Maria Sharapova Makes Semifinals in French Open

maria sharapova

Women’s tennis is as competitive as men’s, and equally fun to watch.  I think more men will be watching the French Open this week now that Maria Sharapova made it to the semifinals.  However, those men will be watching the way she is playing, not only for her appearance.

Ms. Sharapova has fans and detractors alike.  She has been accused of taking her modeling career more seriously than tennis.  She is accused of lacking creativity on the court, and lambasted for the noises she makes.  Today, in fact this season, she is proving that she is worthy of her world rankings.

Sharapova, known more for her supermodel appearance than her excellence on the court, proved Wednesday that she has the desire and drive to be a great tennis player.  She defeated Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals, and she did it with a fighter’s determination.  She lost the first set 0-6.  She gathered herself and controlled the court, winning 6-4 and 6-3.  She will face Victoria Azarenka, the number three seeded player in the tournament, in the semis.

Sharapova had never won a match after losing the first set 0-6.  But today tennis fans saw a new Maria.

“I wanted to put that chapter behind me,” the second-seeded Sharapova said. “No matter how many errors I made or how disappointed I was with the way I started the match, I knew that I still could try to create chances out there; obviously taking them is another question. But I knew that I was capable of doing much better.”

Meanwhile, Serena Williams defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 3-6, and 6-3 in her quarterfinal match.  She will face number five seeded Sara Errani of Italy in her semifinal match.

It’s been nearly a decade since Sharapova won Wimbledon.  Now, nine years later, she is playing some of the best tennis of her life, consistently reaching the latter rounds of play.

Today she won with sheer determination.  She thought her opponent, Jankovic, underestimated her after she was shut-out in the first set.

“She was a bit in cruise control,” Sharapova said. “No matter how many errors I made or how disappointed I was with the way I started the match, I knew that I still could try to create chances out there.”

Today, tied 3-3 in the second set, she proved to her dissenters that she was more of a street fighter than a ‘glamour girl.’

“I do find it meaningful when I have to dig deep in order to find the bonuses out of the match,” Sharapova said. “Sometimes you just have to get the job done, and I did today.”

Sharapova won the tournament last year, defeating Errani.  It completed a career grand slam.  She won Wimbledon in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006, and the Australian Open in 2008.

Sharapova has often jibed fun at herself for her inability to move on the red clay of the French Open.  As of today, her record is 42-9.  It is the best of any active player.  She has a chance to repeat last year’s victory in the semis.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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