Sharapova Nears No. 1 And Career Slam, Can Kvitova Stop Her In French Open Semifinals?
by Staff | June 6th, 2012
  • 90 Comments

The men’s draw isn’t the only competition with history at stake this weekend. Maria Sharapova is on the verge of making her very own impression in the annals. The Russian is just one win from reclaiming the No. 1 ranking, and two wins from completing her own career Grand Slam.


The self-described “cow on ice” has taken advantage of missteps and the misfortunes of Venus Williams, Serena Williams, a slew of wanna-be former No. 1s, and current No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, and now sits on the cusp of history on her admittedly worst surface. The draw has been kind to Masha.

On women’s semifinal day Thursday, Sharapova faces dangerous lefty Petra Kvitova, who beat Maria in the Wimbledon final last year.

“Maria has had a great year and she’s playing really well, very fast. She has a big serve too,” said Kvitova who trails Sharapova 3-2 in their career meetings. “When I beat her at Wimbledon it was something special for me — it was my first final, but I was No. 8 and she was the favorite in the match, so I didn’t have anything to lose. I could just play my game. But since then it’s sometimes a win, sometimes a loss when I play against her.

“I hope I can remember some good things from my last few matches and we’ll see how it goes against Maria. It will be a tough match, for sure.”

Earlier in the day Kvitova beat qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Sharapova for her part eased past an intimidated Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-3.

“It’s nice to be in this position again. It’s my third time in the semifinals here,” Sharapova said. “Petra’s an extremely tough opponent, someone I have had good success against in our last couple of meetings, but they’re always tough matches. The last one in Stuttgart was a tough two-setter for me — she had opportunities in that second set and when she’s confident, she’s dangerous.”

In the earlier semifinal, Sara Errani meets three-time French Open semifinalist Sam Stosur. The Italian underdog Errani has won just one set in five matches with Stosur.

All four remaining players are seeking their first career French Open title. Errani is the lone member of the foursome without a Slam victory, and only one career win against a Top 10 opponent.

WTA women’s semifinal notes:

Sharapova has equaled her best Roland Garros performance (also SF in 2007 and 2011) and this is her 14th career SF appearance. Since reaching the SF here 12 months ago, she has only failed to reach the last 4 at the US Open.

Errani and Kvitova are making their Roland Garros SF debuts; Errani is also playing the first Grand Slam SF of her career, while this is Kvitova’s 4th (SF at 2010 Wimbledon, won at 2011 Wimbledon and SF at 2012 Australian Open).

All 4 semifinalists have won claycourt titles during their respective careers: Sharapova (5), Errani (4), Kvitova (1) and Stosur (1).

Both Sharapova and Errani have won multiple titles in 2012 — all of them on clay. Sharapova won at Stuttgart and Rome,while Errani lifted trophies at Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest.

Among the semifinalists, only Stosur has advanced to a SF without dropping a set. Sharapova has conceded one set, while Errani and Kvitova have lost two sets.

Sharapova has conceded the fewest games en route to a SF (23; to get to the SF stage here last year she conceded 32 games).

Stosur has spent the least amount of time on court (6 hours).

Errani has conceded the most games (43) and spent the longest amount of time on court (8 hours, 18 minutes).

The 2012 Roland Garros SF line-up features three former Grand Slam champions: Sharapova (3 titles), Kvitova (1) and Stosur (1). Kvitova (Wimbledon) and Stosur (US Open) are reigning champs.

Of the Roland Garros semifinalists, Stosur has reached the SF at three of the last four years at Roland Garros; Sharapova has reached SF at four of the last five Slams; Kvitova has reached SF at three of the last four Slams.

For the first time since 2008, when No. 2 seed Ivanovic, No. 3 Jankovic and No. 4 Kuznetsova advanced to SF, two of the Top 4 seeds (No. 2 Sharapova, No. 4 Kvitova) have reached the last four at Roland Garros. Last year, none of the Top 4 seeds reached this stage of the event.

Errani is the lowest seed to reach the SF here since a 30th-seeded Stosur in 2009.

Only twice, in 1933 and 2010, has the women’s singles title at Roland Garros been won by a player not seeded in the Top 10.

Since 1976, no player ranked outside the Top 20 has won the singles at Roland Garros, however four players ranked outside of the Top 10 have won the title: No. 18 S.Barker (1976 as No. 1 seed), No. 17 V. Ruzici (1978 as No. 2 seed), No. 12 Henin (2005 as No. 10 seed) and No. 17 Schiavone (2010 as No. 17 seed).

Stosur is through to her 3rd SF at Roland Garros (also SF in 2009 and r-Up in 2010); she is the sole semifinalist to have advanced beyond this stage of the tournament previously. This is her 4th Grand Slam SF overall (also won 2011 US Open).

Sharapova and Kvitova are both through to a second consecutive Grand Slam SF, Sharapova defeating Kvitova in the SF at this year’s Australian Open.

Court Philippe Chatrier 12:00 PM Start Time

Maria Kirilenko (RUS)[7] v. Andrea Hlavackova (CZE)[5]

Nadia Petrova (RUS)[7] Lucie Hradecka (CZE)[5] To Finish 4-6 7-5

Not Before:2:00 PM

Samantha Stosur (AUS)[6] v. Sara Errani (ITA)[21]

Petra Kvitova (CZE)[4] v. Maria Sharapova (RUS)[2]

Mixed Doubles – Finals

Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (POL)/Santiago Gonzalez (MEX)  vs. Sania Mirza (IND)/Mahesh Bhupathi (IND) [7]


Also Check Out:
Sharapova, Kvitova Clash in Women’s Wimbledon Final
Sharapova, Kvitova Advance to Wimbledon Final
Sharapova v Lisicki the Popcorn Match; Wimbledon Women’s Semi Previews
Sharapova Suddenly the Wimbledon Favorite After Quarters
Sharapova v Errani: Let’s Play ‘Will She Choke?’ at French Open

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90 Comments for Sharapova Nears No. 1 And Career Slam, Can Kvitova Stop Her In French Open Semifinals?

Humble Rafa Says:

Your Humble Highness stands by his prediction from 4 weeks ago. Clay Court Specialist…hmm hmm.. Maria Sharapova wins French Open title.


jatt Says:

I see Errani as a dark horse. She reminds of Schiavone when she won her FO. It has to be between Sharapova and Errani


steve-o Says:

I don’t know whether to root for Sharapova or Kvitova. I like them both!


jane Says:

I feel the same steve-o. I would like to see Sharpie get the career slam though, and I don’t know how many more chances she’ll have even though she is younger than it seems since she’s been around so long. By contrast, Kvitova is just beginning to make a name for herself and she has an excellent shot to defend at Wimbledon too.


Kimmi Says:

go petra


roy Says:

and the contrast between this comment section and that of the men’s SF perfectly illustrates why female players shouldn’t be given equal prize money.
people could care less about the women’s tour.
it’s the male players who draw interest and the male players who sell tickets.


the mind reels Says:

@roy: …and it’s people like you whose insensitive remarks about women tennis players and their tour that kept women from having equal prize money and respect for most of the existence of women’s tennis.

No one cares if you don’t care about women’s tennis. There are other people who do care, so try not to rain on their parade, big guy.


Achilles Says:

@the mind reels:

Don’t count me in among those who care about women’s tennis. I agree with roy. Women’s tennis is not even close to men’s tennis. If you like to watch screaming women and where there have been several number one ranked players who could not even win a single major, then go ahead and enjoy. It is okay for them to get paid but to say they deserve equal money by invoking equality of the sexes is not a good argument. They have to deserve it first. Show us good players and interesting matches first.


jane Says:

jatt Errani takes the first set; maybe you’ll be right?


mmm Says:

Good Luck PETRA! Make the final please!!


jane Says:

Stosur seems to have control of the second set a.t.m. – looking to go up a double break right now.


the mind reels Says:

@Achilles: as someone who has self-proclaimed to not care about women’s tennis, you put forward some awkwardly paternalistic views of what women need to prove to you (and a whole group of others, apparently) in order to be worthy of equal prize money (i.e., for there to be “good players” and “interesting matches”). You’re entitled to telling me my argument isn’t strong enough if you can provide some decent arguments of your own, but you haven’t done that. That some women scream while playing or that there have been several top-ranked women players who haven’t won a major yet has absolutely nothing to do with getting equal prize money. It’s about having to play and win the same number of matches, which they do.

That *you* may not find matches between women players interesting is a matter of preference, not fact.


Kimberly Says:

I happen to really enjoy womens tennis. The pro at my club and my husband find in unwatchable because of Sharapova and Azarenka, my two favorite players.

But they both like Stosur because they feel she has a lot of variety in her game, kick serve etc. while the rest stand at the baseline and make unforced errors and double fault.

I find it quite athletic and enjoyable especially since the matches are not serving contests like some of the mens matches on the faster surfaces.


Kimberly Says:

gotta go show property, is stosur starting to choke or is this a momentary lapse?


jane Says:

Hmmm, after eating a baguette Errani gets an early break in the 3rd. Topsy-turvy.


Achilles Says:

Women don’t deserve the equal money that men get for tennis. They don’t deserve it because they do not generate the same amount of income that men’s tennis get. Simple as that. Just look at other sporting events that feature women…basketball, golf…how many people are interested in those? How much money do you think their matches generate as compared with men? Generate interest, generate good income first. Where will the organizers get them to money to pay them? It you look at women’s tennis matches, they don’t fill the stands. It only happens in majors that people watch because they are held together with the men. I just took a glimpse of the Stosur-Errani match. There are so many empty seats! Wait for the men to play and look at the stadium. The women have to earn it first before they demand equal pay. Some women’s matches are interesting, I must admit. But those come so rarely and so far in between.


jane Says:

Stosur breaks back…


dari Says:

I wish kvitova and sharapova were not in same half! Winner will come from.that side, unless errani gets through and just totally shakes up one of the big blondes. Maria owns Sam, and Sam has never beaten petra. Well you never know.

It’s fine if you don’t enjoy the matches, bit shameful to shout “no equal pay” for these players who have trained all their lives and are the best in the world at what they do.


dari Says:

But, Achilles how are you supposed to distinguish between the men-generated money and the women-generated money at a combined event? At slams and combined events it’s gotta be equal. At the WTA events they can decide for themselves how much money to give as prize based off how much money they make.

Wow, errani steady that game, don’t.know who will win. Gut says errani for some reason


Achilles Says:

It is also a bit shameful to shout “equal pay” for these players who certainly are lackluster when compared with the men.


rcm Says:

Aw, you guys complaining about Women’s Tennis should just go back to your “No Girls Allowed” tree house.


jane Says:

Errani breaks! will serve for a spot in the final.


jane Says:

Wow, Errani really is this year’s Francesca in a way!


the mind reels Says:

By and large, women currently don’t receive the same prize money as men for many comparable tournaments. The lowest level of tournament on each tour (World Tour 250 for the men; WTA International for the women) currently pays about double to the male winner (US $72,000) than to the female winner at an equivalent tournament (US $37,000). Example: the Estoril tournament for each tour.

The WTA and the ATP are different organizations, and as a practical matter of business, I think what you’re arguing (i.e., that prize money should be determined largely by ticket sales/dollar generation) is common sense and is in fact reflected across the board in these tournaments — is it not?

At a combined major like the French Open or the U.S. Open, you cannot segregate ticket sales or “interest” and allocate prize money accordingly. People are there to watch tennis, and the cost of their ticket gives them equal access to men’s matches and women’s matches (and the scheduling reflects this, too). The women have to play just as many matches as the men, and their draw is just as large and the competition relatively just as difficult. (I realize that men play 3 out of 5 and the women play 2 out of 3.)

Fwiw, here’s a pic of Rod Laver Arena for the women’s final this year:

http://tinyurl.com/chp2499

Looks pretty full to me, and as you know, they play the women’s final on a day when there are no men’s singles matches, so it’s not like those people were sticking around to watch some men’s tennis later.


the mind reels Says:

Meanwhile, Errani (the less fresh of the two) serves 93% first serves in the final set to march her way into her first FO final.


Achilles Says:

so, the mind reels, what you are saying is that in combined events like the majors, the women are riding on the coattails of the men.


Achilles Says:

Errani had 93% first serves because she did not have to try harder because the one she was serving to was a nervous wreck who would just miss anyway, so why take the risk? Stosur was so nervous because she was playing against the 21st ranked player in the world.


dari Says:

Wow! Errani in both singles and doubles finals!
Omg now I don’t know who I want from the other side. First was cheering Maria… Hope its a great match!


jane Says:

Stosur is the USO title holder; she has been in FO finals and semis before.I am sure she could handle it.


the mind reels Says:

@Achilles: nope — that’s actually what you are saying.


the mind reels Says:

@jane: I hadn’t noticed that Errani is also in the double’s final — that’s pretty impressive.


Kimberly Says:

I’m back .

ok i have been on here defending womens tennis but I had a big feeling being the favortie in this match was way too much for stosur and a serious choke job was coming. And it did.

Ready for the slugfest now.


Kimberly Says:

Petra’s boyfriend is 17? Is that legal?


Achilles Says:

@Kimberly:

If they don’t have sex, it would be OK. Otherwise, she could be charged with statutory rape in the US. I don’t know about other countries.


jane Says:

TMR credit dari for the comment; I didn’t know Errani was in the doubles final either!

I think credit is due to Errani as well; I thought she played well and don’t see it as Stosur choking. Errani grabbed the lead in the third but Stosur fought back and then Errani broke again. But she had to serve amazingly well to hold and ensure she held onto her lead. What could Sam do when she’s serving 93%??

A little breezy right now, sun off and on. Kvitova is already pushing in Maria’s serve games.


Kimberly Says:

Achilles, she is a 22 year old athlete I assume she wants to have sex.


Thomas Says:

well in my country(australia), the minimum age to have sex is 16….anyway, good win for Errani


jane Says:

Sharpie grabs an early break. Petra a tad petulant, frustrated certainly.


the mind reels Says:

@jane: ah, right — duh. Thanks, dari.


Achilles Says:

I just checked: the age of consent in the Czech Republic is 15. Kitova and her boyfriend are fine as long as they do it in the Czech Republic or in Australia.


Achilles Says:

Congratulations to the 2012 French Open Champions: Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. Very well deserved!


jane Says:

Nice lob from Sharapova.


jane Says:

Maria’s playing clean tennis, 12 winners to Petra’s 5 in set one.


jatt Says:

Achilles Says:

“Congratulations to the 2012 French Open Champions: Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova. Very well deserved!”

@Achilles, for Rafa I 100% agree.
For Sharapova, lets hold off till the finals are completed. Somehow, I have a feeling this Errani is going to make a big noise in the Finals


jane Says:

I agree with Chris Evert: Sharapova’s experience is telling so far in this match.


El Flaco Says:

If Sharapova makes it to the final she is going to crush Errani. Maria loves to attack weak serves and Errani’s is one of the worst.


jane Says:

Petra breaks back – some great hitting there from her plus a couple errors from Maria. The wind is levelling things a bit. Sharpie’s ball toss on the serve…


Kimberly Says:

come on sharpie stay tough


Kimberly Says:

luck on the call.


jane Says:

Maria’s first serve percentage is at 78%! The errors have crept up in the second set however.


jane Says:

Oh-oh the lines people better wake up; they are making Petra mad, rightly so.


jane Says:

Maria to serve for number 1 and a chance to complete the career slam. Can she do it???

Sharapova’s dress is great; there’s a thing about her “style” on the FO website. Do you have it Kimberly?


jane Says:

Her serve has been impeccable overall. Wow.


jane Says:

Second serve ace on match point! WOW! Maria! Congrats to her for getting back to number 1 after 4 years, shoulder surgery and so on. I am soooo happy for her!


steve-o Says:

a) Congratulations to the new world #1!

b) Sad for Kvitova, but she’ll have another shot someday, hopefully soon.

b) Errani moves well. She’ll extend the points and make Sharapova hit a lot of balls. If Sharapova’s serve is off, it could be very tough for her.


Kimberly Says:

Jane, yes, wore it play yesterday in support of her. But I couldn’t find my black visor so I wore it with a red visor which goes with the shoes.

Wow, after everything, back to #1. When her fiance insisted she would be number one again a little over a year ago everyone laughed, now she is so consistent and mentally tough going deep in every event.

Now cap it with the Career Grand slam.


jane Says:

True steve-o. Sharapova will have to try to push her back with her deep groundstrokes and get some easy points off her serve like today.


Kimberly Says:

outstanding serving day considering the wind.


jane Says:

Kvitova had a bit of an off day too admittedly. Too many errors and not great serving from her. Plus she seemed a little moody and didn’t move super well. Maria was just so much steadier and sharp from the get go. But definitely Petra is young and will have more chances, just needs to rein it in a little and stay focused.


steve-o Says:

Kimberly, I get the distinct feeling you don’t like Kvitova very much. Is that a correct guess?


Brando Says:

Well done sharapova! New world no.1!


Kimberly Says:

steve-o she is not my fav for certain but i don’t actively dislike her. there are ones i actively dislike some of them for no good reason.


Lou_tennisfan Says:

Wow, what a story it has been Sharapova! From world no. 126 to no. 1 in the world…

Sharapova once said: “When you start from nothing, when you come from nothing, it makes you hungry. I am proud of where I came from and I know what I want. I want to win.” : Lost Hope: http://bit.ly/zUtwXg


steve-o Says:

Wilander heaping praise on Errani’s guile and clever play. I think he sees a bit of himself in her.


jane Says:

BTW Staff, thanks for all of the stats in this article: interesting to read. I am glad two top ten seeds were back in the semis. I think that’s a good sign.


Humble Rafa Says:

According to the 533 readers of this website, 63% think The Arrogant One will win the French Ope.

23% think your Humble Highness will win the French.

LOL.


Lulu Iberica Says:

I’m not going to debate equal prize money, but I do enjoy women’s tennis. Unfortunately it is true that the women’s side lacks the consistency of the men’s, but that has been improving lately.

Congratulations to Errani and Sharapova! We have a true clay courter versus a champion big hitter in the final. I think if Maria’s game is on Errani doesn’t have much of a chance, but if she is double faulting and making UEs we could have another Schiavone-type story.


Humble Rafa Says:

Achilles Says:

I just checked: the age of consent in the Czech Republic is 15. Kitova and her boyfriend are fine as long as they do it in the Czech Republic or in Australia.

Thanks for taking the time to research into this very important matter.


jane Says:

HR, 10% for Nole. Woot!


Achilles Says:

@ Humble Rafa:

That is what happens when people talk about women’s tennis :)


Achilles Says:

Anybody who thinks that anyone other than Nadal can win this French Open must be out of his mind. But they can dream on until Nadal hits the championship point. Dream is all they have.


Kimberly Says:

I am not well due to the Heat’s horrendous performance in the eastern conference final. I feel horrible anxiety about their impedning elimination tonight. On tuesday, I woke up and could not go back to sleep. I am going to go play tennis and then watch this unwatchable game tonight.


Kimberly Says:

Achilles and HR: I find it very surprising such a large powerful woman is satisfied with a 17 year old boy.


skeezer Says:

^lol


Achilles Says:

@Kimberly: Although I can think of many answers to your statement, I refuse to comment on it.


jatt Says:

LOL. Not sure where this thread is going ?..from tennis to sex to satisfaction :)


jane Says:

I would say something about younger men, but I am not going to comment on the matter.

Instead, here’s a write up on Maria’s confident victory:

http://blogs.tennis.com/racquet_reaction/2012/06/french-open-sharapova-d-kvitova.html


Achilles Says:

I don’t like Sharapova but she is the only good women’s tennis player. The others you can lump together in the “flash-in-the-pan” category. The Williams sisters were good. But Venus is already in the “past history” category while Serena is transitioning ungracefully towards it.


Humble Rafa Says:

Kimberly,

Hate to rub it in. When you turn your back on the place you grew up, bad things happen. A certain someone can take his talents anywhere, a traitor is always a traitor.

Basketball is a business. You are free to play wherever you want to play. But treat your old team and team members with class. Take a look at Derek Fisher. No one at LA says a bad word about him, not even Kobe.


RZ Says:

Achilles, I wouldn’t say Sharapova is the only good one, but perhaps the only top player who is also mentally tough (which is at least half the battle, and in some cases the whole battle).


RZ Says:

So do I root for a shrieker or a grunter on Saturday? None of the above. I’ll sleep in instead. But one of these years it’d be nice to look forward to a women’s Grand Slam final where the only sounds from the players are from their racquets hitting the ball.


Kimberly Says:

Root for Shriekapova. My husband says he is going diving early saturday so he won’t have to watch/hear.


Kimberly Says:

Humbe Rafa—Lebron is a decent guy for NBA NFL standards. If you look at what some of the other athletes are like, he’s never been arrested, doesn’t beat up women, have public displays of drunkenness, bring guns to practice. He always talks to the kids after the game, is not a trouble maker on court like Metta World Peace (Artest) or even Rondo.

Sure the Decision was a little egocentric but we here on South Beach appreciate that he elected to take his talents here and with the talent level of the rest of our team think if we had a decent coach we should be contending for the title, not getting eliminated by a bunch of old men who only got this far by the lucky break of Derik Rose injury.

So to sum it up, I just finsihed tennis in the extreme heat and I still feel horrendous nerves. I wish I elect not to watch this but like a train wreck, i feel compelled to see it through.


Kimmi Says:

uuuugh!! petra, i knew it. there was no contest today. congrats to the winners. errani, who would have thought.


Kimmi Says:

congrats jane for leading women bracket. i think you no one will catch you now. good picking


jane Says:

Thanks Kimmi. I think I won the women’s bracket at the AO too. How bizarre. :) I just hope Sharpie can seal the deal with the title. She was in the last Wimbledon and AO finals and lost to Petra and Vika respectively. Perhaps third time is a charm and she gets the career slam which will solidify her number 1 standing.


Kimberly Says:

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^me too, it seems surreal she is back to number one. But she is solid, really really solid results. She came to Europe early to work on her clay game. And caught a big break when Williams exited. Her intended draw was difficult but Kvitova was really the only seed that panned out.


Wog boy Says:

Saša Vujačić is one lucky man, not a bad BB player either.
Good luck Maria, happy for after all what she has to go through.


Wog boy Says:

should say “happy for her”


steve-o Says:

Sharapova has now made three of the last four major finals. It’s just that she lost Wimbledon and AO in straight sets.

I have the feeling this one will go three sets, because of Errani’s variety and movement. But I think Sharapova will eventually come through.

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