Sharapova and Djokovic Send Messages

By Ajay Singh, May 17th, 2011

The 6’ beauty, Maria Sharapova, played with great confidence in the finals at Rome Masters 2011 against Samantha Stosur. With the win Sharapova moved ahead of Stosur in the rankings. In Paris, Maria will be seeded 6th or 7th depending on Kim Clijsters’ injury.

Maria Sharapova After Winning Rome Masters 2011 Tennis Tournament

Clay is not Maria’s favorite surface but it served her well this week. In the finals, she crushed her forehands and even attacked Stosur’s serve with her backhand. Perhaps the best indication of her progress was the consistency of her serve. In recent tournaments, her serve has seemed to weigh the former number one down. That was not the case in Rome where she turned away top seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the semis.

With the Williams sisters sidelined and with the indefinite status of Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova will certainly contend at Roland Garros. In Rome, she caught a break when Victoria Azarenka had to retire after winning the first set but trailing 0-3 in the second. If Azarenka is healthy, she will also be a player to watch in France.

For Stosur, it was her first finals since last year’s devastating loss in the finals of the French Open. Samantha’s normally dominating serve was cannon fodder for Maria Sharapova, but Stosur has established herself as a solid threat on clay. Her record against Maria is now 0-8.

Djokovic Magical

Novak Djokovic is having a year that only seemed possible for the world’s top ranked player, Rafa Nadal. After Djoko’s performance in Rome, the rankings are in question. After dusting off Rafa for the fourth straight time and for the second time on clay in eight days, Novak Djokovic has now won 39 straight matches (37-0 in 2011) and is the player to beat at Roland Garros, the second leg on the Grand Slam.

If you have witnessed any of these matches, Djokovic seems the more confident and better-conditioned athlete. Clearly, Rafa needs to take his game to another level to knock off the Serb.

Djokovic’s win was even more amazing considering the stiff 3-hour challenge he received for Scotsman Andy Murray. After dropping the first set, 6-1, Murray got back on the horse and battled his way through the second set and was serving for the match against Djoko. This was certainly Murray’s best performance of the year and probably the best match of the year. If Murray gets in the mix with Djoko and Rafa, Paris will be one great tournament.

And, of course there is that other guy. You know, the guy from Switzerland who possesses 16 Grand Slam titles. Federer has taken some hits this year but he is a big stage performer and can never be counted out.


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