New Balls, Please

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Mr & Miss Intensity

Posted by gauloises1 on March 18, 2011

Congratulations to Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal, who competed their way into the Indian Wells semi-finals last night.

Sharapova effortlessly dominated the first set, then completely lost her way, struggling with Peng’s retrieving and resistance and above all her own serve, which totally collapsed. It really looked like she was going out until with her back against the wall, she reeled off two clean and beautiful backhand winners in consecutive points and from that point on, never looked back. Very well done to her, although I don’t favour her chances in the semi-final, given that Wozniacki is (I think) her equal in competitive tenacity and has a game built to elicit the kind of unforced errors she’s so prone to.

Huge props to Peng Shuai for her run here. She’s going to be in a Slam quarter-final before the year is out. /bold prediction

Yet again, I didn’t see Rafa play because it was in the middle of the night. I did watch the first set and thought that Karlovic’s excellent play rather than anything Nadal was doing or not doing was responsible for the good doctor taking it 75. Nadal came back strongly in the second set and finally scraped through (quoting the headlines) 9-7 in the final tiebreak.

Sad for the good Dr. Ivo but he’s had an absolutely amazing run here in Indian Wells and should be getting a wildcard anywhere he wants one from now on. And he’s 32. Christ on a bike.

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