Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I am watching the women's tennis semi final at the Australian Open, Sharapova versus Li Na, can we say any more how crucial hitting the ball early IS?? 

In the first set Sharapova has played well, but Li Na even better, 6-2. How?

HITTING EARLY.  A great coach told me to do this years ago, and it took an even greater time to really see.  Maria hits early, Li Na even earlier. You can just see how Li Na tracks the ball and already has her racquet back, ready to hit the ball early and right back at you to win quick points.

photo source: AP

SERVE STRONG and WELL. Maria faults, but aces also.  Her second serve is as strong as the first. This will off-put Li Na, but not much.  Li's game is really on. She is now up a set and a break.  Li is serving great also. Not much room, if any, for error here. 

Maybe it's the heat?  Maria's game just does not seem to be together today.  Oh well. But then she gets a great shot to be a tough contender.  Li is making Maria lunge for the serves, again wrong footing her. 

Maria's strength in this match is her unwavering service game. You have to give her a lot of credit for putting her 'all' into her serve.  She has perfect form here~

photo source: AP
Maria plays each point BIG.  Good head set here.  Maria is mentally tough, each point matters.  Maybe that explains Maria turning to the wall, to the shadows... But, it is hot Down Under, shade is good!

I'd like to see Maria win, but I am not so sure this is her day. She has to catch up. Now or never being down a set.

Li is so strong, 4-2 now. Li is anticipating Maria's second serves, which has done well for her!  Regard her balance in this shot, great form and confidence in her play~

How has this breakdown happened?  Maria has played so well in this Australian OPen tournament, here are some stats for this tennis great and world number 2 ~

Through Round 4 of the Australian Open 2013~
  • Sharapova has spent five hours and 15 minutes on court, winning 289 points and hitting 20 aces to 15 double faults.
  • Her fastest serve so far was 181kph and she has won 79% of points on the first serve and 55% on the second serve
  • Sharapova's current record for serve-volleying stands at 0/0.
    (source: bbc sport tennis)

Words of wisdom from Maria:

"I don't want to give my opponents the chance to test me," she said. "Do I want them to test me? Would I prefer that? Absolutely not."

Sharapova works hard and really does not give anything away. Li Na defends so well and covers the court like  none other. Maria could not close out those service points of hers from the first set.

Maria is certainly being tested by Li Na!

This is a very tough match for her.

Li Na needs to play freely and strongly to close out the match.

You really have to close that last point. period.  

Let's see how Li Na closes the match.
Serving 30-30. Hits a powerful serve, now 40-30, match point. Fault. Deuce. Ace, serving wide.  Fault.  Serves, Maria misses. Game, set, match. 6-2, 6-2.

Serve your BEST on that Ad Court, get the job done! 

Know this, and do it! And Li Na DID. She aced the test. Congratulations, Li Na!!

Her are some Youtube highlights of the match and final match point~

Also, from, a really great live analysis of the match, play by play!  

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