Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fair Play: My crystal ball says, it's Maria vs. Victoria

TWO of my favorite women’s players will be slugging it out tonight in the Australian Open women’s semifinals--Li Na and Maria Sharapova--the last two winners of the French Open.

Of the two, Sharapova, the second seed is on quite a roll, breaking a 27-year-old record after scoring two double-bagels (that’s 6-0, 6-0) in the first two rounds. Against Venus Williams, she extended the streak to 28 straight games before Venus won one, at 4-1. But 11 games later, it was 6-1, 6-4 for the leggy Russian and Maria set the record again for giving up the fewest games heading into the quarterfinal of the Australian Open in the Open Era at five. The previous record was eight, held by Steffi Graf (1989) and Monica Seles (1991,93). Both players, incedentally went on to win the title, with Seles beating Graf in 1993.

In the quarterfinals, Sharapova got rid of Ekaterina Makarova, 6-2, 6-2, winning an impressive 83 percent of her first serves to set up that semifinal match against Li Na.

The 2011 French Open winner from China also won all her matches in straight sets, and from round 3 to her quarterfinal win against fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, has given up only five games in the second set.

In the other side of the draw is defending champion Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens, who pulled the biggest upset so far after beating Serena Williams, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, in the quarterfinals.

After ending Serena’s streak of 20 straight wins, can Stephens pull one against Azarenka? For sure, her confidence is at a sky-high but I think on Saturday, we are going to see a rematch of last year’s women’s finals—Azarenka vs. Sharapova.

Sharapova failed to win a single game in the second set last year and I think this year, it’s going to be a very different outcome.

You can bet your sin tax on it!

DAVIS CUP . It’s eight days to go before one of the biggest sporting events this side of the country kicks off, the Davis Cup match between the Philippines and Syria.
The Philippines will be led by Treat Huey, Ruben Gonzales, Elbert Anasta and Johnny Arcilla and I think they have better than even odds against Syria.

The best thing about the Davis Cup tie is that tickets for the matches at Plantation Bay will be given for free, so what are you waiting for? Free up your Feb. 1 to 3 schedule and witness a piece of history right in our own backyard.

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