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Sharapovanovic's Articles (67)

Fields of Glory (IV): Wimbledon Day 4 Preview

Trudging to the locker room after a 16-14 fifth set against Santiago Giraldo, Thiemo De Bakker must have feared that this protracted encounter would leave him at a physical disadvantage against his next opponent, either Isner or Mahut. As all tennis fans know well, such thoughts proved unfounded as the Frenchman and the American shattered virtually every record in every…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 24, 2010 at 2:04am — No Comments

Fields of Glory (III): Wimbledon Day 3 Preview

Eagerly exploiting the faster surface, Sharapova followed her Birmingham finals appearance with a suffocating salvo to ignite her Wimbledon campaign. The transition from clay to grass proved a bit less hospitable, however, to two terrors of the terre battue. Unceremoniously ushered out of their All England Club debuts, Verdasco and Stosur failed to translate their six combined clay finals into the language of grass. But their defeats speak less about their shortcomings than about…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 23, 2010 at 2:20am — No Comments

Fields of Glory (II): Wimbledon Day 2 Preview

If Wimbledon used the best-of-three format for the first week of its men’s matches, three of the top eight seeds would have fallen in their openers to Alejandro Falla, Olivier Rochus, and Kevin Anderson. While the travails of neither Djokovic nor Davydenko surprised us, the near-disaster suffered by the six-time champion was completely unexpected, since Federer had comfortably dismissed Falla twice in the last month. Forced to extricate himself from a two-set deficit, the feckless top seed…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 22, 2010 at 2:15am — No Comments

Fields of Glory (I): Wimbledon Day 1 Preview

Welcome to the debut of our daily preview series on all of the Wimbledon action, which will briefly discuss an intriguing topic from the previous day’s action before examining several key matches in detail. They will conclude with a “briefly noted” section on matches of lesser interest that might be worth more casual attention when the central action ebbs. Since there’s little to discuss from today’s action beyond the arrangement of Federer’s trophy room (read his interview if you haven’t…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 21, 2010 at 3:19am — No Comments

Drawn and Quartered: Wimbledon Draw Preview

Glancing through the Wimbledon draws, we found them more balanced and intriguing than their Roland Garros counterparts. Rather than reaching a premature climax early in the second week, the narratives should build compellingly throughout the fortnight. Yet perhaps this impression merely stems from the fact that grass suits more elite players than does clay; there are many fewer “grass specialists” than “clay specialists,” especially as the former surface slows over the years. At any rate,…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 20, 2010 at 4:35am — No Comments

Wimbledon Preview (III): The Dark Horses

As players and fans anxiously await the Wimbledon draws, we turn our lens towards the snakes in the grass: dangerous lurkers who won’t hoist the trophy but from whom the top competitors hope to keep their distance. Often quirky and typically opportunistic, this group spans a spectrum from grizzled veterans (only figuratively grizzled, in one case) to surging newcomers eager to brand their imprint onto the pristine lawns of the All England Club. Ladies, gentlemen, and Jelena Jankovic, meet…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 18, 2010 at 1:29am — No Comments

Wimbledon Preview (II): The Challengers

Having discussed the five tournament favorites, one of whom won’t even enjoy his own quarter, we turn our lens towards the group of players who might produce a slightly unexpected champion or champions. Once again, this article breaks down each challenger into causes for confidence and causes for concern. You might find one or two surprises in the list!

Click here to continue reading the second article in the series of…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 16, 2010 at 10:50pm — No Comments

Wimbledon Preview (I): The Favorites

It seems like only a week or so ago that Schiavone was ingesting particles of crushed brick and Nadal was crying softly into his towel. Well, it was only a week or so ago. Nevertheless, another Slam looms on the history-laden lawns of Wimbledon, which means that another preview is straight ahead. We start at the top with the tournament favorites, profiling causes for confidence and concern in each of their individual circumstances.

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 16, 2010 at 1:43am — No Comments

Falling Star: An Ana-tomy of Ivanovic's Struggles

In the 2008 French Open, the new world #1 Ana Ivanovic proudly lifted the first Slam trophy of what seemed destined to be a career replete with such memorable moments. In the 2010 French Open, the world #42 Ana Ivanovic cowered helplessly behind the baseline as the burly Alisa Kleybanova crammed a second-set bagel down her throat in the second round. How did this precipitous two-year plunge from glory to misery accelerate with such alarming speed? We look at seven of the principal…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 13, 2010 at 1:38am — No Comments

The Quiet Australian: Samantha Stosur

Understated and businesslike when she takes the court, Samantha Stosur represents a striking anomaly amidst the melodramatic, made-for-TV extravaganzas produced and directed by the WTA’s current elite. Although scowls, sneers, and sobs provide compelling entertainment, it’s also refreshing to observe a sturdy competitor who simply plays tennis in an unruffled, methodical manner. Dedication to the sport shines clearly from Stosur’s focused attitude, which should enable her to build upon the…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 10, 2010 at 10:15pm — No Comments

5 (+1) Plotlines to Ponder: Grass Season Edition

Hope that you relished reading our fortnight of French Open coverage as much as we relished writing it! We thought that the clay season was a bit more eventful than usual this year, and we’re expecting just as many engaging narratives when the action shifts to grass. Here are five (plus one, of course!) with which we seek to stoke your anticipation…

1) Will momentum continue from clay, or rewind to Miami? A dramatic contrast to the protracted…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 9, 2010 at 3:29am — No Comments

French Lessons: Grading Roland Garros (As,Bs, Cs)

Nadal: Carrying a 22-match…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 7, 2010 at 3:00pm — No Comments

French Open Men's Final Preview: Soderling vs. Nadal

When Nadal strode onto Court Philippe Chatrier for his initial pre-Roland Garros practice session, his first sight of the 2010 tournament was the same as his last sight of the 2009 tournament: the gangly, grimacing scorpion from Sweden. For better or for worse, Soderling also will provide the final image of the Spaniard’s tournament this year on Sunday, having advanced to the final along a trajectory eerily similar to his route in 2009. The Greatest Upset Ever remains permanently branded on…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 5, 2010 at 7:10pm — No Comments

French Open Women's Final Preview

At the endpoint of a sensational fortnight that recalls Soderling’s 2009 tournament, Stosur has defeated three of the four main contenders for the French Open title in consecutive matches (Henin, Serena, Jankovic). The accelerating Australian now faces a highly unexpected adversary, whom she met in her opening match at Roland Garros last year; admittedly aided by injuries to Wozniacki and Dementieva, Schiavone has used her ingenuity and experience to outlast several younger opponents. While…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on June 5, 2010 at 12:00am — No Comments

Feats and Feet of Clay (VI): French Open Day 6 Preview

This latest edition features previews of Cibulkova-Venus, Rezai-Petrova, Murray-Baghdatis, Dulgheru-Wozniacki, Kuznetsova-Kirilenko, Montanes-Soderling, and Isner-Berdych in addition to analysis (unbiased, we promise!) of the intra-Serbian feud between Ivanovic and Jankovic over the most controversial gesture in tennis: the fistpump.

Click here to read more, and…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 28, 2010 at 12:15am — No Comments

Feats and Feet of Clay (V): French Open Day 5 Preview

The contrast between efficient and inefficient tennis couldn’t have been much starker than in consecutive ATP matches on Court Philippe Chatrier. While Federer never opened a window of opportunity for Alejandro Falla, Gael Monfils opened windows and doors aplenty for Fabio Fognini, nearly jumping out of a window himself before the setting sun conspired with the Frenchman to deny the Italian three match points. We checked out on this match when Monfils led by two sets and a break, then…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 26, 2010 at 11:19pm — No Comments

Feats and Feet of Clay (III): French Open Day 3 Preview

A rather painful episode of déjà vu occurred today for the star-crossed Richard Gasquet, who watched a two-set-and-break lead evaporate against Murray for the second time. Probably better suited for the compressed best-of-three format, the Frenchman’s electrifying shotmaking fails to compensate for his lack of physical (and mental) fitness at majors. With relatively little at stake, Murray deserves credit for staying focused until Gasquet faded once again; this instinctive will to compete…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 24, 2010 at 10:01pm — No Comments

Forecasting the French: Contenders, Pretenders, Dark Horses (WTA)

While the king of clay has emphatically reaffirmed his dominance over the competition on this surface, the queen of clay hasn’t quite followed suit. As a result, the WTA field at the French Open promises to be vastly more unpredictable and possibly more engaging than its ATP counterpart. We apply the same matrix of contenders, pretenders, and dark horses that we used in the men’s preview: contenders are tournament favorites, pretenders are potential underperformers, and dark horses are…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 21, 2010 at 12:29am — No Comments

Forecasting the French: Contenders, Pretenders, Dark Horses (ATP)

As most players enjoy a well-merited respite before the French Open fortnight, we cast our minds towards the first Slam that will be covered by this blog. Based largely upon the events of Monte Carlo, Stuttgart, Rome, and Madrid, our preview will identify contenders, pretenders, and dark horses at the event that starts in less than a week, as Tennis Channel’s “Countdown to Roland Garros” chronically reminds us. Under “contenders” are the tournament favorites, while “pretenders” feature…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 18, 2010 at 10:20pm — No Comments

What a Difference a Year Makes: ATP Madrid Final Preview



Rewinding to the 2009 Madrid final, one is immediately struck by the vastly different situations in which both gladiators find themselves now compared to where they found themselves before the match a year ago. Then, Nadal stood at the peak of his powers and the pinnacle of the tennis hierarchy, having vanquished…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 16, 2010 at 2:42am — No Comments

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