Maria Sharapova the Queen of Clay - UBITENNIS
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Maria Sharapova the Queen of Clay



TENNIS – Maria Sharapova crowned a fabulous week-end last Sunday when she scored a hat-trick of consecutive wins on Indoor at the Porsche Indoor Grand Prix in Stuttgart in the same day as her boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov won the third ATP title of his career in Bucharest. Sharapova celebrated the first win of the season and her third win in the Baden Wittenberg city with her new Porsche car after beating Ana Ivanovic in three sets. Sharapova has developed into the most successful player on clay, a surface over which she once felt uncomfortable. She even described her movement on clay as reminiscent of a “cow on ice”. After conquering Stuttgart she is chasing the second Stuttgart-Rome-Paris hat-trick of her career Diego Sampaolo

With her third win in Stuttgart Sharapova has confirmed her ability to play great matches on the clay surface where she has collected 17 career titles. She has become the active player with the best clay-court winning percentage on tour. Masha has won six of her last eight tournaments on clay including an impressive hat-trick of titles in 2012 in Stuttgart, Rome and the Roland Garros.

Her recent dominance on clay comes as a surprise especially considering that she did not win a single tournament on this surface until 2008 when she celebrated her first title on green clay in Amelia Island. She even described her own movement on clay as reminiscent of a cow on ice.

However that title was followed by a tough period marked marked by a serious shoulder injury which sidelined her from August 2008 until March 2009. Sharapova struggled to return to her old form for two years until 2011 when she reached the semifinal at the Roland Garros. In that tournament the Siberian star survived a big scare in the second round against Caroline Garcia when she rallied from a 3-6 1-4 deficit winning 11 games in a row. She then lost to eventual winner Li Na but she enjoyed a great 12-2 clay record in 2011. This was just the beginning of a fantastic period crowned by her first Roland Garros triumph over Sara Errani in June 2012. With her win in the French capital Sharapova completed the Career Grand Slam after her previous wins at Wimbledon in 2004, at the US Open in 2006 and at the Australian Open in 2008.

I have had very different phases in my career. I have had one when I was young and winning Grand Slam tournaments at 17 years old. Then I had another period, going through a tough injury and climbing myself back up to the top, and then winning another Grand Slam. This year, after another injury with the shoulder, I am finding myself again in a bit of a comeback”, said Sharapova.

The keys of her most recent success on clay are her fighting spirit and her ability to recover from the verge of defeat as she showed in the Stuttgart final on Sunday afternoon when she rallied from a 3-6 1-3 deficit against Ana Ivanovic. The Serbian former World Number 1 and 2008 Roland Garros champion had a point for 4-1 in the second set before Sharapova battled back to win the match in three sets with 3-6 6-4 6-1 to clinch her 30th career title. During last week Sharapova faced a serious challenge when she managed to win a dramatic first round match against Lucie Safarova in which she was forced to three tie-breaks.

For the first half of the final match aganst Ivanovic I thought it might not be my day today but somehow I managed to turn around the match. I had quite a slow start to the year but I have been working with my team to get in the position to win titles again and I am happy to be able to do it in Stuttgart. I feel like I am a small part of the Porsche family. It’s been an incredible few years at this tournament”, said Sharapova after the final in Stuttgart.

Moments like this, winning in Stuttgart, are very special because that’s what you work so hard for, trying to win from the first point to the last one of a tournament. I am really proud I did that here. I just want to build on what I have started here. It’s still a long way to go into the French Open. I have a couple of tournaments. I have a couple of tournaments, but I hope to play better with each match that goes by from here on”, said Sharapova

Another factor which has contributed to her success on clay is her mental strength, especially during the long rallies and long matches.

After a relative slow start to her 2014 campaign, the third Stuttgart triumph of her career could turn around Sharapova’s season ahead of big clay tournaments on clay like the Mutua Open in Madrid, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and the Roland Garros in Paris.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing



Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities



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A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.



(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.


Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.


The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.


No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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