Maria Sharapova: What Does Sony Ericsson Open Loss Mean for Sharapova's Future?
Maria Sharapova Falls to Victoria Azarenka, and it Won't Be the Last Time
Victoria Azarenka defeated Maria Sharapova in straight sets at the Sony Ericsson Open today, and this finals match demonstrated one very important fact:
Sharapova needs some serious work, and Azarenka was the perfect foil to expose her every weakness.
ESPN's Greg Garber (when he wasn't wasting time discussing the various grunts associated with women's tennis) describes Sharapova's struggles throughout the match:
"Sharapova's serve -- perhaps a product of her lack of confidence in her surgically repaired shoulder -- was atrocious. She was broken all four times in the first set alone and didn't hold her first service game until (a frankly amazing) 80 minutes into the match, after going 0-for-6. She finished with one hold in nine tries."
For more on women's tennis, check out Sweet Vik-Tory: Azarenka Slams Sharapova, Bags Second Miami Title.
Now, even though Sharapova is only 23 years old, some must wonder if her career is on its way downhill. The careers of tennis stars are virtually terminal before they even pick up a racquet, so it would come as no surprise to see Sharapova continue to slip down the WTA rankings. But unlike many of her "tennis hottie" counterparts, Maria Sharapova has something that sets her apart from the other pretty faces of women's tennis: talent.
Give Sharapova time, and she'll get into a rhythm. Garber agrees:
"...this is a good time for Sharapova to rediscover the game that produced those three major titles. After reaching the semifinals two weeks ago at Indian Wells, she'll return to the top 10 next week, but there is clearly more work to do."
And he hits the nail on the head. We haven't seen the end of Sharapova's struggles, but she is one hell of an athlete...and a fighter. She will be far from satisfied with her soon-to-be No. 9 WTA ranking, and we will all witness her tenacious fight back to the top.
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