Saturday, January 28, 2012

Australian Open Day 13: Sharapova

Curtain Call

Name: Maria Sharapova
Age: 24
Nation: Russia
Current Ranking: 4
Notable Conquest: Petra Kvitova (2nd seed, Czech Republic)
Today's Result: loss to Victoria Azarenka (3rd, Belarus) in straight sets

Photo via Facebook

I find it virtually impossible to root for Sharapova but on some level, it was good to see her gain a measure of revenge against Kvitova in the semifinals. Unfortunately, she didn't have enough left in the tank to put up much fight in the finals. Sharapova missed her chance to claim the #1 ranking but she'll still move up from #4. I'm always shocked to be reminded of her age. Only 24? Everything is skewed when you win Wimbledon at the age of 17.

Many bemoan the lack of a single dominant player at the top of the heap in women's tennis but I think relative parity is wonderful. For the fourth Slam in a row, we have a first time Slam champion. Five different players have won the past five Slams: Clijsters, Li, Kvitova, Stosur and Azarenka. It's been nearly a decade since men's tennis has had anything approaching that run. Who would be the most likely player to keep both streaks alive in Paris? Marion Bartoli (France) would be my choice.

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