Sharapova v. Azarenka in Saturday Screamfest Battle for Miami Title
by Staff | April 2nd, 2011, 9:22 am
  • 60 Comments

Things will be noisy on Miami’s stadium court today when two of the most prolific screamers in tennis, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, tangle for the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open women’s title.

“I think she’s (Sharapova) louder,” Azarenka joked after her semifinal win over Vera Zvonareva. “But, yeah, every time we’ve been asked that, and, you know, there’s nothing you can do about it…. You’re going to have to wear earplugs.”

Both players have overcome a lot just to reach the Miami finals. The former No. 1 Sharapova’s career was in doubt two years ago after shoulder surgery. But the Russian has shown her unmatched will and determination this week to claw her way back into the Top 10 and on the brink of her biggest match in many years.

“I feel like I’m finding my form,” Sharapova said Thursday. “I was looking to play a lot of the matches before I came to Indian Wells. I really felt like with many matches and staying healthy that I would feel better and my form would start coming back to me, and my tennis as well. I feel that that’s playing out really well.”

Just six months ago in a scary sight Azarenka collapsed motionless on a US Open court. After struggles earlier this season and this month – she retired with a hip injury in Indian Wells, she’s now just one match win from her second career Miami title.

“Well, after Doha I took a little break and I started to think a little bit of what I wanted to do with my life,” Azarenka said. “Because it was a tough moment, you know, the beginning of the season. I realize that I really love the game and I have to change few things and just try a different way. It works out for me. I feel happy on the court. I feel really ready to battle any day.”

Sharapova and Azarenka have split their four previous meetings. Azarenka beat Sharapova 64, 61 in Stanford last summer in their most recent meeting.

“She plays really aggressive and swings really hard from both sides,” Sharapova said of her opponent in the final. “You know, a great returner. It’ll be tough. I lost to her the last time we played – in Stanford that was, I believe – so, yeah, I’ll look to change a few things around if I play her.”

WTA NOTES:
Victoria Azarenka is bidding to become the 8th woman to win the Miami title twice or more; she won the title in 2009, defeating world No.1 Serena Williams in the final (1 of only 4 women to defeat Serena here, along with V.Williams, Hingis and Capriati).

Maria Sharapova is through to her 3rd Miami final; she finished runner-up in 2005 (l. Clijsters) and 2006 (l.Kuznetsova. This is the first time she has been ranked lower than her opponent in the final. Jennifer Capriati is the only player to lose her first three Miami finals (2001-03).

Azarenka and Sharapova are both contesting their first final of 2011. Before Miami, Azarenka’s best results were QF finishes at Sydney and Indian Wells, while Sharapova reached her first SF of 2011 at Indian Wells two weeks ago Azarenka is playing her 11th singles final, she is 5-6 in previous finals. Her 5th and most recent title came in her last final at 2010 Moscow; she has won 5 of her last 7 finals.

Sharapova is playing her 34th singles final, and her first since 2010 Cincinnati; she is 22-11 in previous finals. She has lost 3 finals since winning her most recent title at Strasbourg in May 2010 (Birmingham, Stanford, Cincinnati).

Sharapova is bidding to become only the 2nd Russian to triumph here, after Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2006. As well as her two final defeats, Anna Kournikova (1998) and Elena Dementieva (2004) also finished runners-up here.

Sharapova is playing Miami for the first time since 2007. This is her 6th appearance here. Azarenka is playing here for the 5th year.

Sharapova’s QF win vs. Dulgheru was the longest singles match of the tournament so far at 3h 29min; she has won all 5 of her 3-set matches in 2011 (incl. SF win vs. Petkovic).

Azarenka was taken to 3 sets in each of her first 3 matches but then produced straight-sets victories vs. world No.2 Clijsters in QF and world No.3 Zvonareva in SF; they were her 6th and 7th Top 5 wins.

Sharapova’s win over world No.5 Stosur in 4r was her first Top 5 victory in more than 3 years (world No.1 Henin at 2008 Australian Open) ending a losing streak of 6 matches against Top 5 players.

Sharapova is projected to return to Top 10 for first time since the 2009 Australian Open at No.9, win or lose today Azarenka is projected to rise to No.7 by reaching the final and to No.6 if she wins the title (which would equal her career-high).


Also Check Out:
Sharapova Shrieked-Down by Azarenka in Miami Final
Azarenka Clinches No. 1 Ranking, Meets Sharapova In WTA Championships SFs; Will The Winner Meet Serena Sunday?
Azarenka Seeks First Slam Title Against Sharapova Tonight In Scream Queen Battle At Australian Open
Djokovic Hits 24; Nadal, Federer Near SF Collision at Miami Tennis Masters, Will They Get There?
Azarenka, Serena, Sharapova Battle In Istanbul For No. 1 Ranking, Player Of The Year Honors

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60 Comments for Sharapova v. Azarenka in Saturday Screamfest Battle for Miami Title

tennis coach Says:

With all due respect, Rafa played his usual game and it was Roger who played so poorly that he was unrecognizable and made way TOO MANY unforced errors. It was really sad to watch Roger play in such fashion. Everything was off for Roger yesterday. Even Nadal did not expected such a poor performance by Roger and did not celebrate his victory as he usually does. However, Rafa deserved the win, congrats to him and his fans. New rivalry is born, RAFA AND NOLE. GO NOLE!!!


Kimmi Says:

screamers! let the best one win, i mean the best secremmer..ha-ha


grendel Says:

Kimmi, do you mean the player who screams best? In which case, you don’t really need a tennis match at all, you could just get Sharapova and Azarenka lined up on courtside, and get them to scream. The umpire could officiate, and possibly even contribute. Thus he could announce:”For the first scream – frustration”. (The girls scream). Umpire awards marks according not just to volume, but to interpretation also: in the event of a tie, facial expression is taken into account. And so it proceeds. “Second scream: delight”, “Third scream: desolation”, “Fourth scream:rage”, and so on.

However, Kimmi, perhaps you just meant may the best player, who will certainly be a screamer, win. As a matter of opinion, annoying and absurd though Sharapova’s screams are, they are nowhere near as bad as Azraneka’s – which have the quality of a sort of harsh metallic screech which could, you suspect, actually drive you mad were you forced to listen to it for too long. You could probably market the Azarenka scream as a torture weapon – it would be pretty effective, I fancy, in extracting reliable information in double quick time.


Kimmi Says:

lol grendel, sorry for the typo on my above post. yes, what i meant was “let the best screamer” win. In this case it will be win a tennis match with the best scream….i wonder if that is possible? but with these girls , i think anything is possible.

I would like to watch this match, but haven’t decided yet if i will watch the match mute or with volume…its never fun to watch mute but in this case to avoid the torture grendel is referring to its better to watch mute lol.

Sharapova seem to be coming back to her best slowly. it will be good for women tennis if she plays good again..giving wozniacki a run for her money which i doubt as she is been losing badly to her. azarenka playing well will add for more drama..


madmax Says:

New rivalry is born, RAFA AND NOLE. GO NOLE!!!

April 2nd, 2011 at 9:54 am

tenniscoach, their rivalry is more than rafa’s and fed’s, with the h2h being 16:8 in favour of rafa already. fed’s being 8:15. It’s kind of the main plot and the sub plot.


sar Says:

Weather for Sunday:
Sunny, 81 Degrees F (27.2 C) 78% Humidity.


dari Says:

Whoa, long time no see, Mary Carillo.
A win would be great for either of these ladies, pulling for Maria, but will be happy for vika, too


Kimmi Says:

Polo – carillo is back :)

here we go..i think sharapova is the more aggressive


sar Says:

I still think Fed is going to get one more big one.


dari Says:

Wow, long game already. Carillo used to annoy me, then I didn’t see her for a long time and now she is back I do not have good feelings! At least serena is not playing , we would just hear Carillo talking bad about her.
Vika breaks!


Kimmi Says:

ha-ha what a rally. the screaming is getting higher..

azarenka breaks first!


Mark Dennis Says:

This final is doing some serious damage to everyone’s ears. Am watching the final on TV now and am using the mute button as we speak.


sar Says:

Can anyone post a good streaming link?


grendel Says:

Well, Kimmi, Sharapova broken after very long game of high quality. Jes’s, do they give the ball a smack. manouevering is there not. On the screaming front, the crowd actually started laughing – and you can see why; in a curious way, it was almost like a raging duet from an opera. Sharapova looked up at the umpire as if to complain – now that’s a nerve, when you think of it. It implies her screaming is perfectly normal. It absolutely isn’t. The laughing is spontaneous, not malicious – and can therefor be considered a natural response to a somewhat unatural situation. Great tennis, though.


Kimmi Says:

double faults is where the problem is for sharapova


dari Says:

Me, too, sar!


dari Says:

Are you in US , sar? It’s on cbs tv.
Sure there is plenty of streams if not- livescorehunter fromsport…


Kimmi Says:

no one can hold serve so far. typical women tennis. now vika hold!

grendel – i find the screaming bearable for some reason.


Kimmi Says:

vika on fire!


dari Says:

Crazy, kimmi, the shrieks are no problem for me either. They are quite similar in my opinion.
Vika is playing a lot tighter game than maria.
I expected her to give away more than this.


Kimmi Says:

maria cant find her range yet…we need a close match..


grendel Says:

An amazingly inept bh slice from Azarenka to a low ball from Sharpie barely reaches the bottom of the net. It was intriguing to watch, because you sensed straight away Azarenka wasn’t going to make it – an absolutely standard shot, one would have thought, for a quality player. Club players, rejoice! Nevertheless, Azarenka ended the game with a gloriously timed bh to the corner of the court, and she is now in control.

yes, it’s odd, Kimmi, I too am not minding the screaming – it’s almost as if, despite what i said above, it’s become a sort of norm, and you put it behind you. I don’t know. Very rum.


Kimmi Says:

she needs to take it off a little..going big shots for every return of serve is not working.

what a pass by vika!


dari Says:

Nice point


Kimmi Says:

vika seem to be the consistent one here. are we on for a bread stick? HOLD Sharpie!


dari Says:

Weird shot, huh, grendel?!
Though if we both knew from the beginning she was going to miss it, the decision itself.was probably flawed, as well as the execution.
Nothing to worry, she won the set 6-1.
Maria can’t hold :/


Kimmi Says:

too many errors sharapova..she needs to sort herself out quickly.

aaawww! federer on relox commercial. they love his wimbedon matches, hey?


grendel Says:

Sharpie’sf fh a real liability. Can, of course, be glorious, but just not reliable – it seems to break down almost beyond the volition of the player. And it’s always had this tendency, right from the beginning of her career, although it’s getting worse. Sharapova never accepted criticism of her fh – or would sarcastically thank her interviewer for the coaching lesson. So she may be sufering for her pride. though possibly, I suppose, there is nothing to be done. Now, anyway. But earlier in her career? I guess there was a calculated trade off. But where once the balance was in her favour, it seems to be swinging the other way now.


dari Says:

That feels more like Rolex on a federer commercial!
Rolex is official.time keeper at wimby
Gasp! Maria serve hits het side of the court!


Kimmi Says:

wow, azarenka is not slowing down..


Kimo Says:

Maria’s dilemma: to be a tennis player with no serve and bad movement.


Kimmi Says:

oh no, she misses a sitter fh, now got broken. grender is right about sharpie fh, today has been her down fall..

this is going to be a beat down..


dari Says:

Days like these makes me remember why I and others have so much hope for vika.
Whew- that was some hitting. And Maria won that one!


Kimmi Says:

maria has not won a service game yet


dari Says:

Looks like she is about to now, though kimmi


grendel Says:

Azarenka wins 8th game in a row. It started with an outrageously good bh drop shot from Sharpie. And then it was the good old curate’s egg. One excellent rally with 5 or 6 classy fh’s from Sharpie gets her the point. Interspersed with some mediocre play. And meanwhile, Azarenka calm and authoritative, steadily driving towards the winning post. One player is going right up, careerwise; the other, sadly, is going down, and her formidable will is not going to save her imo. That will, in any case, cut both ways – because there is an obstinacy there.


Kimmi Says:

c’mon hold sharpie


Kimmi Says:

oh lord, sharapova probably very disgusted at the moment..

vika too good today..


grendel Says:

Sharapova broken again after some terrible luck – 2 net cords in a row. She was definitely threatening, booming her 2nd serves indistinguishable from 1st, colouring the lines, a touch dubiously once perhaps – but imposing herself. She might have held, but for the bad luck. That’s why, despite everything, you warm to Sharpie – she fights right from the bottom of the deep dark ditch, and you never know with her.


Eric Says:

This is really just embarrassing. How can you not hold serve even once out of six tries? After being up 40-0 on the latest attempt?

I think Masha’s luck is just a bit off today — seems like Azarenka’s iffy shots are all in, and hers are all out. Otherwise she’d have won that game, at least.

Mostly, though — wow. How can you play so well on half the points and so badly on others? It’s not like Azarenka is even playing that well either – fine, obviously, low errors, good movement, but nothing so special.


Eric Says:

At least she’s on the board in the second set here now. Maybe she can even hold serve? No one breaks Maria Sharapova seven times in a row!


Kimmi Says:

are we having a swing of momentum here


Eric Says:

This is more like it! Now she just has to break back again and then hold again. LOL.


grendel Says:

2 games in a row for the battler – now Azarenka under pressure. Nother excellent drop shot from la Sharpa.


Kimmi Says:

sooo tense for both..great stuff


Kimmi Says:

another break..we have a match!


dari Says:

!!
Eric, she is halfway there! But I disagree about the other part- I think vika is playing very well.
Maria had her own net.cord luck that game and some.big shots. I’ll gladly take three sets :)
I bet Kimberly would, too. Go Maria


grendel Says:

3 in a row from Sharpie! At the moment she is overpowering Azarenka – can she keep it up? If she can, she wins. Otherwise, she has merely delayed the inevitable. For Azarenka is not going away, is not crumbling – just can’t quite cope with Sharapova at her very best.


Kimmi Says:

gendel – the answer is no, she couldnt keep it up. azarenka serving for the championship..

now sharpie has to break here..i want the third set..


dari Says:

That’s how you fight off match point


Kimmi Says:

azarenka very nervous now..

ok, can sharpie hold!


Eric Says:

Dari, sure she is playing very well, but it’s not like she’s playing so amazingly well that you’d consider a 9 game winning streak (or whatever it was) natural!

I hope Sharapova can level up, a third set would be lovely.


Eric Says:

Guess not. :(


Kimmi Says:

vika very happy, congrats to her. sharapova was coming back in th end..

holding serve only one time..not good sharpie

now on to clay


dari Says:

Eric- gotcha :)
Too bad we didn’t get a third set.
Congrats to vika, Miami is good for her.
No title, but Maria is in the top ten again!
Can someone tell her to spin in more on second serve? :/
Sure its not that simple, but she’s gotta give herself more chances to hold.


dari Says:

They’re playing last night’ fedal match. Crap match + Mary Carillo, I’m outta here!
Happy Saturday and see ya’ll for the men’s final!


jane Says:

Congrats to Vika – too hung over to deal with the screaming, so I opted not to watch until the last few games when I thought there was maybe some hope. Too bad for Sharpie, and for Kimberly, who was there and would’ve been supporting Maria. Sharapova has to do something about that serve! And cut down on errors; that last game, she gave away.


Kimberly Says:

Too many double faults, unforced errors, if the point goes past two shots maria loses. Azarenka seemed stronger, fitter, and more consistent. Azarenka also much prettier in person I think.

maria is an awesome returner and on the second when she stands inside she was really putting some great returns in play. But her footwork, movement and control poor.

However, it was entertaining tennis, and yes, a scream fest.

Most of the people were rooting for Maria, if not just more tennis. Most of the people who were there last night were pretty angry; they felt fed didn’t show up mentally and a large waste of time and effort on a friday night.

Watched a few games of the doubles final then left. Rafa and Novak had already practiced and left by the time the womens match was over.


tennis coach Says:

Madmax, what I meant is rivalry for the Number 1 in the world.

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