June 3, 2014
How do you solve a problem like Maria? We’re not sure any of her rivals can. Not this year at Roland Garros. It’s looking more and more like Maria Sharapova’s title in France.
Her twelve million followers on social media will be delighted if that prediction comes true.
Nothing is certain in sport and there will still be stern tests ahead. Yet there was something special about Sharapova from the very start of this particular tournament. We highlighted her extraordinary intensity on her very first day in action at Roland Garros. We said her focus and sheer will to win stood out in a chilling way and made her a serious contender.
The Venezuelan-born Spaniard Garbine Muguruza steamrollered Sharapova 6-1 in 27 minutes to claim a first set few could have seen coming. But Maria is in the right place mentally and ready to handle any crisis. She has been in the zone since day one and you sense she will still be there when all is said and done.
That mental strength and determination dragged her back into contention when it seemed her technique had deserted her.
Maria took the second set 7-5 and gave Muguruza a taste of her own medicine with a 6-1 decider.
Navarro. Bouchard was 4-1 down in the third set but Suarez-Navarro tightened with the finishing tape in sight. The Canadian stormed back to clinch her second successive Grand Slam semi-final on her third match point.
She had stolen the first set on a tie-break, been taken apart 2-6 in the second, yet “Genie” emerged triumphant 7-5 thanks to her amazing third-set comeback.
‘I’m so happy,’ said Bouchard. ‘It was a battle, I didn’t expect such a difficult match but the third set was the most important.
‘I’m very tired but I’ll be alright to play Sharapova and it’s great to be able to stay in Paris a bit longer.’
That women’s semi-final will now be eagerly awaited by the entire tennis world. Of course, there have been so many Grand Slam shocks this year that nothing can be predicted with total confidence.
Maria Sharapova is playing like a woman on a mission, unprepared to let any set-back get the better of her.
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