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    Showing posts with label Serena Williams. Show all posts

    Serena shocker puts Sharapova in pole position

    Maria Sharapova has warned her Wimbledon title rivals she is peaking just in time to take advantage of Serena Williams' stunning exit.

    Sharapova, who has yet to drop a set after routing Alison Riske 6-3, 6-0 in the third round, heads into the second week as the newly-installed favourite following Alize Cornet's shock 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over world number one Williams on Saturday.

    Serena's defeat is a huge boost for French Open champion Sharapova, who had been scheduled to meet the American top seed in the quarter-finals.

    That would have been a major obstacle to Sharapova's hopes of winning Wimbledon for the second time as she had lost her previous 15 meetings with Serena.

    But with Williams vanquished by Cornet's brilliant display on Court One, fifth seed Sharapova now has a golden opportunity to lift the Venus Rosewater dish for the first time since 2004, when she famously shocked Serena in the final as a 17-year-old.

    The Russian will face German ninth seed Angelique Kerber on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals and she struck an ominous note for her rivals by admitting she is hitting top form at just the right moment.

    "I'm pleased that I've gone three good matches in. I feel like I improved with every match," Sharapova said.

    "I started the first match a little nervous, which was expected. Once I got through that, I feel like I've elevated my game.

    "I feel like I'm serving better. I didn't face a break point after the first game. Like I said, it's really the footwork, little things, imposing yourself out there."

    It is the first time since 2006 that neither Serena nor sister Venus, beaten by Petra Kvitova on Friday, will be in the Wimbledon fourth round and with the draw also blown wide open with second seed Li Na's defeat on Friday, Sharapova could be forgiven for feeling a sense of deja vu.

    Jankovic questions Serena's sportsmanship after losing their WTA semi-final match

    Williams, who claims to be exhausted near the end of a long season, reacted with fretful worrying, and sometimes distracting behaviour while struggling to a 6-4 2-6 6-4 two-hour win over Jankovic.

    It included weeping into her towel, gesticulating and arm-waving, bending over and slumping, yelling and calling out, and both moving during the rallies and conducting the game at different speeds.

    "I never saw her do this when she's leading,'' Jankovic said of Williams' go-slow moments.

    "You know, every time she has a lead, she's running for the balls and she's hitting those big serves.

    "For some reason, every time she starts losing, she starts serving slower or not running for certain balls. That's something that as a player you have to pay attention.

    "It's not the first time when we played that she's doing this. That's her way of playing - or maybe when she plays against me. I don't know.

    "But when it's an important moment, a huge serve comes up, so you have to be on alert every time. You never know if she's going to come slow or really fast one.

    "It's not easy to focus. It's important for me to focus on my game and not really let those kind of things affect me and not allow me to play my game, but it's the way it is.

    "She's the number one player in the world, and she plays so well. She deserves to be in this spot. But I think also when you play, winning or losing, you have to be up there and be a good sportsman."

    Nothing in the rules of tennis says a player shall not play at different speeds.

    However Jankovic appeared to be suggesting there are ways of conducting yourself not covered in the rules but which are eloquent of your attitude to the game.

    Williams plays her last match of the 2013 season against Li Na in the WTA Championships final on Sunday.

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