Saturday, 19 January 2013

Maria halves the Williams force

Venus Williams is an optimist but also a realist, and would have realised in Maria Sharapova there existed an immense road block to further singles action beyond tonight unless all the other planets aligned with her.  Until this third round match, nothing had been determined specifically about Maria's form other than it was good enough to score 24 successive games.  Venus did not want that streak to continue at her expense.

Alas the number reached 25 when Venus felt the fury of a slashing Sharapova winner to confirm a service break in the opening game.  The screams were those of delight early on.
Venus wasted a chance to return the favour immediately by not converting a break point of her own development and leaving Sharapova happily luxuriating in a 2-0 advantage.

The Sharapova streak rolled out to 27 when Williams could not deny Maria tearing apart her next service game.  Sharapova just destroyed the second serve of Williams when it leaned towards less than meaningful and her pace of shots off the ground and deadly accuracy were not a bit sociable in the opinion of Venus and ominous for other players with masochistic notions of competing with the scarily focused Russian.

At 0-4 Venus held serve, and received rapturous applause for the achievement, coming as it did against a tsunami like force.

Viewing this as a temporary lapse, Maria steadied and blew Williams out of the park to win the next 2 games and the set 6-1.

More of the same in Set 2 as the guys prepared to come out for the second match, knowing this one was experiencing its last throes.  Sharapova quickly cancelled the Williams plan for a comeback by breaking her consistently inconsistent serve to lead 2-0.  The pace of the down the line shots for winners or forced errors was only matched by wonderful cross court ventures off the number two seed's racquet, putting an end to the brief respite of a Venus service hold by smashing the insipid serve again in the sixth game to lead 5-1.
Maria's sole annoyance lay in the fact that 2 games tonight had been lost and a lot of soul searching in the next two days would be required to address that problem.  Venus decided to play with the Sharapova mind a bit by giving the impression of competitiveness in game seven when she sent Maria to all parts of Melbourne in an effort to break serve.  Somewhere between 1 and 50 times the scream translated to "safe!" before Venus sent Maria to one postcode too far and brought the scoreline to 2-5.

Heaven forbid that this could be the start of a revival.  Yes it forbade, and the only revival for Venus would be in church on Sunday as, despite winning her final serve for the evening half of the Williams partnership was dissolved by a rampant Sharapova 6-1 6-3.

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