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Sharapovanovic's Articles – April 2010 Archive (18)

Walking the Walk: ATP Rome / WTA Stuttgart Quarterfinal Preview

Rarely does Djokovic whisper as he does here to his charming compatriot and Hopman Cup doubles partner, Jelena Jankovic. Generally, the ATP’s most engaging superstar proclaims his sentiments to the world in unambiguous fashion. Typical of this trait was the bravado with which he addressed his Friday confrontation againt Verdasco, who inflicted Djokovic’s worst defeat as a top-10 player two weeks…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 30, 2010 at 1:30am — No Comments

Stuttgart Wednesday Preview + Ana-Aga Recap

Before discussing the volatile vixen above and her imposing task tomorrow, we wanted to share our thoughts from the scintillating clash between Radwanska and the second half of our pseudonym. Contested at a far higher level than their Miami meeting, this match demonstrated the progress that both players have accomplished over the last…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 27, 2010 at 11:06pm — No Comments

Start Your Engines: WTA Stuttgart Preview

The cliche says that a girl’s best friends are diamonds, but the entry list for the Porsche event in Stuttgart suggests that WTA stars must be very good friends with splashy sports cars as well. Even after the withdrawals of Venus and Clijsters, the 30-player field is saturated with talent to the extent normally associated with the Sydney tournament just before the Australian Open.…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 26, 2010 at 12:11pm — No Comments

The Bull at Bay? ATP Rome Preview

After enjoying one of the smoothest imaginable draws in Monte Carlo, Nadal now must tackle one of the most difficult paths imaginable in order to capture his fifth Rome title, which would tie him with Agassi for the Masters 1000 record. Just to reach the final, he likely will be forced to overcome Soderling and Federer, the two players who defeated him on his favorite surface last year. Should he…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 25, 2010 at 2:23pm — No Comments

The Cup Runneth Over: Fed Cup Preview

One might have thought that Henin’s broken finger would have given Team Estonia some hope, for they’ll be confronting a Belgian team without the seven-time Grand Slam champion as its #2 singles player. But 13th-ranked Yanina Wickmayer (pictured above) represents the insurance policy of anyone’s dreams; the Belgian cup runneth over indeed. Although that tie is virtually a foregone…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 23, 2010 at 2:28pm — No Comments

Russian Roulette: Mikhail Youzhny

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 22, 2010 at 12:30pm — 2 Comments

5 (+1) Plotlines to Ponder: Clay Edition

It’s always a pleasure to contemplate Henin’s exquisite all-court game, especially on the surface where she has won four of her seven majors. Although the petite Belgian hasn’t played on clay since Berlin 2008 and claims to be have…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 19, 2010 at 12:25pm — No Comments

Moment of Truth: Monte Carlo Final Preview (+ Charleston Final Preview)

Banishing an oddly listless Djokovic from the playground of princes, Verdasco reached his first career Masters 1000 final in impressive fashion. He’ll need to produce a career highlight in order to overcome the intent Nadal, who increasingly resembles the four-time French Open champion long invincible on this surface. Yet Rafa hasn’t won a title since Rome nearly a year ago, so this championship match represents a moment of truth for him in a sense.…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 18, 2010 at 1:30am — No Comments

Straddling the Ocean: Monte Carlo / Charleston Semifinal Preview

Twice the queen of Indian Wells, Daniela Hantuchova startled us on Friday by intercepting second-seeded Jankovic’s seemingly tranquil trajectory towards the Charleston final. It was a pleasant surprise, though, for we’ve always enjoyed watching the cultured, multilingual Slovak and have sympathized with her struggles to master her nerves at crucial moments, most notably the 2008 Australian Open semifinal against Ivanovic. Since we’re straddling the…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 17, 2010 at 2:01am — No Comments

Giving No Quarter: Monte Carlo Quarterfinal Preview

The five-time defending champion was ruthlessly efficient again today, conceding just one game to an outgunned opponent for the second straight match. After a successful day of predictions on Thursday, all four of our projected semifinalists remain in contention for the first significant prize of the ATP clay season. But will they take the final step into precisely the Saturday matchups that we envisioned several days ago? Let's break down the…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 16, 2010 at 1:36am — No Comments

The Best of the Rest? WTA Charleston Preview

One could argue that currently there are five real marquee names in the WTA; two are sisters, two are Belgians, and the fifth is mauling a hapless tennis ball above. As it happens, none of the five are participating in Charleston this week (although two were originally entered). While tournament organizers and sponsors may rue their absence, the players in the draw should relish the opportunity to seize a prize of some consequence without conquering…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 12, 2010 at 11:12pm — 2 Comments

The Return of the Rafa? ATP Monte Carlo Preview

Doubtless energized by a return to the clay, Nadal pursues a record-breaking sixth consecutive Monte Carlo title and his first title in nearly a year. The draw includes only five of the ATP top ten and lacks not only Federer but past Rafa-killers Del Potro, Davydenko, and Soderling. In the depleted field, can anyone derail Nadal’s return to the winner’s circle? Quarter-by-quarter preview straight ahead…

First quarter:…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 11, 2010 at 11:33pm — No Comments

(TW)2: The Week That Was

Almost unnoticed except by the sport’s most fervent followers, four tournaments came and went this week even while most of us recharged our batteries after the drama in Indian Wells and Miami. Scraping off the rust that accumulated during an extended paternity leave, Stanislas Wawrinka claimed the not very Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, which provided an opportunity for the Olympics gold medallist (see above) to…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 11, 2010 at 5:34pm — No Comments

Blazing Backhands and a Trail: Li Na

Pressure may have been a privilege for Billie Jean King, but for China’s Li Na it is an inescapable fact of life. Long burdened with the towering expectations of her compatriots, Li nevertheless has brilliantly represented Chinese tennis on the biggest stages in the sport. Not just personal achivements, her successes have proved vital in sparking a wave of talented compatriots to follow in her footsteps–an influence that few players can…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 9, 2010 at 1:31am — No Comments

Rising to the Occasion (or not): Post-Miami Rankings Update

Inactive during the past fortnight, Sharapova dropped two places in the rankings to #14 as a result of some excellent performances by the players just below her. While she caresses her strings above, we’ll recap some of the big winners and losers from both the WTA and the ATP.

ATP:

Murray (4): The 2009 champion failed to win a set…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 5, 2010 at 10:30pm — 10 Comments

The As, Bs, and Cs: Miami Tournament Wrap

As the players pack their passports and clay-court shoes for the annual trip to Europe, we'll take a moment to commemorate the events of a captivating fortnight in Miami. Since our last tournament wrap used the Ad-in, Ad-out format once beloved of SI, we'll switch to the report card model for this edition. Not everyone is included, of course; we targeted those players who especially stood out and those who especially...stood out in a…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 4, 2010 at 11:57pm — 1 Comment

A Sunday for Second Chances: ATP Miami Final Preview

A fortnight ago, Andy Roddick came up just short against the startlingly resurgent Ivan Ljubicic in the Indian Wells final, a match that the top-ranked American entered as the distinct favorite. After a sparkling semifinal triumph over Rafael Nadal, Roddick now has the opportunity to expunge his desert disappointment by capturing the Miami title. Yet his opponent has hurtled into the final Sunday on a Ljubicic-worthy run, during which he…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 4, 2010 at 1:18am — No Comments

Queen Victoria's Throne: Miami WTA Final Preview (plus Rafa-Roddick Recap)

The 2009 Miami final represented a dramatic breakthrough for Victoria Azarenka, who defeated five-time champion Serena Williams to claim what thus far has been the most significant title of her budding career. Arrayed on opposite sides of this net this year, in contrast, are two players who have combined to claim no fewer than 79 WTA singles titles (ranked first and third among active players on this list). Who will add to their sprawling…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on April 3, 2010 at 12:59am — 2 Comments

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