On Wednesday Maria Sharapova announced her immediate retirement from tennis at the age of 32. Her decision comes following recent struggles with injuries that has sidelined her from the tour for weeks. Pulling the curtain on a career that has lasted almost 18 years.
The best way to look at Sharapova’s career is to look at the numbers behind it. Here are 15 things you need to know about the former world No.1 and her legacy in the sport.
1 – her sole WTA Finals title took place back in 2004. She qualified and played at the season-ending event eight times throughout her career and was also runner-up in 2007 and 2012.
3 – number of WTA doubles titles she won between 2003-2004. She claimed two trophies with Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn and one with Maria Kirilenko.
5 – number of grand slam titles won (Wimbledon 2004, US Open 2006, Australian Open 2008, French Open 2012 and 2014).
6 – Sharapova is one of six women in the Open Era to have won a career slam. Where a player wins ever major event at least once in their careers. The others are Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.
10 – the number of seasons where she finished the year inside the top 10 (2004-08 and 2011-15).
15 – Sharapova was banned from the sport for a total of 15 months due to a failed doping test after testing positive for Meldonium. She was originally issued with a 24-month penalty before an appeal reduced that sentence.
20 – the number of times she lost to Serena on the tour. Overall, they played each other 22 times and Sharapova did at one stage lead their head-to-head 2-1.
21 – weeks spent at world No.1. She has held the top position for a longer period than rivals such as Venus Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Kim Clijsters and Jennifer Capriati.
36 – number of WTA titles won. Her first triumph was at the 2003 Japan Open and her last was at the 2017 Tianjin Open in China.
98 – number of wins over top 10 opposition. Out of that figure, she has defeated a world No.1 player seven times.
645 – number of singles matches won during her career on the WTA Tour.
2002 – the year she made her WTA debut at the age of 14 in Indian Wells. She defeated world No.302 Brie Rippner in her opening match before falling to Monica Seles.
2020 – At the 2020 Australian Open, Sharapova played her final competitive match after losing in the first round to Donna Vekic.
$38.8 million – Career prize money won. As of this week, only two players have earned more than the 32-year-old is the history of Women’s tennis. Venus Williams’ tally stands at $41.8M and sister Serena is way ahead on $92.7M.
$325 million – What Forbes Magazine estimated to be Sharapova’s total earnings throughout her career. The figure also includes sponsorships and appearance fees. On the WTA Tour only Serena has made more with her earnings believed to be in the region of $350M.
Anett Kontaveit fends off two match points to win a hard–fought match against Ekaterina Alexandrova
This year’s Palermo finalist Anett Kontaveit came back from a double break down in the third set and faced two match points in the decisive third set to battle past Ekaterina Alexandrova 4-6 6-2 7-6 (8-6) in the first round at J&T Banka Ostrava Open.
Alexandrova has won 33 of her past 39 indoor matches in the last two seasons since October 2018. The Russian player was leading 5-2 in the third set and 6-4 in the tie-break and served for the match three times.
Alexandrova earned the first break point of the match in the third game with her backhand and converted it as Kontaveit sent her forehand into the net. Alexandrova came to within two points of taking a double break for 4-1, but Kontaveit hit two forehands to hold her service game. Kontaveit broke back at love in the sixth game and held serve to take a 4-3 lead. Alexandrova broke again in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and converted her second set point in the 10th game with a forehand wiiner.
In the first game of the second set Alexandrova came close to converting her fourth break point with a crosscourt forehand, but a Hawkeye overrule that it had barely missed clipping the line. Kontaveit held her serve with two service winners. The 24-year-old Estonian player broke serve with a forehand winner to open up a 2-0 lead. Alexandova broke straight back in the third game. Kontaveit broke twice in the fourth and eighth games to seal the second set 6-2 with a lob.
Alexandrova started the third set with an early break at deuce with a forehand winner down the line. The Russian player won nine consecutive points to get a double break for 4-1 with two consecutive forehand winners. At 5-2 Alexandrova wasted her first chance to serve out the win after a double fault and dropped her serve. Kontaveit pulled her second break back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 with a forehand. Alexandrova broke again with her forehand in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead. Kontaveit broke back with a backhand return winner forcing the second set to the tie-break. Kontaveit saved two match points after Alexandrova netted her forehand on the first chance and Kontaveit hit a backhand winner on the second. Kontaveit converted her first match point with a forehand volley to set up a second round match against either Magda Linette or a qualifier.
“I was so close to being out, so I just tried to stay in the match. I never really gave up. I tried to be a little more aggressive, when I was down. I felt maybe I had taken a little bit off my shots”, said Kontaveit.
Stefanos Tsitsipas Becomes First Greek To Reach Roland Garros Quarter-Finals
Stefanos Tsitsipas made more history after beating Grigor Dimitrov at Roland Garros.
Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek male or female tennis player to reach the Quarter-Finals at Roland Garros with a 6-3 7-6(9) 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov.
Another historic milestone beckoned for Tsitsipas as he took down a spirited Dimitrov in straight sets.
It was Tsitsipas who made the quickest start as he grinded out the unforced errors from Dimitrov’s racket.
A 3-0 lead was the ideal start as his court coverage mixed with his power from the back of the court caused Dimitrov all sorts of problems.
The duo had never played before and the Bulgarian was finding it tough to battle past Tsitsipas’ defence in heavy conditions.
A lot of angles were created by both players as they looked to construct points well rather than power past their opponents.
Dimitrov was starting to figure out this solution but Tsitsipas remained firm and took the opening set 6-3, by the one break of serve.
A much more competitive second set developed as the variation between attack and defence was on show.
Dimitrov started to play smarter tennis by using the backhand slice to try and open up the court and make more consistent power off the forehand side.
This lead to more belief in Dimitrov that he could outsmart and outhit Tsitsipas in what was turning into a fascinating encounter.
A couple of half-chances came and went for Dimitrov as some clutch play from especially on the backhand saw him remain solid on serve.
A thrilling second set tiebreak would decide the second set as the Bulgarian looked to take his momentum in the tiebreak.
After losing the first three points, Dimitrov played some bold and stunning shots when up against it but was too cautious when it really mattered.
Failing to convert two set points, a forehand unforced error into the net sealed Dimitrov’s fate as he lost the second set tiebreak 10-9.
From then on it was all about Tsitsipas as he raised his level and Dimitrov’s belief, momentum and level significantly dropped.
Creating a break point on every return game, a break in the second and eighth game sealed victory in 2 and a half hours.
A stunning match from Tsitsipas, who overcame a brilliant second set from Dimitrov, to win in straight sets and become the first Greek man or Woman to reach the last eight in Paris.
Next for Tsitsipas will be a rematch from the Hamburg final as he takes on Andrey Rublev.
The Russian came back from a break down in sets two and three to beat Marton Fucsovics 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4 7-6(3) in a three hour and 58 minute battle.
When Tsitsipas and Rublev meet on Wednesday, Tsitsipas will hope to end the world number 12’s nine match winning streak.
Rublev’s last loss came against Hubert Hurkacz in Rome.
Dominic Thiem Hails Wildcard Gaston Following French Open Thriller
The second seed narrowly avoided a shock defeat to the world No.239 in Paris on Sunday.
US Open champion Dominic Thiem survived a roller-coaster showdown against wildcard Hugo Gaston to seal a place in the quarter-finals of the French Open for a fifth consecutive year.
The second seed overcame a warrior-like fightback from the world No.239 to prevail 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, after more than three hours of pulsating action. Gaston, whose best tournament result prior to Roland Garros was reaching the semi-finals of a Challenger event, pushed the Austrian to his limit with repetitive use of the drop shot. Despite the disparity in the rankings between the two, Thiem’s winners tally was overshadowed by Gaston who hit 59 to 30.
“I think it was an amazing match from both of us,” Thiem said afterwards. “Such good fighting qualities from him and I haven’t seen for a very long time a player with such a big touch with his hands.’
“His drop shots are from another planet. I was sprinting like 400 times to the net, all the credit to him. If he continues like this he is going to be a huge player.”
Initially it looked as if the match would be a one-sided Thiem victory as he eased to a two-set lead. However Roland Garros debutant Gaston refused to go away in what was an epic comeback that electrified the crowd on the premier court in Paris. In the end it would be a single break in the eigth game of the decider that would separate the two. A failed Gaston drop shot granted Thiem the break to move ahead 5-3 and serve the match out. A task he managed to achieve with the help of a body serve that his opponent returned into the net on match point.
“I think I missed one break point at two sets to love up and four-all. It was an easy forehand mistake and from that point it changed a little bit,” Thiem reflected. “I was losing a bit of energy and Hugo was playing amazing with his drop shots. I couldn’t find a right answer to that.’
“Then in the fifth set I found a new energy and was playing good again. It was a great fight until the end. I am very lucky I made it through today.”
Overall Thiem won just 11 points more than the Frenchman (158-147) and crucially saved ten out of the 13 break points he faced. It is the tenth time he has won a five-set match in his career and second within as many months. At the US Open he came back from two sets down to defeat Alexander Zverev in the US Open final.
Thiem’s reward is a showdown with Diego Schwzrtzman who enjoyed a much smoother entry into the quarter-finals. The Argentine dismissed Lorenzo Sonego 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s all about recovery now. I’ve had a tough past few weeks and today was three-and-a-half hours with a lot of sprinting and running,” the 27-year-old stated.
“Against Diego there are going to be some long rallies. I think he likes these conditions, a bit slower and not such a high bounce. I am looking forward to the match but it is going t be difficult.”
Thiem leads Schwzrtzman 6-2 in their head-to-head.
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(VIDEO) Dominic Thiem Finally Wins A Grand Slam
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