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Sharapovanovic's Articles (67)

#1 and Done + Madrid Monday Preview

Playing a little free association with the words “Henin,” “Sharapova,” and “Madrid,” the 2007 year-end championships final springs to mind, an instant classic in which the statuesque Russian and the petite Belgian fired groundstroke missiles at each other for nearly three and a half hours of relentlessly superb tennis. In their very next trip to the Spanish capital, however, the two former #1s tumbled consecutively to a pair of streaky but second-tier players.…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 9, 2010 at 11:44pm — No Comments

Opening the Magic Box: ATP Madrid Preview







Under the guidance of the eccentric, brilliant Romanian visionary Ion Tiriac (the non-Swiss legend above), the Madrid event has evolved into the top ticket in European tennis outside Wimbledon and Roland Garros. From its glamorous website to its sparkling arena, La Caja Magica (Magic Box), Tiriac’s territory exploits every opportunity to engage and inspire the spectator…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 9, 2010 at 2:00am — No Comments

Goodbye Rome, Hello Madrid!

The Rome tournament soared to a slightly premature climax on Friday afternoon with the epic Jankovic-Serena semifinal, one of the most dramatic and tightly contested WTA matches of the year so far. Having…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 8, 2010 at 2:31am — No Comments

Rome Is Burning: WTA Rome Semifinal Preview



According to classical histories, the Emperor Nero once played a violin on his palace balcony while admiring the spectacle of his flaming city. Equally inspired by the spectacle of Ivanovic’s flaming…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 7, 2010 at 1:00am — No Comments

The Art of Amnesia + WTA Rome Quarterfinal Preview

Despite promising portents during Ana’s Stuttgart loss to Radwanska, we were unprepared for the implausibly sudden awakening of Serbia’s Sleeping Beauty. For us, the most remarkable moment in her eye-opening win over Dementieva was not her 27-minute first-set rampage over the Olympic gold medallist, nor was it her stabilized serve, her fearless forehand, or her improved mobility, which allowed her to prolong several points until the Russian donated an unforced error. While all of these…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 5, 2010 at 11:30pm — No Comments

Thunder and Lightning: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 4, 2010 at 11:31pm — No Comments

'Tis the Season + WTA Stuttgart Final Preview



After dodging a bullet (or 50 of them) from Ernests Gulbis, Nadal should settle back into his comfort zone against a compatriot who specializes in armor rather than bullets. Ferrer’s sublime defense should prove much less dangerous to Rafa than the flat, sometimes Soderling-like groundstrokes relentlessly pounded by the Latvian. Only if the defending champion is weary from…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 2, 2010 at 1:46am — No Comments

Cruise Control + Rome Revisited: Rome / Stuttgart Semifinals + WTA Rome Preview

Confronted with a lethal-looking draw at the outset of this week, Nadal now finds himself within two comfortable wins of tying Agassi’s record for career Masters titles (17). Although he had been projected to play Soderling, Federer, and Djokovic consecutively, ambushes by Wawrinka, Gulbis, and Verdasco erased all three threats from his path. The Latvian should connect with some…

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Added by Sharapovanovic on May 1, 2010 at 1:14am — No Comments

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

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