Sharapova Meets Ivanovic For The Stuttgart Title While Boyfriend Dimitrov Battles in Bucharest Final
by Staff | April 26th, 2014, 6:56 pm

The top couple in tennis, Maria Sharapova and love interest Grigor Dimitrov will be bidding for separate clay titles on Sunday.

The former No. 1 Sharapova faces Serbian Ana Ivanovic in the Stuttgart title match. Now 27, Sharapova has become more adept in her later years on the clay, and today she blew out Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2 in a rematch of their 2012 French Open final.

“The further you go in the tournament, the harder it gets, and I really wanted to step up today and produce a good performance,” said Sharapova. “The first tournament on clay is always tough – it’s important to improve with each match and I think I’ve done that this week.”

Sharapova is now 12-0 lifetime at the event having won the title there the last three years.

Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champ, reached the title match after out-dueling countrywoman and rival Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 7-5.

“It’s definitely going to be a very tough match, I don’t think she’s ever lost a match here,” Ivanovic said. “She loves this tournament, and hopefully it will be a great match like we had here last year.”

Sharapova leads Ivanovic in their head-to-head series, 7-2, and has has won their last six meetings in a row – and the last three of their meetings have all come on clay including a 3-setter a year ago.

In Bucharest, Sharapova’s boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov seeks third career title against defending champion Lukas Rosol. In the semis, Dimitrov earned his final spot after oft-injured Gael Monfils hurt his right ankle down 5-1 in the first set. Rosol advanced with a 3-set win over Robin Haase.

“It is disappointing for Gael,” said Dimitrov. “As much as I am happy, it is an undeserved win and unfortunately it had to end that way. I saw what happened. I hope he will be okay for the coming weeks.

“I am confident, having beaten some good players. I have to be prepared as I know what to expect from him (Rosol). It will be a good feeling walking out onto centre court tomorrow.”

Said Rosol, “We have never played each other. I think he is the favorite, but I have nothing to lose. I like playing on this court… and I will fight to the end.”

And in the upset-ravaged Barcelona, Kei Nishikori takes on Santiago Giraldo in that final. Nishikori knocked out Ernests Gulbis 6-2, 6-4. Then Giraldo ended the run of Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-5, 6-3. A day earlier it was Almagro stunning Rafael Nadal.

“I was very happy to see lots of Japanese people congratulating me after the match,” said Nishikori. “I love coming to Spain to play. There have not been any easy matches. I am playing great and I am particularly pleased with my serve and forehand.”

Giraldo has never won an ATP title while Nishokori is seeking a fifth and second of the year, first career on clay.

In the other WTA stop this weekend, the Marrakech final is set between Romina Oprandi and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor.

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26 Comments for Sharapova Meets Ivanovic For The Stuttgart Title While Boyfriend Dimitrov Battles in Bucharest Final

James Says:

It would be great to see both Dimitrov and Nishikori win their first clay titles. They’ve both improved and really stepped it up this year.
I didn’t see any of Grigor’s matches but Nishikori was very impressive. I always thought his weakness (apart from fitness/health) was his serve. His serve has improved. He’s been impressive since hiring Michael Chang.
Good luck to both Kei and Grigor. And Maria and Ana too.

Bad Knee Rules Says:

Nishikori was really impressive against Cilic and Gulbis. He made them look very ordinary and he should win this one. Pitty he’s not a little taller.

Gordon Says:

The curse of knocking off Nadal before the final continues. Just like Ferrer last week, the king beater looked rather ordinary in the follow up match.

contador Says:

YAY KEI! New king of clay!

okay, maybe not. But Barcelona is a good start!

YAY Grigor!

Margot Says:

Well played Dimi, well played Kei.
Can’t help feeling though, if Dimi had played Kei we would’ve had a better afternoon’s tennis.
Hope these 2 hit top 10 soon. We need new faces there. However, not at Andy’s expense obviously lol!

contador Says:

How did Almagro beat Nadal and lose to Santiago?

The most exciting part of the match was the last game – Kei serving for match when there was a question that Kei would choke.

Grigor vs Kei = hot ticket.

Ana lost again to Maria :(

Giles Says:

Poor Kei. Trophy too big for him to handle. Lol

contador Says:

Bad Knee Rules – Kei Nishikori will be top 10. There it is my latest bold@ss prediction. Kei is also genius tactically, imo. Love watching him construct points.

His problem, like so many others, is too much time spent nursing injuries.

Margot Says:

Dimi too I’m sure.
No question about either, I’d say. Only question is, how long will it take them?

contador Says:

Well, Margot that is a good question.

It is like waiting for the second coming, this.

James Says:

Well done Dimitrov! Well done Nishikori!
Kei can get in top 10 after Madrid if he continues to perform well.

James Says:

Kei won 26 of 47 Return games in the tournament. And he faced some big servers in Cilic and Gulbis. Credit to RBA for taking a set off Nishikori.

Margot Says:

The comms were basically calling Kei a wimp and saying he can’t play well two tournaments running.
Has got a bit of a rest b4 Madrid, so hope he can.

contador Says:

I would not bet on the comms being right. Certainly, Kei is no wimp.

Watching Dimitrov do those deep knee squat returns….and many of Dolgo’s high energy moves on court make me think they add this to their fitness routines. Used to do this meself to train for ski racing –

Okiegal Says:

Consistency folks, consistency……when I see this from from the young guns……I will say there might be chance for them. What I see now…….not! I don’t think there is any way the up and comers we have today can ever match up to what we’ve been privileged to watch for the last 8 or 9 years. When the top 5 or 6 retire or get too old to be a contender, there will be a lull in the sport like no other……….just saying…..I probably will also retire! Lol

contador Says:

It is all a matter of opinion, Okiegal.

The majority of fans posting on the internet agree with you. Then, there is the minority? or the silent types that really have had enough of Fedal tennis.

No lull in my tennis when they retire. I reached my limit, as in too much of that good thing called Fedal some years ago.

Agree with Margot about Andy staying at the top. More time there for Nole, too. Make way for Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem, Nic Kyrigos and Thanasi Kokkinakis :D

Hippy Chic Says:

Rafa is almost 28 and thats traditionally the time in a players career that they start to reach a steady decline time will tell if that is whats happening to him now or if hes merely in a mini slump?,Roger has been the exception to the rule,so one would think that if all follows that usual pattern then Nole and Andy who are almost both 27 the same thing would/could happen to both of them next year they could be different although this is unusual?

Hippy Chic Says:

Dont get me wrong Andy and Nole both had solid years last year making multiple GS finals,but Andys year was derailed through injury straight after winning Wimbledon,and he lost early at the USO missing a chance to defend the title and skipped RG,Nole lost a number of close matches last season and a close one to Stan at the AO earlier this year,Nole has still had a solid start to this year,however its the GS a player really wants to win,and theres still a question mark about Andys form,but it will be interesting to see how the top 4 perform from now till the end of the year,are we seeing the end of an era of the top 4 that have been so consistent for a decade?

Hippy Chic Says:

I also believe that Novak is already up there with Roger and Rafa as an all time great,6 GS has put him alongside his coach Becker,Guga,Villas who all ended their careers with that total yet Noles still playing,so im sure he will add more,so hes not exactly had/having a dissapointing career although,please dont get me wrong when i say this as im not talking in the past tence,what i would like is for Andy to win a few more GS so he would also get into the conversation of all time greatness with Fedalovic?….

Hippy Chic Says:

Congrats to the all title winners especially Kie whos turning into one of my new favorite players,i didnt see the matches from the last couple of days,but as talenred as he is Gulbis annoys me so i enjoyed him getting his backside kicked,agree with Margot in that he fancies himself too much,and seems to believe hes doing the world a favour because he chose to play tennis pftt….

Okiegal Says:


Yes, it is a matter of opinion. For me personally, I’m just not sure if I will ever enjoy the change I see coming, with what I’ve been seeing for last decade. The Fedal hoopla is the reason I started watching tennis again. I really don’t want to sound like a spoil sport, but I can’t help how I feel. Not ready for a change, but if I see brilliant tennis for another ten years, I will be watching too!

Who in the world is Zverev, Thiem, Kyrigos and Kokkinakis? I haven’t heard of any of Thiem (them)!!
Just teasing, Thiem, I have heard of. However, my favorite coming up is Grigor!

Thanks for the feedback, enjoyed the comments! Says:

Does this make Kei the Lineal Clay GOAT?

contador Says:

These guys were born 1993-1997

Alexander Zverev is a world #1 junior. 17 year old German. He has a wild card into an ATP 250 Munich Open this week. He’s tall – we shall see. His brother Mischa Zverev plays a lot of challengers.

Kyrigos is a tall Greek-Australian, age 19. Won AO juniors 2 years ago. His body is still under construction, you might say. Getting the physique right is challenging since Nadal made it more physical. (For instance, Nishikori is very talented but must make up for his 5’10” height somehow. Kei is mentally strong and maybe is finally getting physically strong and sturdy enough to top ten; David Ferrer 5’9″ has managed to save his best tennis for later in his career). I think tennis players in the ATP are simply taking a bit longer to develop the power, speed, strength, stamina, and find the right injury management/prevention.

Kokkinakis is also a tall Greek-Australian, age 18. He is sort of Kryigos side-kick.

Thiem – you know him

Coric, Borna, tall 17 year old, Croatian. Might be a big hitter.

Grigor is now old news at age 22. ; )

just kidding about Grigor…

Stick around and enjoy tennis for at least another decade, hey Okigal? You never know who shows up.

Okiegal Says:


Thanks for the report on who’s who! I really didn’t know who these players were……..honest to gosh “young” guns! I guess we will see what future holds for tennis. I quit watching once then got interested again. I’m still not looking for a change just yet…..but I think it’s inevitable. Appreciate your comments, as always.

Bad Knee Rules Says:

@contador, Alexander Sascha Zverev certainly has a tennis pedigree. Hopefully he can stay injury free. Mischa wasn’t as lucky, so you might be right about his bright future. Not too sure about the other two Aussie boys – only time will tell, so stick around.
Here’s a nice, two years old, ATP video about the Zverev brothers and their parents and coaches:

Colin Says:

Contador and Okiegal, I used to visit an Australian sports forum which seems to have fizzled out. I have to say that there never seemed to be much interest in tennis, and of course the situation hasn’t been helped by the saga (or non-saga) of Bernard Tomic.

Australia seems to be a magnet for tennis players with names ending in “ic” and with loony fathers. Remember the once promising Jelena Docic, who rose as high as WTA No 4?

As I say, to judge by that forum, Aussies (most of the posters were male) seem uninterested in tennis now Hewitt is near the end of his career. This being the case, I’m not optimistic about the prospects of young players in Oz.

Talking of young players, it was announced about a week ago that Greg Rusedski is going to coach Kyle Edmunds, a teenage British lad who has some promise.

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