Wednesday 19 December 2018

Sharapova fires Serena jibe after being swept aside by Muguruza

 

Maria Sharapova looks dejected during the ladies singles quarter final against Garbine Murguruza. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Maria Sharapova looks dejected during the ladies singles quarter final against Garbine Murguruza. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Simon Briggs

Maria Sharapova had no answer to the deep and weighty groundstrokes of Garbine Muguruza yesterday, though she did manage a convincing riposte to Serena Williams's recent criticism of her autobiography Unstoppable.

On a day of rain interruptions at Roland Garros, Sharapova had barely taken up her position on Court Philippe Chatrier before she had been bundled off again - a 6-2, 6-1 loser in 1hr 10min.

But on the subject of her book - which Williams had described as "100pc hearsay" and overly concerned with their one-sided rivalry - Sharapova was fully in control.

Asked for her response to her old foe's comments, she initially claimed to be unaware of them. And then, once the position had been spelt out, she replied: "It would be strange for me not to include someone that I have competed against for so many years... And I think we played many matches. Some of those matches were very defining for me.

"When you are writing an autobiography, I do not think there is any reason to write anything that is not true."

Muguruza's strategy yesterday was to home in on her opponent's shaky serve, spanking deep returns that rushed Sharapova as she was still getting her feet set. The tactic worked so well that Sharapova won just five out of 26 points after missing with her first delivery.

A tally of 27 unforced errors represented another blot on the Sharapova copybook, revealing how quickly she lost control of the contest.

"It wasn't coming natural to me," she said afterwards. "Didn't have the rhythm. Gave her too many looks on second serves. She is a great returner (and) that is definitely one of the things that she did really well."

Muguruza will play Simona Halep in today's semi-final after the world No 1 beat Angelique Kerber 6-7, 6-3, 6-2. The other semi-final is an all-American affair between Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens, who both won on Tuesday.

Both of the men's quarter-finals had to be suspended overnight as Paris suffered another evening of heavy showers.

Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro were closely matched at 5-5 in the first-set tie-break when play was suspended, while Rafael Nadal saw his streak of winning 37 straight sets at Roland Garros ended by 11th seed Diego Schwartzman. The score stands at 6-4, 3-5 to Schwartzman. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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