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Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova: Re-analyzing the rivalry!

By Pawan Atri    + Follow

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Keywords: Qatar Ladies Open | Serena-Williams | Maria-Sharapova | Victoria-Azarenka
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova: Re-analyzing the rivalry!
Just a couple of days ago at the Qatar Total Open semifinals Serena Williams defeated the Roland Garros winner Maria Sharapova for the 10th time in a row. The American has an envious 11-2 head-to-head record against the Russian and that is why the critics have gone on to say that it is not at all a rivalry. Simply put Serena is the steamroller, who can control the contest from the word go, while Maria is the sitting duck who just does not have the fire-power to tame the uberly decorated Palm Beach Gardens resident.

The eye-candy of the world’s media Sharapova has been under constant pressure to deliver big blows to the 15 times Major winner who on Monday became the oldest woman to be ranked no.1 at the age of 31. Ever since, she humiliated her on the hallowed lawns of the All England Club to lift her first Wimbledon crown the quadruple Grand Slam victor hasn’t been able to crack the Serena code. It has been almost 9 years since we last saw a overjoyed Sharapova versus Williams and what’s more astounding is that apart from the losses that are in double digits, the diva has taken-off only two sets from the Afro-American lady.

So, what’s the secret behind the five time Big W winner’s stupendous success against the fashion icon? Why hasn’t been the two females at par when we talk about both being power-baseliners? Why the 25 year old isn’t got under the skin of the top ranked woman? TennisEarth re-analyzes their emulation and provides answers to its readers that why it is so that the US citizen proficiently denounces the world no.3 every now and again with the utmost ease.

1. Maria does not mixes-up play: The biggest reason behind Serena’s utter dominance of the Bradenton resident is that, she lacks the guile and the craft of a Martina Hingis or Kim Clijsters. According to Sharapova’s own admission, she has tried to develop a sharp angled slice serve, but the practice has all gone in vain. Moreover, the under-cutting stroke that keeps the ball on a lower trajectory and can trouble the best of the lot is missing from her armor.

Beyond doubt the reigning Queen of Paris can match up with Serena from the baseline as far as brute force is concerned, however to overcome the legend she must control the pace of the rallies and should execute a couple of drop-shots and slices, without them it is as hard as flying the kite without the bridle. Until she starts maneuvering the veteran by shifting the tempo, she will only come out as the second best because she basically can’t beat Serena by flattening out her ground-strokes.

2. The high ball toss and the weak second serve: Sharapova has one of the most high boll tosses in the game and that is something which makes her serve a liability sometimes. Especially the likes of Serena and Victoria Azarenka go for the kill after seeing that the ball is pitched short in the middle of the court or without any kick out-wide. Although, her first delivery has improved considerably it is the second that gives her the most trouble against the top two. Usually Maria tends to go for more on her second serve, and in that process she commits far too many double-faults to her liking. As her serve is not that penetrative as her other contemporaries, it gravitates to provide opportunities to her adversaries to cut short her trips at the events and that is something she needs to work upon if she wants to win more Slams.

3. The Fragile Forehand: Maria’s forehand is not as reliable as the AK-47 and is quite susceptible as and when she is made to run from one corner to another of the court. Because of her tall figure, she has got an enormous reach, but as she does not impart any side-spin or top-spin on her shot from the front arm, it normally sails long over the baseline when she is being engaged in a gruesome rally. She needs to tighten the screws on it; otherwise, one day the lower ranked foes will use that same ploy to usurp her in the initial rounds of the tournaments.

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