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

Australian Open, Melbourne

Women’s final result:


7-5 6-3

By Piers Newbery

Second set:

0435: That’s your lot, join me tomorrow at 0830 GMT for coverage of the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I’m off for a cuppa.

0430: We are treated to shots of fans watching in Sydney and a very cold looking Shanghai before Sharapova takes to the podium and lifts the trophy.

“This is just incredible,” she says. “If someone had told me in the middle of last year I’d be standing here with the big one, I’d have said ‘forget it.’ Last year was pretty difficult for me and my coach, who lost his mother, and I really want to dedicate this to her.”

0428: An emotional Ivanovic thanks everyone she can think of when receiving the runners-up prize before the tears get to her. Don’t worry, she’s laughing and crying at the same time. Poor love.

0417: “Sharapova came out here and got the job done and throughout the tournament played excellently. She got rid of Davenport, Henin, Jankoivc and Ivanovic. Ana didn’t play particularly well and I just think she needs a little more time.”
BBC Sport’s Sam Smith

0417: “Sharapova has deserved this – she didn’t drop a set throughout and it’s thoroughly merited.”
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live

Sharapova 6-3 Ivanovic
Ivanovic makes a terrible start with a tame double fault and a poor forehand into the net. Sharapova is bouncing around, desperate for the next point, and the Russian crunches a fabulous forehand winner for 0-40 and three championship points. She goes long on the first and wide with a forehand slice on the second, but Ivanovic puts a forehand wide on the third and it’s game over. Sharapova falls to her knees and looks tearful as she gets up and salutes the crowd.

Sharapova 5-3 Ivanovic
Sharapova looks to be sprinting to the finish line now and is getting stronger and stronger from the baseline. Ivanovic hits one great backhand return but she’s already 40-0 down and it’s not enough. An enormous crash disturbs Sharapova at one point, possibly from a loudspeaker. Sounds like someone has knocked over the tea urn in the 5 Live commentary box. Wouldn’t surprise me.

Sharapova 4-3 Ivanovic
After a bit of a lull the match comes alive again when Sharapova fires a superb forehand winner down the line for 0-30. Ivanovic then comes up with a great second serve before Sharapova goes long with a return for 30-30. And then….. yikes! An Ivanovic double fault and a forehand error and Sharapova breaks. That could be it.

Sharapova 3-3 Ivanovic
Ivanovic attempts to attacks a Sharapova second serve on the first point, only to see the ball come fizzing back past her for a winner. Sharapova then crunches away a mid-court forehand and sees out the game easily enough. Scrappy stuff at the moment but Sharapova has the edge.

Sharapova 2-3 Ivanovic
That’s a great service game from Ivanovic, round off with an ace.

Sharapova 2-2 Ivanovic
Sharapova is looking very strong again and, despite one spectacular whipped forehand winner from Ivanvovic, it’s a straightforward hold.

Sharapova 1-2 Ivanovic
That’s more like it from Ivanvovic, who comes up with a couple of winners as she holds easily. Sharapova puts an iced towel around her shoulders at the changeover while Ivanovic puts on a sort of ice jacket. Cool.

Sharapova 1-1 Ivanovic
In contrast to the previous 10-minute service game from Ivanovic – who will be world number two after this tournament whatever the result – Sharapova holds to love.

0343: “Sharapova to win this one. She has much more experience at this level and her returns of serve are that much more threatening.”
From Alex via text

Sharapova 0-1 Ivanovic
Just as her forehand looks on the point of collapse, Ivanovic gets a couple of tasty short balls and despatches them with ease for 40-30. The yips return, though, and another forehand error takes things to deuce. Sharapova dominates the next point with some arrowing backhands but Ivanovic saves the break point with a big serve. On the second deuce Sharapova comes up with a magnificent backhand return on the stretch. Another break point and the rally of the match – Sharapova has a short forehand but Ivanvovic reaches it and throws up a lob that lands on the baseline and she hangs on. Big game.

First set:

0333: “Thoroughly deserved for Sharapova. She had a tricky moment but came through like champions do.”
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live

Sharapova 7-5 Ivanovic
Well, it wasn’t exactly straightforward but Sharapova finally takes the set. Ivanovic tries something different and heads to the net but without success and Sharapova holds to love. Yuri looks chuffed.

Sharapova 6-5 Ivanovic
Now it is Ivanovic who couldn’t hit a barn door…. More errors from the Serb see Sharapova get two break points and a wayward Ivanovic backhand gives the Russian the game.

Sharapova 5-5 Ivanovic
Ivanovic is screaming and pumping her fist after she smacks a belting forehand and a wrong-footing backhand to get within sight of the set, but a poor drop shot and missed backhands and forehands let Sharapova off the hook.

0320: “Sharapova lost a bit of service rhythm and you can see Ivanovic has been building up the intensity. It will be interesting to see if Sharapova can get her service rhythm going again.”
BBC Sport’s Sam Smith

Sharapova 4-5 Ivanovic
Ivanovic takes control with a hold to 15 after some woeful returning from Sharapova, who has gone completely off the boil.

Sharapova 4-4 Ivanovic
“Come on!” screams Sharapova as she whacks away a forehand volley to level at 30-30, but a double fault follows to give Ivanovic a break-back point. A lengthy rally ensues and it is Ivanovic who falters, shrieking as she falls backwards on a backhand. The sinister looking Yuri Sharapov urges on his daughter from the stands. Sharapova duly double faults twice to give up the break, after a few cold stares at her opponent who is dancing around when receiving.

Sharapova 4-3 Ivanovic
The first Hawkeye moment of the day. Ivanovic smacks a backhand down the line, it’s called out, the umpire overrules, Sharapova challenges – and it was out after all. Oh, the shame for the umpire. Ivanovic does well to come through from 30-30.

Sharapova 4-2 Ivanovic
This is great stuff from Sharapova. She opens with a winnning drive volley – does anyone hit that shot better? – and then throws in a backhand down the line on her way to a third straight love service game.

Sharapova 3-2 Ivanovic
A wild forehand from Ivanovic at 15-15 gives Sharapova another glimpse of a break, and the Serbian then double-faults to slip to 15-40. Sharapova absolutely pounds away from the baseline and Ivanovic eventually cracks.

Sharapova 2-2 Ivanovic
After a slightly low-key start, Sharapova unloads on a couple of thumping winners – one off the backhand and one forehand. Another love game. It’s not getting any cooler out there and the spectators are fanning themselves for dear life. Shepherd’s Bush remains bracing.

Sharapova 1-2 Ivanovic
There are danger signals for Ivanovic when she plays a wayward drop shot and slips 0-30 behind but Sharapova makes a couple of unforced errors, and Ivanovic then fires her first spectacular winner of the day. An excellent second serve gives her the game and the Serbian celebrates a great hold.

Sharapova 1-1 Ivanovic
Sharapova mvoes to the net on the second point and Ivanovic nets with an attempted pass. She follows it up with a beautiful forehand winner down the line and holds to love.

Sharapova 0-1 Ivanovic
A confident start sees Ivanovic race to 40-0 with the help of a first ace and she takes the game to 15. That should settle any nerves.

0241 GMT: “It’s the hottest day of the championships so far and the referee does have the option to bring the roof over if necessary.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

0237 GMT: “Sharapova is in her ivory dress – is it ivory? I’m not sure. And Ana is in her pale blue outfit.”
5 live’s tennis and fashion correspondent Jonathan Overend

0235 GMT: “Come on maria! I an so nervous right now though.”
From anon via text

0233 GMT: “It’s very, very hot out there.”
5 live’s Jonathan Overend

0232 GMT: The players have to go through the teeth-grinding pre-match interview on their way onto court. Ivanovic expects “a good match”. Sharapova either wasn’t up for it or we missed her.

0230 GMT: Just to remind everyone, you can follow this match on BBC One, Radio 5 Live, via live streaming on this website, or just stick with me. Choices, choices….

0225 GMT: And to deal with the elephant in the room that is the ‘glamour’ brought to the occasion by these two ladies, I think The Sun said it best yesterday when they described this potentially classic encounter as: “Battle of the babes – it’s Ana v Shazza!”

0222 GMT: Aussie hero Pat Rafter arrives on court as part of the pre-match build-up and is described by the announcer as a man who “embodies the national character”. A bronze bust of the man himself is then unveiled – slightly creepy but well deserved. “My ego is slightly inflated now so I’ll go home and let my brothers beat it out of me,” says Pat. Good man.

0220 GMT: We should be in for a cracker as the two best players over the past fortnight have made it through to the final. They have a 2-2 head-to-head record, with Sharapova having won their last meeting in Madrid in November and Ivanovic having won their French Open semi-final last June.

0215 GMT: Good morning everyone, welcome to the women’s final. And happy Australia Day. To celebrate we are being treated to a choir of shiny young Australians singing the national anthem on Rod Laver Arena. They appear to be dressed as chefs, which may not be ideal as it looks pretty hot out there already, if a little windy.

Story from BBC SPORT


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