Au Revoir Justine as graceless yet glorious Sharapova advances

Just a quick one this.

Although I was only able to watch small pockets of this ‘classic match in the making’, from what i heard it was a complete rout.

Not to mention a complete surprise.

Now, i know my dislike for Maria Sharapova and her many clones is well documented – on this blog at least – but although I have in the last fortnight recognised her game to have vastly improved to its unstoppable best, I still fancied a struggling Justine to pip it in three.

A foolish prediction in hindsight.

Sharapova’s improvement can be seen best within her new-found agility around the court to add to the speed that was already there. This, and a willingness to reserve the second serve to prolong the point (as opposed to gunning for a second serve ace) has added a consistency to the Russian’s overall game.

It couldn’t have at a beter time in terms of her opponents sudden weakness.

Justine has been THE undisputed queen of the game since Wimbledon, putting together a Federer-like winning streak of 32 matches since Bartoli’s shock upset. But it was clear from the first point down under that this wasn’t the Justine we know and the rest (including Sharapova) fear. A knee injury and, i think, perhaps a general lack of sharpness and maybe even desire had transformed the Belgian into a beatable player.

Lastly, and most importantly it was Sharapova’s most impressive – if never beautiful – performance to date – winners screaming off the shreiking Russmerican’s racket from every possible and impossible angle and position.

It still wasn’t a joy to behold though, merely endless power and noise, not what the women’s game encapsulates.

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