike Serena Williams, she was never speedy or well-rounded or athletic enough to fall back on anything else. High-risk winners aren’t easy things to call up, and there are a lot of other women who play with her kind of ferocity now. While she has lost only to top players—Henin, Serena, Wozniacki—at the majors in 2010, she never really threatened to win any of those matches. You can no longer say, “when Sharapova gets back to her best form . . .” This, right now, is her form, and it’s not good enough to win a major.

As we thought, Sharapova was beaten by a retriever. But when Wozniacki needed to serve it out, when she needed to show a little more, she had it. At 30-15, she made her way to the net for the first time, and won the point. At 40-15, match point, she wasted no time in knocking off a forehand winner up the line. It wasn’t her first, either. While she never played risky or creative tennis, Wozniacki moved Sharapova when she needed to, passed her when she had the chance, held steady when she was down break points, and even rifled a few backhands past her. Most subtly, at 3-3 in the second, up 15-30 on Sharapova’s serve, Wozniacki took a backhand a little earlier than normal and hit it with a little more depth and pace than normal. It was enough to throw Sharapova off and draw a winner. Wozniacki broke serve on the next point.

It wasn’t an artistic performance by any means—I’ll never love Wozniacki’s circular, supersafe forehand, in particular. But it wasn’t a snooze, either. It took me many years to begin to appreciate the competitive intelligence that was hidden just beneath the dull veneer of Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario’s game. I got an early start on Wozniacki’s today. 


 
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Posted by Eva 09/06/2010 at 08:34 PM

What's up with you lately, steve? You never comment on Novak's matches anymore, even when they're far more interesting than Wozniacki vs Sharapova. May that be because he has crushed two Americans back to back showing no mercy at all? Novak fried the fish today and it was impressive and clinical. It's about time you guys start counting Djokovic for a title candidate, jeez.

Posted by Skip1515 09/06/2010 at 08:39 PM

If Wozniaki takes the other parts of Sanchez-Vicario's game - crisp volleys and a rock solid overhead - so she doesn't have to fear being brought forward (as if anyone uses that as a tactic anymore), then she will be a truly formidable competitor.

It may be boring, but the plain fact is that if you get *every* ball back you win; home runs, goals, baskets and winners are not required for the W. When a tennis player has that as a core belief it's very potent.

Posted by Rowdy in Atlanta 09/06/2010 at 09:11 PM

Steve, you are totally on point with this article. The only weapon Wozniaki has is stamina and liteally being a human backboard. She can go side to side forever until the opponent grows weary or impatient. To be number 1 you've got to take the risks. The game should be entertaining and a display of athleticism. Sharapova is certainly the better player, however, double faulting and over hitting allowed her to beat herself. Sharapova tried to play Wozniaki's game instead of her own and was inevitably beaten at it. Wozniaki is not the #1 player. I continue to put Serena, Venus, Clijsters and even Henin above her. If she was to play Jankovic, the game could go on until the next U.S. Open....boring, bring tennis.

Posted by marilynbutterfly 09/06/2010 at 09:21 PM

The only reason you and the rest of the tennis establishment don't embrace Wozniaki is that she is not superficial like Sharapova is. Off court she seems to be a real person not FAKE!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/06/2010 at 09:27 PM

"Without doing anything." Thanks Steve for giving her credit. Caro deserved better than this after winning a pivotal match in her career in straights. So unfair!!

Posted by Tennis Fan 09/06/2010 at 09:28 PM

Sharapova dead. Wozniacki boring. WOW!

Remember this when Sarapova wins her next slam. She double faulted the match away which she did at Wimbledon also, just needs more consistency on the serve not an immpossible feat.

JJ has the same game as Wozniacki and she is not boring nor is Wozniacki. While this match was not as excciting as last nights it still was competive and shows that C-Woz can handle the pressure and close out matches. She is kind like Nadal, no?

Why not do and article on all the members of the press TV and print who total missed the ball on C-Woz and their predictions.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/06/2010 at 09:33 PM

Not many tennis experts gave her a chance to win this match and what is a shame, when she win it in straights, she still can get credit. Go figure.

Posted by tennisdamenace 09/06/2010 at 09:34 PM

All credit to Wozniacki for being able to hit every ball back in the court, get them all near the baseline and keep making Sharapova work. BUT, Sharapova definitely beat herself today. She had so many opportunities and didn't take any of them. There was a lot of good rallies in this match but Maria really broke herself on her serve. She also seemed to forget how to hit an angle. I wonder how long Caroline is going to be able to play this style before the other girls figure her out...

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/06/2010 at 09:35 PM

One last thing, Sharapova didn't lose this, Caro won it. She outplayed Maria and deserve the credit for it.

Posted by tennisdamenace 09/06/2010 at 09:40 PM

Samantha Elin, did Caroline develop a new tennis skill that allows her to make an opponent double fault at will? This would be a stunning development.

Posted by Texastennis 09/06/2010 at 09:42 PM

Steve's, It's difficult to believe you watched today's match to write about Wozniacki like this. I've been hoping for she might be a Sanchez-Vicario type. She played a great match today, night and day different from last year. Sharapova has her own (many) problems at this point but that doesn't detract from how Wozaniacki totally brought an A game today. Great defense for sure, amazing movement, but much quicker to flatten out the ball to generate some real pace and served very well. I thought she played a very exciting game, great to watch, and no dullness in sight on her side.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/06/2010 at 09:49 PM

Tennisdamenace, please look at Caro's first serve perecentage, and please look at her two handed FH now the line which did a lot of damage to Sharapova. This match was more than Maria's weaknesses but had a lot to do with Caro's strengths. The better player won today.

Posted by Ruth_yyz 09/06/2010 at 10:02 PM

Do you truly feel that way Steve? You certainly have more to go on (seeing as you have experience on tour and I'm ony an experienced spectator) and although you certainly are right that Caroline's game is built on defense...I still saw a whole lot more aspects to her game (from this match and the last couple of tournaments she's played and won). She adjusts the amount of defense/offense that she plays depending on the player on the other side of the net. I've found that when she plays an opponent who is not all that offensive she takes on the role of agressor. Tonight she was aggressive only when absolutely opportune. She plays to her opponents strengths/weaknesses. I can't see how her game can ever breakdown. She can only get better. She is certainly guilty of frustrating her opponents (and me the viewer at times) since I finder her to be like an annoying fly constantly buzzing around ... you can hear it and every so often you see it but can't seem to get close enough to swat it. She only adds quality to the WTA.

The only reason she'd wear herself thin is from continuing to play an overwhelming amount of tournaments. But I don't consider her matches to last very long (at least not this tournament) and she certainly does not contort herself as much as Nadal does and so isn't likely to suffer from too many injuries (hopefully!!)

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/06/2010 at 10:02 PM

Here are some figure you might want to consider. Caro first serve percentage 69%, Maria 57%, Second serve percentage, Caro 52%, Maria 34%. Total points won, Caro 8O, Maria 68, recieving points won, Caro 45, Maria 38. Caro won this match, Maria didn't lose it. Maria was outplayed today so STOP making excuses that she lost it.

Posted by daryl 09/06/2010 at 10:20 PM

"Sharapova was beaten by a retriever" then in the same paragraph,"Wozniacki moved Sharapova when she needed to, passed her when she had the chance, held steady when she was down break points, and even rifled a few backhands past her." You weren't drinking when you wrote this blog were you? Look, her game is as much as a shame as a certain swede was before he won his first grand slam. Those balls they were hitting didn't seem like powder-puff ones. It's easy, when Wozniacki was hitting balls very hard and close to the line she would win the point, but it wasn't called a winner. I got it Steve, why don't you go back and watch the match over again and come up with a category called forced errors. Or I got it just don't watch her matches.

Posted by Bob Sacamano 09/06/2010 at 10:30 PM

I think there is definitely room for Wozie in the mix. I like her goofy confidence. It's refreshing to see a relatively happy warrior for a change.

"Then I saw her face
now I'm a retriever!"

Posted by Will 09/06/2010 at 10:31 PM

Wozniacki played very well today, but Maria beat herself. She was unable to take the break points oportunities that she had (17!) And now, Caroline will face Cibulkova and then either Zvonareva or Kanepi...so it will be hard to see her like a truely number 1 if she wins the title. I guess the last real number 1 was Sharapova (Ivanovic, Jankovic and Safina were just a results of a lot of matches and tournaments played, just like Wozniaki if she becomes number 1) I hope Clijsters wins her third consecutive US Open.

Posted by AdamC 09/06/2010 at 10:32 PM

Maria had so many opportunities today but did not take them. She could have turned the match around if it weren't for a few errors here and there. I think she gave the game away with all her errors and double faults. Unlike their match at the Hong Kong Classic Exhibition, Maria was clearly serving better and finding the lines more often. Caroline did play a solid game and retrieved much more balls. Somehow, I think Maria's shots have been slower and less powerful as compared to the past few years.

Posted by Dunlop1440 09/06/2010 at 10:36 PM

This article has errors, man. First off, in Australia, Sharapova lost to Kirilenko, who is not a top player. Also, she threatened to win all of the matches she lost at majors in 2010 minus today's match. She played a long 3 setter against Kirilenko in Australia, she was up 2-0 40-0 in the third set against Henin at the French, and she had set points in the first set against Serena at Wimbledon.

And in my opinion, it is still valid to say "when Sharapova gets back to top form". Because we've seen how well she can play, and today was nowhere close to that.

Posted by gliciouss 09/06/2010 at 10:41 PM

sharapova has a much more interesting game....it is just so up and down...way too erratic...i agree she is not in a position to win a slam right now...but then again neither is woz....if she was in the lower half...she would be out before the final...for sure

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/06/2010 at 10:45 PM

Dunlop, not sure we were watching the same matches, didn't see where Sharapova "theatened to win all of the matches she lost at major in 201O minus today's match." I'm thinking she lost to players who were better, Serena and Justine. She hasn't beat Serena in six year so that was very consistent. And after over two years with the shoulder problems and dfs, I think "If Sharapova gets back to top form" is the way to phrase if, if you're not wishful thinking. Kom sa, Caro

Posted by Tennis101 09/06/2010 at 10:52 PM

Yeah I agree with what Sharapova said. She had so many opportunities in the slams this year. But she failed to convert them. She came so close in winning almost every match in the slams. But again, it was all the errors that came back to haunt her and thus making her lose. She had a set point against Serena (then she lost from a forehand error). 2-0 40-0 up against Justine (but errors and Justine finding her shots lost her the match) and this match, where all the errors she made really cost her. Caro did win the match because she was consistent. But if Sharapova had stepped up her game and reduced the errors, it would have been a different story. This year has been a tough year for Sharapova and the slams. Plus, losing in both finals in Stanford and Cincinnati. Again, blowing the lead against Kim in Cincinnati. She needs to regain the momentum and competitive spirit.

Posted by Ruth_yyz 09/06/2010 at 10:52 PM

There are two ways to win a match. Hit out right winners all the time or just keep hitting the ball into the court until your opponent makes an error. In no way does doing the latter mean that you did not WIN the match. At the end of the day Caroline out played Sharapova. And yes Sharapova lost key points because that is what a top player does to her opponent.

Posted by linex 09/06/2010 at 10:52 PM

Caro played great today and her game was not only defense she mixed it up well and showed both aspects. She was not hitting many moon balls because she realized early on tht maria was going to take them from the air as swing volleys. Caro has improved a lot in comparison to last year. Still an area she needs to develop is her net game maybe it is the next step. I also think that she lost weight in the last couple of months, I saw her live at Roland Garros playing doubles with DAniela H and I thought that she was carrying a couple of extra kilos, she clearly lost them now, and I think she is even quicker than before.

Posted by Ruth_yyz 09/06/2010 at 10:57 PM

Also we can't say that the Sharapova of old would defeat the current Wozniacki. We just don't know unless it were to actually happen. And I absolutely agree that the Caroline Wozniacki we are seeing in this tournament is not the same player we saw last year at the US Open.

Posted by clover 09/06/2010 at 11:00 PM

I think the conditions of the match helped Wozniacki's shots better today. Because she is a defensive person, her shots cant go too wrong with or against the wind. However, Sharapova's attack shots were troubled by the wind and clearly so was she. Woznicki was smarter in keeping the balls in play and in the middle. But credit to Sharapova for going for high risk shots as she knows that it is the only way to beat her opponent. Sharapova would not win in a slug fest with Wozniacki. Really hope Sharapova gets back to her best soon.

Posted by Sebby 09/06/2010 at 11:02 PM

Whatever. As if Woz is the only intelligent athlete on the tour. All the top players (WTA and ATP) are a mix of athleticism and tennis smarts. Tell us something we don't know.

Posted by maggie.q 09/06/2010 at 11:02 PM

Imagine the Sharapova from the 2008 Australian Open and the Wozniacki today. I think Maria would've won the match easily had she been in the same form. Her groundstrokes and serve were working better then with more pace and placement. And the conditions was easier without the wind. People should give more respect to Maria and the things she has done.

Posted by maggie.q 09/06/2010 at 11:03 PM

Imagine the Sharapova from the 2008 Australian Open and the Wozniacki today. I think Maria would've won the match easily had she been in the same form. Her groundstrokes and serve were working better then with more pace and placement. And the conditions was easier without the wind. People should give more respect to Maria and the things she has done.

Posted by WozniNadal 09/06/2010 at 11:21 PM

Caroline Wozniacki, my woman tennis champion! She played magnificently well today. With Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova out, the probability of my champions in the finals is almost one. I have to book airplane for a trip to New York city this weekend. It could be that both of them will be 2010 US Open champions. Caroline Wozniacki played very much like Rafael Nadal in the beginning: defensive with hard-hitting, top-spun balls. Is it a coincidence or is that a definite definition for a tennis champion?

Posted by SamK 09/06/2010 at 11:22 PM

I don't mean to pat myself on the back but I knew this would happen. I have been saying it for weeks that Sharapova DOES NOT deserve to be in finals contention conversation. They did this SAME thing at Wimbledon and when she came up against her first hurdle she stumbled miserably.

People acted as if Caroline had not one numerous titles, played incredibly consistent, and was not 100% healthy. I'm so tired of this. Sharapova gets this talk because she won 3 grand slams in 2 years ago? If Martina Hingis were to come back today would be give her the same talk? Sharapova is NOT at her best and tennis has passed her by. Her priorities today are not tennis centered.

Sometimes I wonder if top tennis commentators watch WOMENS tennis matches week to week. The way commentators were predicting Sharapova so easily made me feel like they had not seen a tennis match outside a grand slam in years. They had no concept of Caro's consistency and acted as if Sharapova was the Masha of 2008.

I knew this would happen and I feel validated.

Posted by X 09/06/2010 at 11:24 PM

Sanchez-Vicario:Wozniacki is a good comparison.

Graf:Sharapova is utter BS. Graf has the best movement/footwork in the history of women's tennis. Sharapova has one of the worst among GS winners.

I'd much rather watch Wozniacki play, even if her shots are less powerful/aggressive, because she moves like a sports car instead of an old truck.

Posted by Hmmmmmmmmmmm? 09/06/2010 at 11:25 PM

Does it bother anyone else that "dress tugs" are a statistic in a match? That soon the woman's tennis wardrobe will consist of a g-string and some pasties? What is up with Woz and VWilliams and their all too revealing outfits? Where is the decency of the game? Why are so many female players trying to turn this sport into women's beach volleyball, where the majority of fans are only fans cause they can tune in to get their voyeuristic jollies? What do Billie Jean King and Martina N. and other pioneers who fought so hard to alidate women's tennis? They should be infuriated that female tennis players are reducing themselves to eye candy to be oogled by perverse men. Shame, shame!

Posted by catrice 09/06/2010 at 11:33 PM

WE can't continue to live in the past. Sports, like life is about what have you done for me lately? No one denies what Maria has done, but lately she has not done much. Just as they continually harp on Venus not winning on anything other than grass in 7 or 8 years. She is also not in the same form, since wrist surgery, knee and abdomen injuries...so what?

I feel for Maria and her injuries, but she has got to pull it all together. Yes she had several double faults, but Elena D has learned to double fault and still win. Caroline played beautifully and I think the pressure got to Maria. She is not on form to start consistently beating the top 10 players...still has work to do.

Posted by Yasmine 09/06/2010 at 11:36 PM

Sharapova has always been known to be a grand slam champion and is always a threat at the slams. In the aus open 2008, no one would've predicted that Sharapova would come through and win the tournament without dropping a set! She runs on form, and when she has it, she's unbeatable. She did not stumble miserably in Wimbledon. She met Serena Williams and we all know Serena was unbelievable in Wimbledon. And Maria was one of her only struggles there. The only person coming close to take a set off her. If tennis isn't Sharapova's priorities, then what is she still doing on the court? She showed that she's still working hard and trying to find answers to her game. If not, why would she every try to change her service motion over and over again?? She's still trying to find her range in her shots and people should see that she's working hard. Sharapova's movement may not be the best. However, it still got her 3 grand slams, hasnt it?? The best movers like Jankovic or Dementieva are still in the game... and how many grand slams have they won??? Sharapova makes the game interesting with her powerful shots and aggresive play. Like they said, if it were Jankovic and Wozniacki playing in the final, who would be interested? It was a shame Sharapova didnt get a night match for this.

Posted by JK 09/06/2010 at 11:36 PM

And I say, 'May the best player win!'
And so, she does. Don't say she doesn't, because she just did.

Posted by jhurwi 09/06/2010 at 11:39 PM

SamK: not all commentators were predicting that Sharapova would win easily. The two Tennis Channel commentators last night (of whom Tracy Austin was one)both gave Wozniacki the edge on the basis of her recent form.

Posted by Tennis Fan 09/06/2010 at 11:42 PM

"Imagine the Sharapova from the 2008 Australian Open and the Wozniacki today. I think Maria would've won the match easily had she been in the same form."

That was a very confident Sharapova.

Sharapova double faults 3 times in row in the 4th game of the first set handing Wozniacki the game and essentially the set, on a silver platter. At other times, Wozniacki was whiffing at Sharapova serves. Sharapova double faults on break point at 3-3 in the second set handing Woznaicki the match on a silver platter.


While I think Wozniacki played well today, Sharapova did hand her the match on a silver platter by DFing one game away in the first set and one game in the second taking a lot of pressure off Wozniacki. Which is not to say Wozniacki could not have won the match anyway as clearly she could have but Sharapova could have also had she not double faulted two games away.

Sharapova double faulted at Wimbledon in the first set tie breaker to give Serena set point on her serve and you can't do that against Serena.

Clearly, Sharapova's game depends on her serve and DFs have to go. If she clears that up she will win. Sharapova no more double faults - please.

(Anyone notice the sweat patch on Sharapova back during the match? It was in the shape of a big heart. Wonder if that means something?)

Wozniacki has game (more than she is given credit for) and I have been her supporter long before others knew who she was. Her best asset is her confidence. I love how she says she deserves #1, unlike some other former #1s who are both out of the top 30 now. This is the attitude of a winner.

Posted by JK 09/06/2010 at 11:43 PM

To, tennisdamenace.
Obviously Caro IS the better player. She held it together when Sharapova couldn't. Too bad too sad. Don't say Maria is the better player. Today, she wasn't, Caroline was. If Sharapova couldn't do it, that's her problem. So 'Go figure'. Maybe spectate matches a little closer, huh?

Posted by JK 09/06/2010 at 11:44 PM

Today was interesting, Caro brought her game to the next level. I'vbe noticed that her game HAS worked. Evidence? Re-watch today's match. Have fun!! :)

Posted by Master Ace 09/06/2010 at 11:49 PM

Steve,
Nice compairson of Caroline to Arantxa S-V as both play tennis very consistently. Also, did Arantxa win Slams? Yes, she did against some good champions in Steffi and Monica. Caroline's overhead is good but volleys can use the work but she will improve in that area. However, if she wins 3 more matches, she will be number 1 with a Slam on her resume that would cap off a 21-1 run since Wimbledon.

Posted by SamK 09/06/2010 at 11:50 PM

Jhurwi I should not have made the generalization. IT just felt like blogs and CBS commentators (Mary Carillo you should know better) were giving Sharapova an outright edge saying that it was hers to lose. At 16 in the world with a miserable loss to Clijsters weeks before, this was not hers to lose.

Yasmine Sharapova WAS a threat at slams because she had never gone through a period of loss and injury. She led a charge from the time she was 17 to her last slam win. Since then she has shown no consistency (since her comeback) and has not proven herself at all in any slam setting. To put her in a Serena Williams, Justine Henin, Graf setting is just ridiculous. Consistency is what makes a legend not 3 slams and then disappearing.

Posted by maggie.q 09/06/2010 at 11:50 PM

I agree with Tennis Fan. Almost throughout the match, when Sharapova had a first serve, it was either returned short, or she had a mis-hit (it did happen quite a number of times. very weird). So I aagree that Sharapova has to find her serve again to get the momentum back. Her serve at the Aus open was great. Especially the second serves. I hope she gets back to her best.

Caroline was definitely the better player, which is because she was more consistent. Sharapova has to blame herself for all the unforced errors.

Posted by Coach Myron 09/06/2010 at 11:56 PM

The difference in the match was a few points and a few shots where Sharapova forgot to scream at the top of her lungs for 3 seconds to distract her opponent.

Posted by Yasmine 09/06/2010 at 11:58 PM

SamK - but then Maria came back from injury in 07 to take the Aus open. So doesnt that count? Maria has been unlucky with all the injuries. The shoulder injury is definitely a nightmare for her (and all tennis pros). She has not been consistent. But imagine, in this years slams, she lost to two no1 (Serena and Caroline) and Justine in paris (one of the best clay courters out there). So there's no reason to say she hasnt proven much. She had all close scores in the slams this year (at least not an outright defeat or one sided match). I believe Maria has not disappeared yet. She is still there competing and wanting to be the best. I think the disappointment from all her slam records have been a let down for Maria and she has to forget about the past and move forward

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/06/2010 at 11:58 PM

"Sharapova did hand her the match on a silver platter." Yeah, this seems to happen everytime she loses. She always beats herself. When will her apologist face up to the fact that the Sharapova of 2010 is a far cry from the Sharapova of 2004. And no matter how many commentators talk about her being a contender, she failed to make it past the 4th round of EVERY slam she played in this year.Just like someone said, tennis is about what you can do now and there are some real quesions on whether Sharapova can win a slam. I say, not with that serve and please let's stop saying when she comes back to form because there is no guarantee she will ever play like the player she did when she beat Serena at Wimby in 04. Sharapova has been beat by players such as Oudin, Dulko, Cibulkova and Kirilenko all recently and all at slams. None of these are elite player and some are not even good players. Right now, alot of players have a good shot at her and no, without a serve, she isn't a contender anymore them Demi or JJ are contenders without good serves. Yes, to give credit where it's due she WAS an elite player, the question is, is she still an elite player who can win slams? When Sharapova plays the next slam, it will make it over three years since her last slam win so I'll take a wait on see if she can still win slam, no matter what the so called experts are telling me. Caro beat her just as Oudin, Dulko, Cibulkova and Kirilenko did.

Posted by mariafan 09/07/2010 at 12:00 AM

Cant wait till Maria Sharapova wins another slam and prove you all wrong!

Posted by S.Song 09/07/2010 at 12:01 AM

Samantha Elin, are you a Sharapova hater?

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 12:02 AM

Correction it will be three years exactly. Is Maria a contender for a slam? Prove it by winning one.

Posted by Yasmine 09/07/2010 at 12:04 AM

So you are saying JJ and Dementieva are contenders and Sharapova is not? So Sharapova's grand slam records this year are far worse than JJ? I think every player is a contender at the slams. Like last year, Caroline wasn't a contender for the US open. But she did make it to the finals, didnt she? Everyone is a contender

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 12:06 AM

S.Song, no, I just don't like not giving Caro the credit she deserves and sorry if doubting if a player who hasn't come close to winning a slam in three year by the next slams makes me a hater, I probably have a lot of company. BTW, I didn't say she can't win one, I said it's a wait and see.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 12:09 AM

Yasmine, you missed my point, I said that it will be difficult for Sharapova to win a slam without a decent serve. I believe what has kept Demmy from winning has been a serve. I believe this will hold true for Sharapova, nothing against her, but certainly feel Caro should be given credit for beating her. And no everyone isn't a contender. Did you think Mel was a contender this year??

Posted by S.Song 09/07/2010 at 12:09 AM

So if you dont like people not giving Caro the credit she deserves, then why are you commenting about Sharapova? shouldnt you just comment about Caro?

Posted by Yasmine 09/07/2010 at 12:12 AM

Yes. I believe everyone is a contender. Was Schiavone a contender this year at Roland Garros? Is Cibulkova a contender this year at the us open? but she has made it to the Quarters?

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 12:14 AM

"Everyone" really Jasmine???

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 12:17 AM

Catrice, "We can't continue to live in the past. Caroline played beautifully and the pressure got to Maria." This posts says it all. This is the facts.

Posted by Tennis Fan 09/07/2010 at 12:21 AM

"Is Maria a contender for a slam? Prove it by winning one."

One could say the same thing about Wozniacki, who does not exactly have a good slam record this year either. Losing to Kvitova 6-2, 6-0 at Wimbledon, 6-2, 6-3 to Schiavone at FO and Li Na 6-4, 6-3 at AO.

And could very well lose to the likes of Kanepi at this slam. If she survives her half none of the ladies on the other side of the draw will be easy to beat in a final. So maybe we should just wait and see. And if Sharapova is soooo bad then maybe Wozniacki's win today doesn't mean all that much, right?

Posted by Yasmine 09/07/2010 at 12:22 AM

Yes, EVERYONE. Who knows. Schiavone might win again or Zvonareva. Nobody knows. I think i've made my point with Schiavone in Paris.

Posted by maggie.q 09/07/2010 at 12:24 AM

I agree with Tennis Fan. Caro would have to prove that she is a contender again by winning this one. Yeah. If Sharapova was bad, then she would have lost 6-0 6-0 then? So she should also get credit for actually staying close with Caro in this match

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 12:26 AM

Tennisfan, we actually agree, please note that I said the same thing about Caro over at Pete, that she was a wait and see. Yasmine, I took everyone to mean all the competitors at the open.

Posted by Yasmine 09/07/2010 at 12:30 AM

Yeah. If everyone is not a competitor, then why do they have Grand Slams then? Shouldnt it be like the end of the year championships when only the best contenders in the world have to square off? Why do they have 128 draws in slams then? They should have 32 or 16 draws if they thought only some could win the tournament. Grand Slams give a chance to players to make something happen and give them a shot at winning. Everyone has a shot. Like Beatrice Capra, 300 something in the world and made it to the 3rd round. She had a chance too

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 12:33 AM

Yasmine, agree to disagree, that every player in the draw is a "contender".

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 12:43 AM

Davenport: "This was the best match I ever saw her play." Sorry, Maria gave her nothing. The better player won.

Posted by Robert 09/07/2010 at 01:04 AM

"The only reason you and the rest of the tennis establishment don't embrace Wozniaki is that she is not superficial like Sharapova is. Off court she seems to be a real person not FAKE!"

I totally agree with you. Caroline is a breath of fresh air in a tennis world full of phonies and spoiled, overpaid brats. Her game may not be to your liking, Maria fans but she outplayed, outlasted and outwitted her at every opportunity, very much to your chagrin I can just imagine.

To quote the great coach Paul Annacone about players like Caroline: "Call them whatever nickname you like—“pushers,” “backboards,” “walls,” “moonballers”—but the fact is that counter-punchers are worthy and able opponents. They’re extremely consistent, have good foot speed, play great defense, and like to use your pace against you. It isn’t exactly a glamorous style of play, but you’d better respect it because it’s difficult to beat. That’s why so many people dread playing counter-punchers and come up with derogatory names for them."

Posted by Jenn 09/07/2010 at 01:09 AM

I generally love Steve's articles, but I have to agree with Samantha on this one. Caro was under a ton of pressure today to prove that she was worthy of that high seed and that she could win over a legitimate contender (i.e. past grand slam champion). Despite that pressure, she went out there with total confidence. Sharapova could have blown her off the court today but Caro stood her ground, served well and did not waiver in either set after obtaining the lead. Maria is always a tough out and rarely goes quietly. But Caro stood in and served it out, great game at 5-3 in the 2nd (something Steve acknowledges above).

I actually do not find Caro boring. I love mentally tough players. You know what I find boring? Gifted players who blast the ball and commit UFE after UFE. That is groan-inducing. Give me a player who plays smart, fights for every point and knows when to take chances in the match.

Posted by Sharapova Fan 09/07/2010 at 01:13 AM

Yes, the person who played better did win today, but you can't reallyh say that Wozniacki is a better player than Sharapova. Sharapova has won three slams, Wozniacki has yet to win one. Are you forgetting about Sharapova breezing through the AO field in 2008 without dropping a set, destroying Henin 6-4, 6-0? You act as if Sharapova hasn't won a slam since 2004, but 2008 wasn't very long ago. Wozniacki would have to win a couple slams to prove she is better than Sharapova, and honestly I don't think her counterpuncher game can win her 7 straight matches in slam. The only player she played last year to get to the final was Kuznetsova, and her draw this year has been/will be easy besides her match against Sharapova today. I'd be stunned if she took out Clijsters or Venus in the finals.

Posted by nansei 09/07/2010 at 01:21 AM

To me, Wozniacki recalls the Nadal of five years ago. Both are coached by exfootballers. Another footballer said 'a good defense will beat an good offense, mabe Bear Bryant.

I don't find the Woz as boring as a few. The ever lengthening rallies got really intense today. Sharapova had to play the most extreme shots to stay on the court, and in the end she was the gutted one. The Woz is like a snake charmer, and she charmed a queen cobra today.

Posted by Tennis Fan 09/07/2010 at 01:36 AM

"I generally love Steve's articles, but I have to agree with Samantha on this one. Caro was under a ton of pressure today to prove that she was worthy of that high seed and that she could win over a legitimate contender (i.e. past grand slam champion)."

Jenn: Actually, you don't agree with Samatha as Samantha does not think that Sharapova is a contender, despite her past slams, it's a what have you done for me lately attitude. So, Caro really didn't do anything today,id Sharapova is not a contender (according to Samantha). So I guess she has to beat Schiavone to prove that.

However, if there is this must talk about Sharapova it must mean that she is a contender.

"Caroline is a breath of fresh air in a tennis world full of phonies and spoiled, overpaid brats."

If Caroline wins the USO, one could make a case that she is "overpaid". 2.7M. And she will get a lot of attention and contracts and could easily slide down the slipper slope to being a "phony and spoiled, overpaid brat". Don't forget she wants to be like Kournakova not Sharapova (i.e phoney, spoilded, overpaid without doing anything.) Almost an occupational hazard.

I think I'll watch baseball, football and basketball where the real phony, spoiled, overpaid steriod brats are.

Posted by Northern boy 09/07/2010 at 01:39 AM

Now, back to Wozniacki, she's improved her serve, her defense today was fantastic (it's more than just getting a ball back, that's for sure), and her shot PLACEMENT, rather than just power, is terrific. It's ridiculous that she is facing any kind of criticism about not having a lot of winners when most matches, esp on the WTA, are determined by the # of errors.

Let's compare her match today to the very exciting and competitive match last night - Stosur had something like 30odd winners to 58 UFEs, and Dementieva had 19 winners to 30odd UFEs. Wozniacki had only 10 UFEs today. Every UFE is a point for your opponent.

Every club player knows this, and it's true to the highest level of tennis. If all that counted were clean winners, then Ivanovic and Kuznetsova would be #1 and 2 in the world, and Venus would have won the US Open more recently than 2001. Defense and an opportunistic transition game, qualities that Federer and Clijsters, and now Wozniacki have, are much more dangerous.

Anyways, I have been cheering for one of Wozniacki, Sharapova, Clijsters or Schiavone to win, so I'm still happy.

Here's hoping Schiavone wipes the floor with Venus tomorrow. I will be on call at the hospital and missing the match live GRRR.

Posted by Northern boy 09/07/2010 at 01:40 AM

Samantha, I should caution you against getting drawn into the vitriol, which I am suprised to find in such great supply on this post. Really, I don't see why it is necessary to disparage either Wozniacki or Sharapova to make the other one look better.

I also think that people are sort of missing the point when talking about why Sharapova isn't making finals or winning Grand Slams right now.

1) Her ranking is outside the top 10 and she's had horribly unlucky draws the last 3 slams, meeting Serena, Henin and Woz by the 4th round.

2) I see Sharapova's biggest weakness right now being her stubbornness and refusal to adapt her game. I think her serve is terrific but she DFs because she is going for easily the most aggressive 2nd serves in the WTA. If she gave herself more margin she would not make so many errors. We saw this in the TB with Serena at WB. She actually saved a set point or two as I recall with a vicious 2nd serve, but then eventually that risk/reward caught up to her with the DF. So I think her serve motion and confidence is just fine, but she could ease up a tad on the 2nd serves.

Posted by Tennis Fan 09/07/2010 at 01:42 AM

"Let's compare her match today to the very exciting and competitive match last night - Stosur had something like 30odd winners to 58 UFEs, and Dementieva had 19 winners to 30odd UFEs. Wozniacki had only 10 UFEs today. Every UFE is a point for your opponent"

Babe Ruth was the Home Run king and and the Strike Out king.

The best offensive is a good defense, but offense gets all the press!!

Posted by Northern boy 09/07/2010 at 01:42 AM

Is anyone else having trouble getting their post to show up on here? It's been driving me nuts for a week now

Posted by Northern boy 09/07/2010 at 01:43 AM


3)Similarly, Maria needs to force herself to hit some volleys and for cripes sakes some overheads. The girl is 6'2" and should be a menace to pass at the net the way Venus is. She could have finished off Henin easily at the French if she had come ALL the way in behind her punishing corner to corner shots and taken a ball out of the air (so too could Soderling have beaten Rafa Nadal if he had come in behind his shots). Most players we've seen improve have increased the variety in their game as their career progresses - Nadal and Wozniacki immediately come to mind. Maria seems to have gone from being more versatile (see the lobs and defense she played in the 2004 final) to bash bash bash. She's the best in the world at that style of play, but '50% of the time, it works every time' is not enough to get it done.

Posted by zolarafa 09/07/2010 at 01:45 AM

I thought today's match was on of the best WTA matches of this tournament. Two powerful oppnents played it from the baseline. Actually wone's tennis does not have as many creative shots as the men's matches, but this one at least had action and excitement.

I am not a fan of Sharapova's grunting. I find it very distracting but Caroline was very focused and played her own game. I like her confidence and I like the fact that she believes that she "belongs" . I must add that I have been always impressed by Sharapova's post match comments. She really does not make excuses and gives credit to the opponent.
Back to the match, it was definitely not boring and more exciting that Stosur-Dimentieva. Peer-Venus was close but Venus's dress was even more distracting than Sharapova's grunts.

Posted by Northern boy 09/07/2010 at 01:46 AM

The best offensive is a good defense, but offense gets all the press!!

Well said Tennis Fan.

Me I'm a self taught 5.0 player who can't always match the power of my opponents but I am faster than them and can scramble like a rapid chipmunk on defense, and come up with a good backhand pass or lob when the situation calls for it. So I like seeing Wozniacki's intelligent, opportunistic tennis.

(I won our Garneau tournament today too woot!) Love playing on clay :D

Posted by nectar 09/07/2010 at 01:47 AM

Here are my thoughts and a blog on the match. Everyone should check it out:
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/453586-wozniacki-deserves-credit-for-win-over-sharapova

Posted by zolarafa 09/07/2010 at 01:50 AM

and why Sharapova can't make it to a GS final yet?

I think she will. She is coming back from an important surgery ( shoulder) and it takes time to adapt. During this time players like Caroline have emerged and Sharapova is not very familiar with how they play. Her serve is a great component of her game and it is not working perfectly. That needs to be fixed. She also needs to build her confidence. She came to the net and used dropshots and they worked but for some reason she went back to her baseline game and lost the match.

I think the question is if she is really motivated, if so, she will find her way.

Posted by habrow2 09/07/2010 at 02:16 AM

If you watched carefully, you will have noticed that Wozniacki is very fast, and covers a lot of ground. Every great player has been fast. Just the edge that helps. I was seeing W. return shots today that reminded of Nadal.

Posted by Jerell (With a new sig line, FINALLY...like this one!) ) 09/07/2010 at 03:09 AM

Northern Boy, I see that fierce hate of Venus once more that you have..... le sigh.

Anyway, this is a rare shocking column from the normally terrific Steve T today.

How anyone can not primarily focus on Wozniacki displaying in a massive moment how she would seize the day and hit her serve and forehand with conviction, while step inside to hit her already class backhand with more added pace, is completely missing the key narrative of not only this match but how a delight it is to see this improved player play now.

There's nothing boring or uncreative about Wozniacki's game, especially in this big encounter today. And she is much more than a "defensive specalist", as even the Shriester had to begrudgingly concede today.

Posted by Woz 09/07/2010 at 03:46 AM

The best offensive is a good defense, but offense gets all the press!!

-x-

Is this all you are?... Superficial?
I pity you. Or rather, don't care. Good Luck! :)

Posted by Woz 09/07/2010 at 03:51 AM

Caroline's consistency today astounded me. Balls in the court. Play like that against a player like Sharapova who just longs to hit an unforced error, is a very demolishing style of play. Especially against someone like Sharapova, a bad mover, and someone with way too much power. These players eat themselves up with errors...unless you are Serena Williams, that is. But that's a whole different matter. Anyway, well done Caroline! You proved ALL the Sharapova fans who you really are.

Note to Woz haters: The past is past. Don't look there. The future's what's important. :)

Posted by steve137 09/07/2010 at 04:57 AM

Love the Woz!!!!!! Great match to watch.
Good on you Wozza. She smiles occasionally during a match too. Must enjoy the game. Good to see such a wonderful player win again. Wozza is the type of personality and player the women's circuit needs.
I hope she continues on in this US Open.

Posted by Patrík2610 09/07/2010 at 05:56 AM

I hate wozniacki game, she just hit the ball back to the court as you say, its so sad that the level of the women game is so low that its enough...

Posted by stevewatchthematchnexttime 09/07/2010 at 06:01 AM

Caro won this. Maria didn't play that bad. There were a lot of rallies that went beyond 20 shots with no one in a clear defensive or offensive position and Caro won almost all of them. Caro only played defensive tennis when maria was able to impose herself first which notably was not as often as we normally see of maria against anyone not named Williams. Caro may not be as powerful as maria but not significantly weaker either. And she took the initiative when opportunities presented themselves. The depth, spin, placement and pace of the balls of Caro clearly troubled maria all throughout the match. It wasn't just because the balls kept coming back.

Steve, you didn't watch the match closely (or probably not at all).

"But when Wozniacki needed to serve it out, when she needed to show a little more, she had it. At 30-15, she made her way to the net for the first time, and won the point. At 40-15, match point, she wasted no time in knocking off a forehand winner up the line."

At 30-15 in the 3rd, it wasn't the first time Caro approached the net. She went to the net 7 times before that rally and won 3 points (4 out of 8 all-in-all). You even got the match point wrong. Caro hit a backhand winner and not a forehand winner to take the match.

Still sad though Maria lost. I was rooting for her to win.

Maria, however, certainly has a lot more left in the tank. She may need to improve on a lot of aspects of her game given her current form but she can definitely win another slam for sure. Perhaps even more.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 06:24 AM

First, let me say this, Maria has achieved so much in tennis, she won a GS when she was 17 and has won many title, she is excellent, I was very upset that people were saying she lost this match and Caro didn't win it, so I was a little hard on her, and wish her the best. But the same people need to give Caro credit, Maria who is a great returner was only able to break Caro's serve once and that is because she served very well and protected her serve with her great returns. Please try to give this girl credit, even if you don't like her game. And I agree with someone who said that Maria has been a better player than Caro, no doubt, but if you look at 2010, in every area Caro has been the better player. In 2010, Caro won 4 titles, l a tier l title,beating two top ten players. Maria won 2 title, all below the tier l level and against players ranked 40 or above. In the rankings, Caro has been no 2 twice while Maria hasn't been a top 10 player, in the slams, Caro has made it to the quarters at the FO, Maria hasn't been passed the 4th round of any slam all year and went out in the first round of the AO. Some of the Maria fans need to give this girl credit just as I have given Maria and just say Caro was the better player today. The fact that Maria made errors take nothing away from how well Caro played and the fact that Caro brought her best tennis to this match.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 06:29 AM

Thanks Jenn, and you're right, she was under tremendous pressure to live up to her ranking and when she does she still gets no credit because she didn't win, but Maria lost it. Go figure!!!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe!. 09/07/2010 at 06:35 AM

Wrong Tennisfan, I NEVER said Sharapova wasn't a contender, I said she was a wait and see and I wasn't sure until she improves her serve. Yes, I questioned her ability to win a slam with the present state of her serve, but that could change and she is young where she can improve it. I believe that with the exception of the FO, you need a good serve to win a slam. What is the biggest difference between the Sharapova of today and the Sharapova of 04: The serve. Has she improve it, yes,

Posted by genetica 09/07/2010 at 06:52 AM

Excuse me, but your facts are wrong Steve. She did hold set points against Williams in Wimb and she had 2 break points for a double break against Henin In France(in third set). Now thats vey close.
Still, she sucks!!!

Posted by Kwaku 09/07/2010 at 07:08 AM

Steve, nice post, and good analysis I think.

SamE, I think very similarly to you about Sharapova. That's why I told you Caro would win in straights. But if I were you and I wanted to sing praises to Caro, I would not be saying it! Because saying that Sharapova is no longer such a good player also belittles Caro. If you said that Sharapova is a top player, contender to any slam any time, etc., then Caro's achievement yesterday would look great. Now, honestly, it doesn't. Or not so much.

Many blame the quality of the players for the success of pushers / retrievers / counter-punchers --whatever the name. Of course they are worthy opponents and very difficult to beat, and not only at the local club level. But the "blame" is not to be put on the players, but on the rules and parameters of the game itself. It turns out that the winning strategy is often that one (Murray is a good example in the ATP, even if the men's level is very high). If one wants to favor attacking tennis over defensive one, one would have to touch the rules of the game (including materials, like using balls, rackets, strings, surfaces with different characteristics). For instance making the court larger or making the net lower would immediately reward attacking tennis. However, it's a difficult balance, because attacking must be difficult for it to be worthy and tennis not to be a lottery.

Posted by Kwaku 09/07/2010 at 07:10 AM

stevewatchthematchnexttime, I did watch the match and basically agree with Steve's analysis.

Posted by michael dreves 09/07/2010 at 07:32 AM

Superficial you must be. I find it hard to read your article. If Caro is boring, you need to get your self an eye operation.

She plays defensively tennis, and it works and in the match against Maria, she was clearly the most intelligent of the two. She hit her winners when she had to do it, kept a cool head and played tennis, opposite Maria makes more out of its attitude on court. When your game can win, why change it? She was in the finals last year, ranks no. 2 in the WTA rank and racelist. She comes to NYC with three straight WTA wins in her bag.
Is that because she is a bad player?

Your observation skills sucks a bit. Maybe you should look at the new ones coming. It seems like you are locked in your image how tennis can be played, and prefer not to have changed your world view on tennis. But while you sit and write negative articles like this, then luckily, tennis players who will make your vision archaic, and thus, your articles irrelevant.

I’ll never love Steve Tignor's old-fashion, negative pen, in particular

Posted by Gattaca 09/07/2010 at 07:34 AM

Sharapova should have won the match had she reduced her unforced errors. I think she plays better indoors (last year Toray Pan Pacific Open) because her shots fly faster on the hard courts indoors. And I think Sharapova needs to change her racket. Ever since she changed her prince racket, her shots seem to be slower and doesnt cut through the court as much anymore.

Posted by michael dreves 09/07/2010 at 07:46 AM

Gattaca:

What do you think forced her to all the errors...?
I know who did....

Posted by princepro110 09/07/2010 at 07:52 AM

"The Great Dane"................

I thought she is Polish since both of her parents grew up there and still have Polish citizenship.

Posted by Gattaca 09/07/2010 at 07:52 AM

Wozniacki did. Cause she kept defending. So all Maria had to do was keep attacking. Cause no way Maria would have won the match by just putting balls into play

Posted by MikeDC 09/07/2010 at 08:08 AM

Wow... I must have read a different article. Seemed very complimentary to Woz to me. Basically Steve watched the match, and while he wasn't enamored as a viewer by Wozniacki's game, he was reminded of ASV - hall of famer, 4 time grand slam champ, and former #1.

There's nothing wrong with liking Wozniacki, while accepting that her game is built on athletic defense, consistency, intelligence and tenaciousness. Her fans that are desperate to prove her win was built on something else must have internalized all the moonball and pusher jibes...

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro believe! 09/07/2010 at 08:12 AM

Caro on what she considers herself, "I'm proud to be the best Scandinavian player, she paints her nails with the Danish flag and frequently talks about her love for the country of her birth. She is a Dane, just as Americans are Americans, no matter where their parents come from.Why should it be different for her?? Kwaku, three times in this blog I have said Sharapova is an "excellent player, not sure how I can make that clearer.

Posted by Earl 09/07/2010 at 08:16 AM

I agree with the writer who commented on the slutzy way some of the women are dressing, Williams sisters, Maria, Caro. What about the grungy look most of the men are dressing ; the guys look more and ore like "snowboarders" what happened to "proper" tennis attire for bot sides of the net?

Posted by Woz 09/07/2010 at 08:39 AM

I agree with the writer who commented on the slutzy way some of the women are dressing, Williams sisters, Maria, Caro. What about the grungy look most of the men are dressing ; the guys look more and ore like "snowboarders" what happened to "proper" tennis attire for bot sides of the net?

-x-

I second that motion. We have some fairly bright ladies on court. As much as I love Caroline's uniqueness and play, she could be a slight more modest. Same goes for Venus, who shamed herself in RG with that raunchy attire. Not good.

Posted by Master Ace 09/07/2010 at 08:51 AM

Caroline finally won her first career match against a former or current number 1 and did it was an aggressive defensive style of play. As some posters have noted, she did it with power(not as much as Maria) and placement(which forced Maria to redline her game as Maria was going for the lines). Maria did get 2 drop shot winners but was not able to keep it up as the weight of Caroline's shot and angles kept Maria pinned on the baseline. She is now 18-1(loss at Cincinnati to Marion Bartoli) since Wimbledon. What is lost in Caroline's run after Wimbledon is she won some pressure packed matches in her home country tournament in Copenhagen where she won 3 three-set matches. If she lost any match, attendance would have suffered. Winning Copenhagen under pressure from her home country press got her ready for the USO Series this year.

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