US OPEN 2006
AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2006
FRENCH OPEN 2014
FRENCH OPEN 2014
Maria Sharapova entered the tournament as seed #13. She would face qualifier Yulia Beygelzimer in the first round of the tournament. She easily won her first match with a score of 6-2, 6-1. Her next competitor would be British, Anne Keothavong. Once again, Maria completed her match easily with a scoreline of 6-4, 6-0. She beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-1 in the third round. For the fourth round she would face her first seed, Amy Frazier. Maria won the match 6-4, 7-5 and gain a pass to the Quarterfinals.
She reached the Quarterfinals without dropping a set, until she faced eleventh seed Ai Sugiyama. The first two sets were very tight, but on the third set Maria controlled the match and won by 5-7, 7-5, 6-1.
In the semifinals Maria would have to face world #5 and three times Grand Slam champion, Lindsay Davenport. Maria struggled in this match, but after a rain interruption she came back on court ready to fight that spot in the final. In an interview she later talked about what happened during that break. “I was down and out. But I was a happy girl. I was in the semi-finals for the first time. A few weeks ago I’d been a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros, and I was happy to be booking a flight home late in the second week of Wimbledon. Then the rain stopped and I remember just before I went on court my dad looked me in the eyes and said, ‘You’re going to win this match.’ And I gave him a ‘Yeah, right’ kind of look. It was tough to face him afterwards because you never want to admit when your father’s right.” Sharapova’s 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 gave her a spot in her first Grand Slam final.
The odds were against the seventeen year old Russian in the final, she was going to face world #1 Serena Williams, who was also the defending champion of the tournament. Everyone expected Maria to show nerves in her first Grand Slam final, but there was no trace of them once she hit the court. Indeed it was Williams, the six-times Grand Slam winner, who was struggling to find her rhythm and the top seed fired a backhand long to give the Russian an early 3-1 lead. It quickly became 5-1 when Sharapova whipped a backhand winner cross-court to break for the second time. Serving out the set did not prove so easy, but after seeing three set points go by, the Russian took control of the final after just 30 minutes.
Williams was a break up in a compelling second set, but Sharapova found another level of tennis. The teenager broke straight back and then even had her opponent applauding when she produced a stunning lob in the next game. That shot appeared to inspire her and she stepped up a level again. The ninth game proved crucial, and the crowd could hardly believe their eyes. Williams was sent rushing all over the court as she battled to avoid the break, but the Russian remained ice cool. On her fourth opportunity, she finally earnt the chance to serve for the match, and Williams’ fightback was over.
Williams was expected to make it a hat-trick of titles, but a stunned Centre Court crowd watched as she was overpowered 6-1 6-4 by the 17-year-old.
“It’s unreal,” she told BBC Sport after collecting the trophy. “My father and I have been through this together and it’s just amazing.” While Williams praised Maria for her victory. “It wasn’t my day today but Maria played a really good match – and I want to congratulate her on her first Grand Slam, “ she said.
This victory was hailed by the media as “the most stunning upset in memory”
Kim Clijsters was the defending champion, but chose not to participate that year due to injury. Maria was the third seed of the tournament and was looking to win her second Grand Slam. In the first round she beat dutch Michaëlla Krajicek 6-3, 6-0. Her consistency continued as he cruised second round defeating 6-0, 6-1, Émilie Loit. In the third round Maria faced Russian fellow, Elena Likhovtseva beating her to reach fourth round with a score of 6-3, 6-2. In the forth round Maria had a tough competitor in Li Na, but still managed to win the match 6-4, 6-2.
Tatiana Golovin would be Maria’s rival in the Quarterfinals, it was tight match in which Maria won after two tiebreakers. In the semifinal she would play against number 1 seed, Amelie Mauresmo. Maria showed an astonishing tennis and won the set with a bagel, later Amelie would recover to win the second set but by the third set it was all Maria. With 6-0, 4-6, 6-0 Maria reached the US Open final.
Unlike her first final, everyone thought it was a very tight match between number 2 and number 3 in the world. After a nervous start that saw her slip 2-0 behind, the third seed simply got better and better as the match progressed. From the moment Sharapova broke back in the third game she looked the more likely winner, even mixing up the pace of her groundstrokes and approaching the net on occasions. “I figured I lost the last four times to Justine, so I figured I had to do the total opposite,” said Sharapova. “But I have to congratulate her on an amazing career and reaching all four finals this year.”
Breaks of serve in game nine of the first set and game eight of the second proved the decisive moments, and Sharapova appeared nerveless when serving out for victory. Having waited two years since Wimbledon to cement her Grand Slam credentials, Sharapova screamed and leapt in delight before heading into the stands to hug her father, Yuri. “I’m so happy it’s here in New York in my favourite city in the world,” said Sharapova. Henin-Hardenne said: “I want to congratulate Maria, she played great today and the last two weeks and deserves her victory. “The best player won tonight and I hope I’ll have another chance in the future.”
Australian Open 2008
Serena Williams was the defending champion, but she was defeated in the quarterfinals by Jelena Janković. Maria had been defeated in the 2007 final by Serena Williams. She was the number 5 seed and she gave a solid performance in her first round defeating Jelena Kostanić Tošić. In the second round she faced American, Lindsay Davenport and gave an exhibition of wonderful tennis defeating her 6-1, 6-3. Elena Vesnina would be Maria’s rival in the third round, she won 6-3, 6-0. In the fourth round she would have to face another Russian and another Elena, this time Dementieva. Once again, Maria gave a display of tennis beating her 6-2, 6-0.
In the Quarterfinals Maria had a tough opponent, Justine Henin. However Maria proved to be a solid contender, winning a spot in the semifinals 6-4, 6-0. In the semifinals, Maria played Serbian Jelena Jankovic and defeated her 6-3, 6-1.
Sharapova was aggressive from the start against her fellow 20-year-old and, apart from one bad service game in the first set that allowed Ivanovic back to 4-4, controlled the important points for the second consecutive match. Both Sharapova and Ivanovic showed some nerves in the first set, with Ivanovic particularly shaky, committing 19 unforced errors to just six winners. But the Russian shrugged off the setback, running off the last three games, breaking to go ahead 6-5, then pumping her fist and shouting “Go Maria! Come on!” Taking every second possible between points on a sweltering, sunny day at Rod Laver Arena, Sharapova then held at love.
She was now holding her own service games with ease, heaping the pressure on Ivanovic who finally cracked in game seven with a double fault and a forehand error. Sharapova showed absolutely no sign of nerves as she held for 5-3 and raced to 0-40 and three championship points on the Ivanovic serve. The first two chances went begging but Sharapova converted the third when she forced an error, before dropping to her knees in triumph and then tearfully racing to see her father, Yuri, and supporters in the stands.
“This is just incredible,” she said. “If someone had told me in the middle of last year I’d be standing here with the big one, I’d have said ‘forget it,’ she said. “Last year was pretty difficult for me and my coach (Michael Joyce), who lost his mother, and I really want to dedicate this to her.”
Li Na was the defending champion, but lost in the fourth round to qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova, the first time a defending champion was defeated by a qualifier in the tournament history.
Maria entered the tournament as the second seed. She didn’t lose a single game in her first match against Alexandra Cadanțu. In the second round she still showed an impressive performance only losing two games against Ayumi Morita. Maria had been having a great clay season and she continued to prove that in her third round match beating Peng Shuai, 6-2, 6-1. It was until the fourth round when Maria would lose a set against Klára Zakopalová, 6-4, 6-7, 6-2.
In the Quarterfinals Maria faced Kaia Kanepi defeating her 6-2, 6-3. In the semifinals she faced Czech, Petra Kvitova. The 2011 Wimbledon champion couldn’t do much against Sharapova and lose 6-3, 6-3.
Sara Errani had booked a spot in the final alongside Maria. It was the first Grand Slam final for the Italian. The Italian’s biggest problem was that her biggest weakness, her serve, fed Sharapova’s biggest strength, her return. The Russian hammered anything short and the resultant pressure was too much for Errani to handle. “I was never able to make the rallies long,” Errani said.
Sharapova struck first in the second set with an early break as she led 2-0 before saving a break point and then breaking again to lead 4-1. Errani managed to break back in the next game but Sharapova immediately restored her advantage to give herself a chance to serve for the match. Errani saved two match points, one of them with a brilliant drop shot, but the Russian held firm and Errani’s final backhand fell short.
“It’s a magnificent moment in my career,” an emotional Sharapova told the crowd as she accepted the trophy from the former champion Monica Seles. “It’s been such a long journey to get here today, through all the injuries. No matter how many grand slams you win, to be here and win this one, even if it was the only one, would be just as special as winning all four.”
Serena Williams was the defending champion, but lost to Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round. Maria had reached the final in 2013, but lost against Serena Williams. In the clay season she won two titles and showed solid tennis on clay. She was the seventh seed. She started the tournament against qualifier Ksenia Pervak, winning 6-1, 6-2. In the second round she met Tsvetana Pironkova beating her 7-5, 6-2. In the third round she would play Argentinian Paula Ormaechea which she beat without losing a game. Things started to get complicated in the fourth round when she had to fight against Samantha Stosur, who won the opening set. After a long battle, Maria won 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.
In the quarterfinals, she would meet Garbiñe Muguruza (who had beaten Serena Williams in the second round) Muguruza dominated the first set and remained solid during the second, but on the third set Maria took control of the match and won 1-6. 7-5, 6-1. In the semifinals she would have to face new tennis sensation, Eugenie Bouchard from Canada. Bouchard who reached semifinals also in Australia had been playing her best tennis and during her match with Maria she proved to be a tough opponent. Bouchard won the first set 6-4, but Maria rallied from a set down for the third match in a row and won 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
In the final Maria will have to play against Simona Halep, another youngster that had improved so much during the last year. This would be Maria’s third Roland Garros final in a row. Five games in a row put her in control of a high-quality first set that lasted 57 minutes, as her weight of shot just held the balance of power over Halep’s speed of foot.
But the Romanian fourth seed was fighting back in the latter stages and did so again in the second set, the pace and angles she created keeping Sharapova off balance.
Halep won a stunning rally at 4-4, deuce, that had the crowd chanting “Simona! Simona!” – not for the last time – but she was broken straight back thanks to a cruel net cord and it came down to a tie-break.
It looked as though the experience of Sharapova, playing in her ninth Grand Slam final, was about to tell when she moved 5-3 ahead, but under constant pressure from Halep she produced four errors in a row.
For the first time since 2001, the French Open women’s final would require a final set.
There was a time violation for Sharapova early in the decider as her fragile serve became an ever-lengthier process, and she let a lead slip for the second time in the set with a double fault at 4-3.
Halep might have felt it was her moment, but Sharapova has learnt to move on swiftly from such errors. She played a brilliant return game, backhand and forehand winners taking her 5-4 in front, and as the match time passed three hours dug deep to at last find a clinical service game. The Russian thumped away a drive volley to earn three match points and then sent down a serve that Halep could only return into the tramlines, as Sharapova willed it to drop wide.
“It’s such an emotional victory for me in my career,” added Sharapova.
“I have been in many Grand Slam finals, and every one feels very different. As I get older I appreciate those situations so much more.”