… coz the Man-in-Pink is coming his way, as Hewitt defeated Golubev 64 63 61 to set up with a meeting with Rafael Nadal.
Who thinks it’s going to be close? *silence*
I’m not asking for much. I’m not even asking for a set, or a tiebreak. Just don’t get bagelled, okay Rusty?
In other news – Maria Sharapova, she, friggin, did it! When Nadia sent that forehand long on match point, and Maria looked up at the sky with one of the most heartfelt expressions I’ve ever seen on her face – I was as proud as her mama.
I felt sure Sharapova was going to lose this match. I felt sure of it before the match, during the match and it wasn’t until we got into the latter stages of the third set that it struck me that Maria was going to pull through.
Don’t be fooled by that fancy dress and pretty hair, Maria Sharapova is the Rocky Balboa of women’s tennis. It matters not that she’s not comfortable out there on clay, or that she’s been out of play for the past nine months. This is a girl who knows how to win, one way or another. Those groundstrokes, rusty as they may be, are still dynamite. Way to go Maria.
Having said all of that, for a few moments in the third set when Nadia was holding serve at love, I was afraid that she wasn’t going to choke. But the brainfart came as expected, and I’m sorry to say that I was happy about it all for Maria’s sake.
Match point: I dare you to watch and not be touched by her reaction.
On a side note, it’s quite obvious that Maria Sharapova wasn’t the most endearing character on the women’s tour pre-injury, but I believe that could be about to change. Not only has this injury highlighted her determination and passion for the game, it’s provided us all with a narrative (and you know how the tennisworld loves a narrative, see Roger Federer and GOAThood Part 1 and 2). The injury acted as a rite of passage that transformed Maria from just a pretty girl in a pretty dress to a pretty girl in a pretty dress chasing a comeback dream.
Maria on her comeback dream:
“At the beginning of the year it actually motivated me more than anything. I’d be in my hotel room in Phoenix and it would be like 11:00 p.m. and I’d watch a match and I’d be so motivated from the girls playing I’d go to the gym,” she said. “It would be dark outside and I’d ask them to open the gym so I could work out.”
One more thing to add to the endearing factor, where’s Yuri Sharapov? Seems like Maria is daddy’s girl no more. Yuri has ceded coaching duties to Michael Joyce to enjoy … hiking and skiing? Clickey to read more.
And mentioning epic clutch sets, Marat Safin – my heart broke for you the same time it melted for Josselin Ouanna. See those shiny things there? Tiny pieces of my broken heart.