Maria Sharapova Takes Center Stage

Aegon Championships 2010
By Hiland Doolittle, June 11th, 2010
Maria Sharapova takes center stage

Maria Sharapova takes center stage

In the tennis world of gorgeous athletes, it is nearly impossible not to root for the tour’s tallest pretty girl. Former number one, Maria Sharapova is molding into form just in time for the grass season.

On Thursday, Maria polished off Bethanie Matek-Sands 6-0, 6-3 in a suspended match from yesterday. Sharapova then crushed fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-1. With only one Russian woman in the top ten, rumors of the Russian’s demise may be premature. If Sharapova keeps improving her serve, she will move up the ladder and may very well win the AEGON Classic at Birmingham along the way.

The 6’1” blonde clotheshorse will next face dangerous qualifier Kazmanian Sesil Karatantcheva who upset tenth seeded Slovakian defending champion Magdelena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2. Sesil has proven to be a tenacious retriever and gutsy gambler. Her all-court game continues to impress the umbrella touting fans.

Number three seed and last year’s runner-up, Yanina Wickmayer overcame 14th seed Thai Tamarine Tanasugarn 6-4, 6-4. The 20-year old Belgian bomber is just as tall and just as powerful as Maria, Maria, but the question is does Yanina have the heart of a winner? We may well find out in Birmingham. Sometimes, Yanina plays to a level and then considers it a successful tournament. Wickmayer needs some of the Henin-Clijsters toughness.

Fourth seeded 5’5” French slugger Aravane Rezai gave hot qualifier Miriana Lucic of Croatia no quarter in her well played 7-5, 6-3 win. Lucic had taken out ninth seed Alexandra Wozniack who could not handle the wet conditions. The shoot-from-the-hip Rezai, is handling everything and will next take aim at her quarterfinal opponent.

American qualifier Allison Riske has no business in the quarters. Somebody had better tell the youngster that her time is up or she just may surprise. Her gutsy, feisty spirit and grass court prowess have led to three unexpected wins. The latest was a thrilling 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 dismantling of Russian Anna Chakyetadze. It seems the Russians really are fair game on the damp grass.

Winner Poker

In suspended matches, top seed Li Na of China is tied at one set apiece with Angelique Kerber. Fifth seed Sara Errani is up a set against Marina Erakovic while qualifier Laia Lanepi is up a break in the first set against Michelle Larcher de Brito.

The ladies need a dry day and soon.


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