Connect with us

Tennis

On this day in history… Maria Sharapova begins her transition to clay court specialist

Published

on

Maria Sharapova

On 13th April 2008, Maria Sharapova won her nineteenth career title and her first on clay, as she beat Dominika Cibulkova 7-6(7) 6-3 in the final at the Amelia Island Championships. She would go on to win another seventeen singles titles in her career before retiring in 2020, ten of which would come on the dirt.

 

 

Maria Sharapova caught the world’s attention in 2004 when, at just 17 years of age, she won Wimbledon by downing the red-hot favourite and two-time defending champion Serena Williams in the final. Her first few years on tour were very successful, highlighted by another win over Serena at the 2004 WTA Finals, and tournament victories at the 2006 US Open and the 2008 Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova

Her win in Melbourne marked her third Grand Slam title, and 17th title over all. An 18th came the next month in Qatar and at this point the 20-year-old Russian had played a total of twenty-five singles finals, none of which had been on clay.

In March, Maria withdrew from Miami due to a shoulder injury and her first tournament back was on the green clay of the Bausch & Lomb Championships held at Amelia Island. Despite going in as the top seed, Sharapova was tested in the early rounds, barely overcoming Medina-Garrigues 7-6(3) 5-7 7-6(1) in the third round and then being pushed again by Alona Bondarenko in the quarter-finals, but eventually prevailing 6-7(9) 6-3 6-2.

Maria Sharapova

The semi-final was set to be a blockbuster encounter with Lindsay Davenport but the American, for the first time in her career, withdrew from the match due to illness and handed Sharapova the walkover victory; with it came a first ever appearance in a clay court final. The bonus day of rest may have been pivotal as the other semi-final went on to be a hard-fought three-setter, with Cibulkova battling past Alize Cornet.

Maria Sharapova

Come Sunday, Sharapova was able to defeat the Slovakian for her first clay court title. With the monkey off her back, it would not be her last.

Sharapova reached a total of 59 singles finals, winning 36 of them. Her 26th final was her first on clay but 7 of the last 11 finals she played were on the surface, including 6 in a row between April ’13 and June ’14. In total, she reached 13 finals on clay, winning 11 of them. Her only two losses both came against Serena Williams and both in 2013, in the finals of Madrid and Roland Garros.

maria Sharapova laughing

After winning Rome in 2015, Sharapova said, “Five or six years ago I was afraid to open the front door to the clay season […] I’ve definitely progressed and improved [on clay], that’s no secret.

It was not an overnight success.” At the end of her career, her win record on clay was 82.4%, her highest of any surface, and after picking up her first clay court title in ‘08, Maria never won another Grand Slam title outside of her two title runs on “la terre battue”, making Roland Garros the only Grand Slam title that she won more than once.

Maria sharapova and husband







Serena Williams confirms
News4 weeks ago

Serena Williams opens up about her pregnancy

Serena Williams and Tiger Woods
Tennis4 weeks ago

Tiger Woods sends special message to Serena Williams — Tiger Woods says, “She’s someone I love”

Venus and Serena Williams
News4 weeks ago

Venus Williams announces she’s now dating millionaire Boyfriend — Serena Williams reacts

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian Daughter photo
HOME1 day ago

Serena Williams cries out, ‘Is Alexis Olympia ok? Is there something wrong with my daughter?

Serena Williams Bahamas
News4 hours ago

PHOTOS: Serena Williams enjoys her family holiday with Venus Wlliams

Venus Williams shows off
Entertainment1 day ago

Venus Williams dating Millionaire Boyfriend — Serena Williams reacts…

Serena Williams and daughter smile
Tennis5 hours ago

WATCH: Serena Williams Dances With Daughter Like No One’s Watching

Naomi, Serena and Venus
Entertainment2 weeks ago

Naomi Osaka Opens Up On Comparison To Serena and Venus Williams – VIDEO

Entertainment5 days ago

WATCH: Serena Williams Gives Hilarious Lesson on Twerking And The Proper Way to Milly Rock

Serena Williams in gown
News18 hours ago

WATCH: When Serena Williams Danced Crazily — Serena Williams dances very emotionally

Naomi and Boyfriend, Cordae
Entertainment4 weeks ago

“I Felt Like I Was In A Movie” — Naomi Osaka Shares Romantic Dates and PHOTOS With Boo, Cordae

SERENA WILLIAMS:
News6 days ago

“I Might Never Play Again “-Serena Williams Reveals

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian Daughter photo
HOME1 week ago

Serena Williams Quietly Sells Home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Serena
Entertainment2 weeks ago

“Watch My Workout With Venus”: Serena Williams Shares Workout VIDEO With Sister

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova bitter rivalry
Entertainment3 weeks ago

Maria Sharapova Fired Back At Serena Williams: “Talk About Other Things, But Not Draw Attention To Other Things…”