Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Sharapova v Ivanovic as it happened

French Open Semi-final result:


6-2 6-1


By Piers Newbery

Second set:

Sharapova 1-6 Ivanovic
That’s the way to reach your first Grand Slam final – a love-service game polished off with an ace down the middle. It was certainly a case of form overcoming experience today and Ivanovic will be a match for either Henin or Jankovic in Saturday’s final.

Sharapova 1-5 Ivanovic
The opening point sums up Sharapova’s day as she dumps an attempted drop volley into the net with Ivanovic stranded way behind the baseline. But if there’s one player out there who will not give up on a seemingly lost cause it’s Sharapova and she battles back to avoid the dreaded bagel (love-set). Meanwhile, we get several shots of some bearded types who are presumably big in France.

Sharapova 0-5 Ivanovic
At 30-30, Ivanovic forces Sharapova back with a succession of heavy groundstrokes, approaches the net and thumps away a forehand winner. She enjoys it so much that she repeats the trick on the next point and it’s nearly done and dusted now.

Sharapova 0-4 Ivanovic
Sharapova tries to keep her hopes alive in a hard-fought game but after being taken to three deuces, a double-fault and a forehand error give up another break. At one point an American voice from the crowd shouts out, “Just keep the ball on the court!” Sharapova immediately puts a backhand four feet long.

Sharapova 0-3 Ivanovic
Bearing in mind the current geo-political situation and the wranglings at the G8 I will steer clear of sentences using the words ‘Russian, missiles and targeting’ and simply say that Sharapova’s usually rock-solid groundstrokes are out of synch today. She’s struggling to keep the ball in play and Ivanovic holds with ease.

Sharapova 0-2 Ivanovic
This is really good stuff now from Ivanovic who is winning the battle from the baseline comprehensively. At one point Sharapova tries to change things with a sortie to the net, only to see the ball walloped straight past her. Another break follows and the Serb is on course for the final.

Sharapova 0-1 Ivanovic
No sign of nerves from Ivanovic as she holds serve to love and Maria’s dad Yuri Sharapova looks distinctly unhappy in the stands. Ilie Nastase, meanwhile, looks quite happy chatting away to two pretty ladies. The old devil.

First set:

“It’s confident stuff from Ivanovic and at the moment she looks on the way to her first Grand Slam final.”
Five Live’s Jonathan Overend

Sharapova 2-6 Ivanovic
It’s a false dawn for Sharapova as Ivanovic breaks yet again – this time to 15 – and sprints back to the chair.

Sharapova 2-5 Ivanovic
It’s all going smoothly for Ivanovic until she double-faults at 30-30 and then blazes a forehand into the tramlines. It can only be nerves after such an accomplished start and Sharapova certainly looks buoyed by the break.

Sharapova 1-5 Ivanovic
Things are warming up a bit now – both women hit the ball hard and flat from the back of the court and we should be in for some great rallies. Ivanovic has the upper hand at the moment and gets to break point with a rasping forehand before Sharapova double-faults.

Sharapova 1-4 Ivanovic
Ivanovic does well to come through a tight service game, firing down two service winners from 30-30 and giving it some “C’mon!” Away from the match there’s been a disappointing lack of shots of random stars in the crowd so far but will keep you informed if Antonio Banderas turns up again. I would have thought Banderas would have been up for a bit of Sharapova v Ivanovic.

Sharapova 1-3 Ivanovic
You can be certain that Sharapova will battle all the way whenever she steps on court and she gets off the mark with two blistering backhands down the line. Still not exactly fluent stuff from the Russian but Ivanovic has been warned.

Sharapova 0-3 Ivanovic
So despite what you might just have read, Ivanovic is a break up after a comfortable hold and looks in control. Sharapova may not be moving “like a cow on ice” as she said the other day but she’s all arms and legs at the moment.

Sharapova 0-2 Ivanovic
Sharapova has a chance to level but double-faults at 40-30 and two points later Ivanovic takes advantage with a superb running forehand down the line, followed by a Henmanesque fist pump.

Sharapova 0-1 Ivanovic
Ivanovic opens with a thumping ace and gets Sharapova on the move early on – not the Russian’s favourite style of play and it’s a straightforward hold for the Serb.

1302 BST: The players enter the Philippe Chatrier Court, which is barely a third full – not bad going bearing in mind it’s lunchtime in Paris.

1300 BST: So here we go for the first of the women’s semis in Paris and it’s a hard one to call. Sharapova is the second seed and has won two Grand Slam titles but is far from comfortable on clay and has a dodgy shoulder. Ivanovic is playing in her first Grand Slam semi but is a woman in form, having won the recent German Open.


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